An EMS expert and educator discusses the importance of airway management for EMS providers, who need to be well-versed in the practice and capable of using every device in their airway toolboxes.

According to Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P, of the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program, it is critical for EMS professionals to follow a process that can consistently and rapidly identify an airway that requires intervention. He listed three important questions when assessing a patient in the field:

  1. What is the likelihood of airway failure?
  2. What are impediments to adequate airway control?
  3. What airway resources are available?

In addition, Hsieh believes the increasing use of automatic transport ventilators to better manage a patient’s ventilatory needs may signal another evolution in the field management of out of hospital airway practice.