They’re not the sexiest thing your organization buys, but gloves are among the most important. Providers go through multiple pairs each shift and rely on them to provide intact hand protection about which they need not worry as they assist the injured and ill.
With around 900 employees, the St. Louis Fire Department has a big need for strong, reliable apparel. For years the department has met that need with gloves from Ansell’s Microflex brand. Now it’s upgrading to the company’s LifeStar EC nitrile extended-cuff exam gloves.
Among the LifeStar EC’s primary features is a double-dipped dual color that helps users quickly identify if a glove has been compromised. The outer color is white, the inner color is purple; if a glove is punctured or torn, the purple becomes visible, telling you immediately.
“Most of our providers thought that was a nice feature, but they haven’t seen a use for it yet,” says SLFD medical director Scott Gilmore, MD, EMT-P, FACEP, FAEMS. “These gloves are so strong, we haven’t really had any punctures where that feature was needed. So that’s a wonderful thing.”
Before writing the glove change into its new medical contract, the department trialed the LifeStar EC late in 2016. Around 45 providers participated in the test run, returning favorable opinions to greenlight the switch. Features they liked included the gloves’ elasticity, tactility and grip.
“You can get them wet and grab hold of something, and you’re not sliding off,” says Gilmore. “Providers also really like the elasticity. When you reach into the box for them, you don’t have to worry about tearing.”
That stretchability meant size adjustments for some providers, but more important, “We’re not going to tear as many gloves,” notes Gilmore, “and you can’t really put a price on provider safety.”
The LifeStar EC features a 12-inch length with beaded cuff and textured fingers and comes in boxes of 100 in sizes S–XXXL.