Personal Kits in EMS

Question; Does anyone carry their own personal kit on the job anymore?
For many years I carried my own personal kit on the job. I’m not sure if the idea would be received well today but I had good reasons for doing it. I used to carry an oversized fanny pack. I usually just slung it over my shoulder. Once in a rare while, I would put it around my waist when I needed both hands for getting up and down on a ladder, or handling a stretcher on complicated terrain.
Inside it I had all the stuff I used on most calls. My Tycos single tube hand-held BP cuff. Because the crappy 15$ Chinese service cuff was junk when it was brand new and was never calibrated. I carried my DRG stethoscope, because the service provided garbage stethoscopes. I never wore it around my neck for two reasons.
One, it’s a great way to ruin a scope wearing it under the sun for UV to degrade it. Second, it was not fun when a lunatic decided to twist and pull on it. I also carried my White Pulmonary Resuscitator, because I never thought a BVM was much good for anything except starting a fire.
I carried some 4 x 4’s, a few 5 x 9’s, tape, a tube of instant glucose and an Ace wrap. I also carried a pair of spring-loaded German cast scissors, that would pretty much cut through anything. I carried my personal laryngoscope with my favorite #3 Guedel blade and a 7.5 ETT. I had a few ammonia amps for resuscitation of the perfectly fine. The goal was having everything I needed on most calls, organized the way I wanted it, in a bag I knew intimately.
I would add or delete items fairly frequently. My rule was that if I did not use something in it for months, it probably did not belong in my bag.
I just did not trust the quality of products in my issued first in bag. I also did not trust my fellow workers to re-stock them properly. With my own kit I did not have to worry about these issues.
Does anyone do this anymore? Just wondering how much EMS has changed. Back in my day I was not the only guy that did it. Others did too.

About Dan White

I'm a retired Paramedic and EMS Instructor with 35 years EMS and emergency medical product experience. I love canoes, cars and EMS. I have written a lot about EMS Technology on the Paramedic Blog, the Insights on Innovation column for, on and I can be reached directly at 573-240-0002.
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