10 things I carry on shift as an Intensive Care Paramedic

10 Things I Carry On Shift

We’ve all seen that dude on shift that carries so many pouches and gadgets on their belt that they look like some sort of Paramedic Batman. Well, it’s sad to say, I was once almost “that guy”.

I’m not embarrassed to say I love gear and gadgets. I wouldn’t have started an equipment company all those years ago if I didn’t like gear, it’s just that as I have become older and more experienced, I have kept to the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m far from a minimalist! But what I carry on my person on shift these days is a lot less than 9 years ago. I am also very biased. I mainly use gear I sell (and only sell gear I’d use…). So below is what I carry and why:

Stethoscope: A good stethoscope is critical to auscultating blood pressures and breath sounds (and sometimes bowel sounds when nana is a bit blocked up). I initially started with a $350 cardiology stethoscope, but like a lot of Paramedics, I can’t be trusted with nice things and broke it. I also didn’t listen to many heart sounds! Now, I’m using an ADC 615 which works well for me.

Leatherman Raptor: When these first came out, even I was questioning the value of a $115 set of trauma shears. That was until I tested them out. The first day with them I responded to a cardiac arrest, and in one go, they cut through about four layers of clothing (including straight through the wire bra) like it was butter. They also have a hook knife, O2 bottle key, glass breaker and ECG ruler).

Safety Glasses: Blood, spit and spew are a few things I don’t like in my eyes. Most workplaces will supply eye pro for free, but I ended up purchasing my own set that was comfy on my face and didn’t fog up. It’s also important to carry them on you or even wear them for every job as you just never know whats going to come flying at you! I’m currently using a set of 511 Tactical RAID glasses after my old Oakley M frames broke.

Sharpie: I’ve done a whole blog post on Sharpies before. They write on anything (syringes etc.) and don’t rub off. They are super handy.

Clinical/Pharmacology Reference: I distinctly remember when we first released our Reference Cards, and I posted them on Facebook, some FIGJAM medic replied that he didn’t want to work with anyone that had to check a card/book for a GCS. Well, if a pilot can use a checklist in an emergency, so can I!. Especially with drug doses.

Notepad: As my wife would attest, my memory isn’t phenomenal. Drug doses, ob’s and pension numbers all go in my notepad until I can do my EMR later. As a side note, I’m looking forward to getting The Ready Gloves for to assist with handovers for the same reason.

Headlight: I cringe every time I see a colleague or a Paramedic on the media holding a penlight in their mouth or worse… using their iPhone light! I carry the Petzl e-Lite in my pocket. It isn’t the brightest light but it is super compact, so I can always carry it. Carrying a headlight on my has paid off more time than I can remember. This is probably one of the dorkiest looking headlights to wear with its retractable wire band….

I also have the Petzl Tactikka +RGB on my helmet. It’s brighter than the e-Lite and has a nice diffuse light with selectable brightness. As a side note, I used to have a 500-lumen headlight on my helmet, but patients trapped in vehicles didn’t appreciate the bright light inches from their face!

Torch: I have two torches in my bag. One I carry on my belt on night shifts (the trusty LED Lenser P7), and then a big LED Lenser P17 (think of this as a modern day 3 D Battery MagLite) I use when I’m an “ambulance driver” on a night shift. I’ve never had to use the P17, but I’d imagine it wouldn’t tickle if it were thrown or swung at someone who isn’t very friendly towards Paramedics. Having a bright light is also useful for searching for people/things or temporarily blinding them when you need to make a quick getaway/distraction.

Watch: I’m currently using a Garmin Fenix 3 watch. Even though it is a digital watch, I have a moving second hand displayed which makes it easy to count heart and respiratory rates (yep I actually count RR…). On top of the actual time function, it has very good GPS functions for when I do remote jobs in the bush.

Keep Cup: Probably the most import bit of equipment I carry as it carries my Coffee (currently drinking Voodoo Brew).

If you carry anything unique or interesting, let us know by sending us an email or message us on social media. We’d love to hear what everyone else is carrying on shift!


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