The calendar says that the official beginning of winter is still a month away, but the weather maps on our televised newscasts are telling us a different story. Already we are seeing videos of snow plows clearing highways in Utah and freezing weather has made an appearance in the Upper Midwest and New England states. So, if you haven’t done it already, now is the time to review your inventory of blankets for your EMS vehicles.
Why do we need blankets, you may ask? Aside from providing basic creature comfort during colder weather, this 2013 EMS1 article, "The hot topic of hypothermia in trauma" does a good job of summarizing the relationship between hypothermia and trauma resuscitation. The writer, Arthur Hsieh, notes that, "Unintentional hypothermia is one leg of the so-called "lethal triad" of conditions that can cause death to occur in the weeks after the initial insult". That "lethal triad" consists of "acidosis, coagulopathy and hypothermia".
Having blankets available not only promotes patient comfort during emergency care, their use may also have a direct effect on the clinical condition of the victim.
Patient comfort blankets come in a variety of styles and materials for a variety of situations and solutions. This Dan White blog of ten years ago provides a good summary of available blankets at the time, but most of the hyperlinks are expired. Still, his coverage of the topic is quite good.
Here is a more current listing of the various types of medical blankets from Graham Medical that you may want to add to your ambulance inventory.
The Hypothermia Blanket (#53377) is a chrome colored Mylar foil. It is lightweight and provides protection against wind and precipitation with superior heat retention. It comes in a 52”x84” size and is packaged 50/case.
The Visiblanket® is a yellow/white poly/tissue blanket that comes standard (#54849, 54”x84”, 25/cs) or a larger (56”x90”) Medium-Weight (#77700) packed 24/cs. There is also a Visiblanket® Premium (# 53382) yellow/white combination Poly/Airlaid in a 50”x84” size, packaged 24/cs.
These blankets provide high visibility for triage or other purposes, moderate protection from the elements and help retain body heat.
The Comfort1® Blanket USA is a polyester blanket that comes in gray (#62292) and in white (#52038), is sized 50”x 84” and comes 10/cs. These blankets are soft to the touch and can be warmed to 150º F in a blanket warmer to provide additional warmth.
The Comfort1® Polar Fleece (#77723) is a large, 58”x 80”, blue blanket packaged 10/cs with superior softness that is exceptionally cozy and can also be warmed to 150º F.
All of these blankets help promote cross-contamination control and infection prevention by being single-use items.
Check out your blanket warmers to make sure they are working well and stock up now on the Comfort1® Blankets that will best fit your needs.
For more information, find us online at https://www.grahammedical.com/ or call us (800) 558-6765.