Learning to perform procedures correctly is a vital part of EMT and paramedic training. This requires the educator to provide an environment where procedures can be practiced in as close to real life circumstances as possible. This can get expensive. As an EMS educator, I am constantly looking for ways to make equipment and supplies last longer. Here are a few things I have learned along the way about extending the service life of Combitubes.
The first recommendation I have is to buy Combitube trainers. They may be more expensive than the single use ones but they last much longer. Your students will need to be able to practice the skill as close to the way they will do it in the field as possible. If they partially fill the cuffs in class, they may do the same in the back of an ambulance.
Before using the Combitube trainer, there a couple of things to do to make the Combitube trainer last as long as possible. Take a strip of duct tape and wrap it around the Combitube just above the teeth marks. Be sure to have the inflation tubes up against the lumens so that they emerge above the tape. This will prevent them from being pulled out from repeated use.
The next task is to prepare the syringes. Take a strip if clear packing tape and cover the numbers on the side of the syringe. These numbers tend to get rubbed off by all of the hands that touch them during practice.
I hope these tips will help you get the most out of your Combitubes. Do you have any tricks for making equipment last longer? Please leave them in the comments.
Jeff Anderson is a paramedic and EMS educator from Northwest
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