Category Archives: Gear

Road ID

We mentioned Road ID in response to a listener question awhile back, but they are making a push to get the word out to First Responders, so I’m making a special post about it.

I’m sending the following message to the fellow medics at my service:

Road ID is like a Medic Alert bracelet, but aimed at the athletic community. You may see them on runners, cyclist etc.

They are making a push to educate First Responders about their product, so I thought I’d pass the info along.

IMPORTANT DIFFERENCES between Medic Alert and RoadID.

1. Locations, in addition to wrist and neck, RoadIDs can be around the ankle and attached to the shoe.
2. They look different. The bands are colored nylon or plastic, not silver medal.
3. Two different kinds: They have a regular tag that can have 6 lines of information on it, and an interactive tag that includes a 800 number to call and get a complete medical profile.

Remember you will probably encounter these tags on athletes and at sporting events, but my bet is if someone needs an alert bracelet, they aren’t going to have a different one when they aren’t running. So you may see them anywhere.

Attached is a graphic that shows where to find them and what they look like.

More information can be found at their website:

What’s in Your Bag?

I’m trying to get organized for the new semester and my volunteer duties.I decided I should make a list of all the stuff I need to have with me when I go on a shift. I always seem to forget something – last shift it was a pen light and safety googles.

Then I got to thinking I should just have a bag I take with me and keep it packed and stocked.

Here’s what I’ve got in mind right now that needs to be with me on every shift:

  • ID (Either student, or ESD Volunteer)
  • Trauma Shears
  • Stethoscope
  • Goggles/safety glasses
  • Pen light
  • Tape to stick on my arm or leg write vital signs down on. (better than my glove)
  • Multiple pens
  • Watch
  • Little notebook
  • Backup Food*

If at night, also include:

  • Bed roll
  • Pillow
  • Breath mints (toiletries for a 24)

For Clinicals:

  • Report sheets.
  • Call list sheet.

Non-essentials but nice:

  • A backup uniform
  • Computer
  • Headphones
  • Something to read

What do you take to your shifts? What do you think I’m missing? Leave a comment below and help a Newbie out.

* Every shift I’ve been on we’ve gone out to eat….till the last one. Luckily I had some microwaveable backup food in the truck. Advice from my Basic clinical coordinator, Ms P, be prepared for both, because you want to do what your crew does.

The Hidden Costs of EMT-Basic

I wanted to tell you about all the money I’ve been spending that wasn’t mentioned when I signed up for my EMT-B course. It wasn’t really completely hidden, but it is starting to take me by surprise. Plus if you started some of this stuff earlier it would be cheaper.

CPR for Health Care Providers

One of the things you have to have before they will send you out for your clinical is your CPR card. I looked around locally and it was going to cost about $40 for a 2 hour course. I looked online and found the American Health Care Academy offering it for $20. I contacted my clinical supervisor and she said she didn’t care where I got it as long as I got the card. This isn’t the AHA’s place, so you might want to check before investing in it. I think she didn’t really care because we’ll be doing CPR on dummies in class anyway. You need to take an AHA approved CPR class, and this one isn’t one. I had to retake CPR as a result. The cost was $40.


Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick Two.

Obviously you always want good with a vaccine that can save your liver, or your life, so that leaves fast or cheap. If you have time, you can go to the county health office and get most of the shots for like $5. If you have shot records from when you were a kid, you can also bring those in.

My required shots were Measles Mumps Rubella(MMR), a TB test, Diptheria-Tetanus-Pertussis, Chicken Pox and Hepatitis B.

Since I had no records I needed titers – tests to see if you have the antibodies for something you are now immune to. But remember the MMR shot – which is one shot – is 3 titers. Since 2000 all children are getting Hepatitis B shots, but back when I was a kid they didn’t do that. I got the test anyway.

The titers were $224. I was immune to MMR and Chicken Pox, but not HepB.

Here’s where I got bit in the butt. I put off getting my shots until the beginning of class thinking I might learn something in class that would effect how I got them. HepB normally takes 6 months to get. It is 3 shots and they are give at 1 month and them 6 months later. But we have to show we’ve got all our shots before we can start clinicals and the deadline is 2 weeks after the start of class.

I’m SOL.

Luckily the CDC does allow an accelerated schedule – I think mostly intended for travelers who need to go out of the country fast. That schedule is day 0, 7, 21-30. I found a place that would do it in 4-6 weeks over the phone. When I got there I was able to talk them down to 4. Got shot one today, will get shot 2 in 7 days, and the last shot 2 weeks after that.

Still too late for my paperwork deadline, but my clinical supervisor is being cool and said if I turn everything else I can wait till after I get the last shot to start my rotations. BUT I won’t get to pick my schedule, I’ll have to take whatever is available even if I’m suppose to be at work. Lucky for me my boss if pretty loose on missing work.

Got the TB test – which I have to go back in 2 days to check – and the Tetnus at the same time as the first Hep B shot.

That bill was $296. Each Hep B shot is $140.


They say I must have these three things:
Pen and Paper
Blood Pressure Cuff

Which agrees with Kelly’s minimum. Especially because one teacher said you don’t really need the BP cuff. I’ll probably still get one so I can practice on my friends and family. I already have a pen or two and a watch that shows the seconds.

But after reading Kelly’s Essential Gear post I need a new watch. Looking for metal or plastic, water proof and with a glow in the dark second hand. But that is surprisingly cheap if you aren’t worried about impressing the ladies. Under $20.

One teacher said spend $15-$20 on a stethoscope. Referencing Kelly’s post I’m looking at the one he carries, DRG Puretone Traditional Ti-Lite Stethoscope so $150.00

BP cuffs range from $13-$50 for manual versions.

Other suggested gear:
Goggles, penlight, trauma shears.
I’ve got some googles I use when shooting and the completely cover my eyes, so I’ll wear those. I already carry a small flashlight.

As a treat to myself I’ll get the swiss army knife of trauma shears Kelly suggested for around $15 with shipping.


We have to wear a specific uniform for doing our rotations. Blue shirt with a Lone Star College EMS patch ($4.95), a navy blue t-shirt underneath, blue or black EMT pants, black boots. Looking online the pants run around $30, the shirt $20, boots from $50-$250. I may have a blue T-shirt.

So around another $150.

Background Check

I have to pay for and get a background check as well. $45. If you have a felony on your record you cannot do clinicals. Which means you can’t be an EMT. I’m a CHL holder which means I’m squeaky clean.

Here’s the costs I know about:

Immunizations $800
CPR $20
Uniforms $250
Equipment $200
Background Check $45
Total $1315


Now you could probably find this stuff cheaper if you weren’t rushing to get stuff done. And I’m not trying to go the cheapest with everything. But still there are going to be costs they don’t mention when you are signing up at school.