ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Children in critical condition are now being treated with greater efficiency, as the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety has a new tool kit on its trucks designed specifically for pediatric cases.
The kits were donated by the Alpharetta Public Safety Foundation and provide Alpharetta emergency medical technicians and paramedics with quick and easy access to specific, child-sized equipment and charts, alleviating the need to calculate sizes and doses during stressful situations.
“The response times are the same, but we have taken the diagnosis and treatment to a whole new level,” said City Councilman D.C. Aiken. “God forbid we have to deal with that, but now we’re able to deal with it more efficiently.”
Previously, the smaller tools were kept alongside adult equipment, making it harder to quickly find an endotracheal tube, for example, or nasal airway device. Paramedics would dump out their tool kit and search for the correct size. Now, all the rescue tools are arranged in a color-coded system based on the child’s physical size and age. A measurement tape is used, called the Broselow pediatric tape, to determine where the child falls in the color-coded range. A child between 2 and 3.5 years of age, weighing 26-31 pounds, typically falls in the color code yellow. In a case of cardiac arrest, a paramedic will have in hand the yellow-coded bag containing the appropriately sized equipment along with a dosage chart for medications. Emergency responders will immediately know the appropriate concentration of Epinephrine for a child in the yellow range. They will also know the best administration methods and the exact dose.
“Instead of doing a quick calculation at 3 a.m. under stressful conditions, there is a chart in the bag. We don’t have to worry about what size or dose,” said firefighter and paramedic Ryan Gipson, who brought the proposal for the kits to city administrators. “This is for the really sick kids, who are in cardiac arrest or may be having a seizure. It is for those who require invasive procedures quickly.”
Newly added to Alpharetta’s arsenal are vein lights, which illuminate veins, making them easier to locate, and carbon monoxide sensors. Costing approximately $1,000 each, there are 11 kits in total, with one on each of the city’s six fire engines, the ladder truck, rescue truck, at the training center, in the special events vehicle and a back-up kit. They were created using transport packs by Thomas, a Salt Lake City, Utah company, and stocked with new and existing equipment.