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Medical Backpacks in Mountain Rescue

23 May 2011

Terrestrial Rescue


Elsensohn, Fidel, Inigo Soteras, Oliver Reisten, John Ellerton, Hermann Brugger, and Peter Paal. Equipment of medical backpacks in mountain rescue. High Alt. Med. Biol. 12:343–347.—We conducted a survey of equipment in medical backpacks for mountain rescuers and mountain emergency physicians. The aim was to investigate whether there are standards for medical equipment in mountain rescue organizations associated with the In- ternational Commission for Mountain Emergency Medicine (ICAR MEDCOM). A questionnaire was completed by 18 member organizations from 14 countries. Backpacks for first responders are well equipped to manage trauma, but deficiencies in equipment to treat medical emergencies were found. Paramedic and physicians’ backpacks were well equipped to provide advanced life support and contained suitable drugs. We recommend that medical backpacks should be equipped in accordance with national laws, the medical emergencies in a given region, and take into account the climate, geography, medical training of rescuers, and funding of the organi- zation. Automated external defibrillator provision should be improved. The effects of temperature on the drugs and equipment should be considered. Standards for training in the use and maintenance of medical tools should be enforced. First responders and physicians should only use familiar tools and drugs.

Key Words: Emergency medical service; medical equipment; mountain rescue; prehospital emergency care; backpack



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