With a sharp inward and upward thrust – just like I have been teaching for nearly ten-years, but have never actually done – the foreign body ejected from the “airway” and flew about five feet across the room. I had just relieved the obstruction – a small foam plug – from the Act+Fast Anti-Choking Trainer neoprene vest another EMS provider was wearing. We were using the Act+Fast to practice relief of a foreign body airway obstruction.
About the Act+Fast
The Act+Fast is a unique device worn as a vest to simulate relief of an obstruction. The vest, easily slipped over your head, is secured with a buckle on each side. In the front of the vest, in a neoprene sleeve, is a bladder that rests in the area between the wearer’s navel and xyphoid process (where your hands are placed during abdominal thrusts on an awake patient). At the top of the bladder is a rigid tube with an opening that points upward and away from the wearer’s face. The Act+Fast comes with a bag of foam plugs that simulate an obstruction. Short plugs are relatively easy to remove with a gentle squeeze. The full-size plug required intentional hand placement and careful positioning along with a forceful inward and upward squeeze to get it to eject.
BLS Skill Most Commonly Used
When I finish teaching BLS skills to students – airway management, rescue breathing, and chest compressions – I always ask students which of the skills they have actually used. The Heimlich maneuver is, by far and away, the most commonly used BLS skill reported by my students. I estimate 1 in 10 students have either had the Heimlich done on them or seen it done to a friend, parent, sibling, or stranger. I estimate 1 in 20 of my students have done the Heimlich. Fortunately all of their stories – to date – have ended with successful ejection of the object – usually a piece of food, candy, or small object.
The One Thing We Don’t Practice
While using the Act+Fast with other members of my first responder agency one of them remarked, “This is great because this is the one skill we have never actually practiced.”
Manikin practice is routine for chest compressions and delivering rescue breaths. AED trainers with reusable pads allow lay people and professional rescuers to practice delivering shocks. I have simulated (gone through the motions) doing the Heimlich, but have never actually done it. After using the Act+Fast Anti-Choking trainer I am glad to have had the experience and will incorporate it into the BLS instruction that I do. Like anything, applying the psychomotor action with the cognitive principles builds a stronger skill set and appreciation for how to best perform the skill.
Have you used the Act+Fast? What do you think about it?
I have compressed manikins and I have compressed chests of cardiac arrest patients. I find them fairly similar while many instructors argue that a manikin is nothing like a human chest. If you have done the Heimlich on a real person and used the Act+Fast I want to hear from you. How does the Act+Fast compare to the real thing?
Learn more about the Act+Fast Anti-Choking Trainer
You can learn more about how the Act+Fast works and where to purchase it for your training program at their website: ActFastMed.com. You can find this video and other training information about the Act+Fast on that same website.
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