EMS Tips

Cold Weather Patient Care Tips

I was just asked for my tips for patient assessment and care in cold weather. These are my tips. What would you add?

1. Carry a pair of wind/rain pants in the ambulance. Don whenever you might be outside for an extended period of time, kneeling on wet or cold ground, or walking through the snow to access a patient.

2. Stuff a stocking cap and gloves into the pockets of your coat for easy access.

3. Long backboards and oxygen tanks assume the temperature of their environment. Keep patient care items inside the ambulance until you absolutely need them. Use a blanket or Turley backboard pad to insulate the patient from the backboard.

4. Use a bath towel for an improvised “hoodie” for the patient to protect their head and face from cold, wind, rain, and snow.

What are your cold weather patient assessment and care tips?


By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.