What is in a Responder Kit, and what is it used for?
A Responder Kit, sometimes called a Fast Response Kit, Prep Kit or a Rescue kit, contains vital tools that will assist Rescuers during a Cardiac Emergency.
The kit is roughly the size of a pencil case, and is typically clipped onto the AED carrying case, or stored in a cabinet with the Defibrillator. It contains the following items:
Gloves: When performing First Aid or providing any type of Medical Assistance, it is essential for the Rescuer to protect themselves from the spread of infection by donning latex or nitrile gloves.
Medical Mask: Sometimes called a Surgical Mask, offers facial protection which is essential to protect the Rescuer and the Patient. The Rescuer should don facial protection, and if possible, may choose to place a face mask over the patient while preforming CPR, in order to reduce the spread of potentially infectious droplets.
Barrier Device: This may also be called a CPR mask, or Pocket Mask, and it is utilized for CPR when rescue breaths are being done (sometimes referred to as mouth-to-mouth). They come in many forms. The more basic versions resemble a square piece of plastic with a filter in the middle, while the more intricate versions are shaped to fit nicely to the face and form a seal, and come with a protective flow valve for delivering breaths. This barrier device may not be needed, as there are many circumstances nowadays when compression-only CPR is recommended, but it should be kept with the AED to provide Rescuers with the option.
Razor: The AED pads need to be applied directly to the skin. If the patient has a hairy chest, this can prevent proper pad contact, thereby restricting its ability to deliver an effective shock. When excessive hair is present, the razor should be utilized to shave the area of the chest where the pads will be applied.
Towel: Water can prevent the pads from properly sticking to the patient’s chest and delivering an effective shock. In the case of sweating, swimming or other sources of moisture, the chest will need to be dried prior to the pads being applied. It is very common for various bodily fluids to be present during a medical emergency, which would need to be wiped away from the chest and torso.
Scissors/Shears: When utilizing an AED, all of the patients clothing needs to be removed from their front torso (this includes undergarments). Scissors are provided to cut the patient’s clothing as needed, and can be useful for other purposes as well.
Whether the kit is purchased ready-to-go, or the components are assembled by the AED Owner, every AED should have this essential kit available for use.