2009 Innovation Awards

Top 20 most innovative products from the 2009 EMS EXPO


      The 2009 EMS EXPO sent me flying all the way to the other side of the continent. More specifically, it took me to the Southeast corner of the country, to Atlanta, Georgia. Aside from the perpetually rainy weather, I was greeted with a healthy serving of good old southern hospitality and fine southern cooking (hmmmm, peach cobbler twice). I was also greeted with an exhibition hall chock-full of the latest and greatest tools of our trade. Read on to find out just exactly which made the cut to be selected as a Top 20 Product Pick for 2009.

Light for Life UC3.400 from 5.11 Tactical

   Given the 24/7 nature of our work, a certain percentage of our work days are, in reality, work nights. That being what it is, it makes sense that one of the essential tools of the trade is a good flashlight if you are going to make do in the nighttime.

   If you have a say on lighting choices, make sure you get your hands on the Light for Life UC3.400. It is unlike any flashlight you have probably worked in the past. The Light for Life shell is made of a high-strength polymer that is abrasion-, crack- and bend-resistant, as well as buoyant and water-resistant. It weighs in at only 16 ounces--about half of what a traditional full-duty flashlight weighs.

   But that's just the outside. There's better stuff inside the Light for Life. Remarkably, there are NO batteries, as the Light for Life is totally solid state and utilizes ultracapacitor technology. Even more amazing, even when totally dead, the Light for Life charges to full capacity in only 90 seconds. Depending on the mode of operation, you can expect up to 23.5+ hours of total runtime in a 24-hour period. That's a remarkable 98% uptime.

   If that's not enough, you have three operational choices: Bright setting gets you 270 peak lumens; standard provides 90 lumens; and the third choice is tactical strobe.

   Given that the life expectancy of the LEDs is 50,000 hours, that tells me you will never replace them, unless you live to be really, really old and still have the Light for Life UC3.400. With the performance characteristics of this flashlight, I'd say that is far more likely than you might imagine.

   For more: www.511tactical.com; 866/451-1726.

SmartMan CPR Skills Training and Feedback Manikin from Ambu SmartMan

   After nearly 50 years of ACLS changing the levels and sequencing of shocks, messing with drugs and dosing schemes, and doing a half-dozen other things in hope of improving cardiac arrest survival, what if it all comes down to CPR? I must say that the irony of that turning out to be true isn't wasted on me, and I hope not on you either. In any case, data keeps piling up on the impact and implications of poorly performed CPR, so it is time to raise the bar on CPR skills.

   Of course, quality training starts with quality training tools, and the SmartMan from Ambu SmartMan is one of the most outstanding CPR training tools I've ever worked with. First off, it offers flexibility of instruction, as the SmartMan can be set to a young adolescent (55 lbs.) or up to a large adult (250 lbs.). In addition, it's the only manikin that provides immediate feedback if you are using the jaw-thrust and ventilating properly, and it only gets better from there.

   The acquisition and utilization of real-time training data is incredible. Colored bar graphs display the rate, depth and chest recoil level for compressions, along with feedback on the rate and volume of ventilations and the time interval in between. You can easily print the results and hand them to the student to review, make changes and prepare for the next round of CPR practice.

   Initially, you can focus on just one single element, such as rescue breathing or continuous compressions, and then incorporate them into the 1 or 2 Rescuer Skill set. Polish them further with Skills Practice, and then take the Skills Test. Internet services with SmartMan allow live archiving of results from training sessions. Full access to the archive for review at a later date is made simple with either direct or remote access capabilities.

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