Rescuers Removing All Airway Devices from Units Except Surgical Cric Kits!

In an unprecedented move to streamline airway adjuncts and oxygen use, several EMS agencies and fire departments have removed all airway devices from their units except for one. The only emergency airway intervention left on their rescue trucks and ambulances is the surgical cricothyrotomy kit.

 These seemingly progressive departments filled with educated administrators felt there was no real necessity to stocking the items, let alone the expense of training staff in their individual uses.  It is believed they kept the “cric” kits for those rare extreme instances where it’s use was a last-ditch effort to save a life.

Airway experts in major urban trauma centers had this to say “Taking the other airway devices such as a nasal cannula, non-rebreathing mask and dual lumen airway adjuncts off of the trucks leaves no other options for the providers but to use the cric kit on all airway problems”.  Several of the experienced providers we spoke to under anonymity stated they rarely if ever use a cric-kit, but used lower forms of airway control first.


Ridiculous, foolish and dangerous right? While the story above is fake, the arming of medical staff issue is not.

The exact same thing as in the story above applies to arming emergency responders (EMS/Fire). Without “options” the threat or actual use of the firearm (lethal force) becomes THE only option when faced with a potentially violent encounter. A firearm is supposed to be the last resort, you have to have other options available… (verbal skills, empty hand techniques, intermediate tools like pepper gel or a Taser) before reaching a level of the threat or actual use of the firearm. Similar to a surgical cric…wouldn’t we want to have other less invasive options prior to jumping right to the cric to handle ALL respiratory problems? What about the epidemic that is the less-than-lethal encounters that occur daily in emergency medicine? Let me add one more tidbit… Let’s say you or one of your staff members DO shoot someone while on a call. Are you prepared, I mean really prepared for the aftermath? What about the risk of how the media will portray the incident? How will people in the neighborhood respond when it happens? I am not saying one way or the other. I am simply stating do YOUR due diligence before you strap on the heat. 

Take the time to research how violence is occurring toward staff. Research WHY violence is occurring toward staff and the people who are doing the violent attacks.  You may very well find that much of the violence  can be mitigated. But then again… who am I to ask someone to research a problem and act based upon the historical evidence we have listed all over the DT4EMS website…

At DT4EMS we are not anti-arming. We are not pro-arming either. What we state is that an agency, the provider and their peers must carefully consider the issues below: