Product Focus 2019 First Aid and Emergency Response

Trends in ... first aid and emergency response

‘The difference between life and death’

First aid and emergency response can run the gamut from mild (needing a Band-Aid from a first aid kit) to a medical emergency (using an AED to help treat cardiac arrest). Here, industry insiders discuss what’s new in the first aid and emergency response field, and why it’s so important to educate workers.


Todd VanHouten, director of product development and innovation for Cincinnati-based Cintas Corp., spoke extensively about bleeding control response, noting that a key component in a bleeding control product is a hemostatic agent, which is designed to stop bleeding quickly. He pointed out that although the goal of any hemostatic agent is the same, the technology used varies.

“There are topical powder products, usually geared toward minor wounds,” VanHouten said. “For more significant bleeds, including an arterial bleed, hemostatic agents are administered in the form of special gauze (pad, roll or folded), which is either treated or features an inherent technology to aid in clotting.”

Don Schumaker, CEO of Minden, NV-based Afassco, said, “New dressings for first aid made of hydrocolloid, hydrogels and silver have a proven success rate at treating wounds.”

Avoiding mistakes

When asked how workers misuse first aid products, Schumaker pointed to a potential overdependence on smartphone apps instead of seeking emergency medical assistance. “The public should have a basic skill set in the event that there is no access to the internet, such as in a power outage,” he said.

VanHouten noted that although many bleeding control kits are now available, “buyers should carefully study the contents of these kits, as the components and quality of product is not always sufficient to stop a severe bleed.”

He also recommended investing in training for workers. “Training an adequate number of employees to administer first aid, including bleeding control measures, is a critical component of any organization’s emergency response plan.”

Words of wisdom

Robb Rehberg, program development director, first aid, for the Itasca, IL-based National Safety Council, said that in an emergency, time is of the essence, so preparation is key.

“To prepare for an emergency, workers should be familiar with their facility’s emergency response plan, and know the location of the nearest first aid kit and AED,” Rehberg said.

He added that the best way to prepare workers is to have them complete a first aid, CPR and AED course. “Very simple actions that can be learned in these courses can mean the difference between life and death.”

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

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