EMS Tips

Keep the Patient's Feet off your Shirt

On the EMSGarage podcast, episode 47, Skip Kirkwood just mentioned the difficulty of keeping your uniform clean. The main hazard he mentioned was the patient’s boots pressing into your shirt when you lift the patient cot into the ambulance.

This is my suggestion for Skip (I first learned this from an article by Thom Dick the author of People Care and lots of EMS Magazine and JEMS Magazine articles … I think). Cover the patient’s feet with a towel or blanket. I always keep a towel on the patient cot now. I can use the towel for any of these things:

1) To cover my pant leg while I rest the patient’s hand or arm on my leg as I start an IV.

2) To cover the patient’s head and/or face if it is cold, raining, or snowing for the transport time between the building and the ambulance.

3) To cover the patient’s dirty (and often SMELLY) feet as I lift the patient into the ambulance. As you know lifting the patient into the ambulance can give you a strong whiff of really bad foot odor.

What else can you do with a simple bath towel?

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.