Federal grant covers cost of off-duty first aid kits for all IEMS employees

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- In a few weeks, 350 employees at Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services will have a very complex first aid kit with them at all times.

The staff prepares for any call during their shift with the equipment that is stored in the ambulance.

Now, they will have trauma equipment with them when they are off the clock.

"What we have been lacking is for them to be carrying something around for special events, when they are roaming, or when they go home" said IEMS medical director Mark Liao.

Liao believes IEMS is the only EMS agency in Indiana with this type of kit for employees when they are off-duty. And it is free.

Liao said part of a federal grant is covering the cost of the kit. The pack holds a variety of items, such as a hypothermia blanket and naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of an overdose.

"The intent of this program here is to make sure we have the equipment as soon as possible in a mass casualty incident," he said.

Before the kits, employees had to pay for these items on their own if they wanted a kit off-duty. Liao said a couple employees have had to use their self-made kits when they were not working.

"She was going back home and she was flagged down by someone who needed Naloxone, and she had it in her car ready to go," he said.

Liao said the idea of this type of program has been supported by the Department of Homeland Security.

"They have encouraged individual first aid kits to be modeled off the military and be issued to EMS personnel," he said.

He believes this kit will help save lives because it will address key killers of traumatic injury most of the time.

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