AmboFOAM’s Office

A number of people on Twitter were interested in the setup MICA use for our gear, so I have snapped a few photos to illustrate a pretty typical setup.  I must apologise as many of these photos are pretty blurry; I was on to coffee number 5 by the time I took them.  I didn’t realise just how bad they were until I got them on the big screen at home…

I will retake and re-upload them tomorrow, but at least in the meantime it will give you an idea of things.

It goes without saying that this post is photo heavy, so slow interweb people be warned.

Flashy lights.  Red and blue alternate (except for that rogue grill light that is out of sync)  Highbeams wigwag, and the center of the bar has two white flashers.  Headlights and white lights switch off when the headlights are turned on to stop us blinding people at night.  As with all emergency beacons they immediately render motorists deaf and blind…

Front lights

Sign writing and repair jobs….


The cockpit.  Mobile Data Terminal has integrated mapping/GPS which gives a route to address automatically.  Phone is handsfree, and is also used for ECG telemetry.  Radio has a foot operated PTT switch so we can keep at least two hands on the wheel and talk about stuff at the same time.


The other end

Rear lights

The toys.


The toys, labelled in their homes.

Gear tray

The backpack loading rig.  It slides out and elevates automatically with a gas piston, so one does not have to bend and put it on.  The yellow and grey bags behind it are duplicate drug and airway kits so we can do a couple of decent jobs on the run.  Spare O2 hides behind it.  Of course we will always try to mess up someone elses gear before we go near ours.

Backpack Rig

Backpack Rig extended

Left rear passenger door holds the booze drug fridge (with space for a couple of bottles of water) where we keep suxamethonium, pancuronium and cold fluid (do people remember therapeutic hypothermia?  It used to be a thing)


Cold pack holds 2 x 1 litre fluid, as well as a small container for drugs and icepacks to keep it cold outside the refrigerator.

Cold pack

Oxygen backpack.  This is the yellow pack that lives on the elevator thing on the right hand side.


It contains oxygen (small bottle), some assessment gear (BP cuff, thermometer, blood glucose tester, spare pulse-ox), oxygen masks, some fluid, bag valve masks (adult and paediatric) and suction, as well as some basic drugs we can’t fit elsewhere

O2 Bag

The suction runs off the O2 cylinder, which can empty it pretty quickly.  There is a standard O2 nipple as well as a demand valve that attaches directly to the BVM where the reservoir bag would normally go, thus saving a little O2.


The drug bag.  The connectors on the front allow it to be attached to the oxygen backpack so we can carry it all together on our back if need be.

Drug Bag

We carry only a 500ml bag of fluid and a 10% dextrose, so have to rely on the proper ambulance crews who work two up to bring us more.

With fluids

The drugs.  Colour coded for ease of use.  The whistle type thing on the top right is to administer methoxyflurane, which is a volatile anaesthetic used in small doses as an inhaled analgesia.

Drug side

IV gear lives on the other side, along with some spare needles for the IO.  The IO lives in the Philips MRx monitor bag.  I shan’t show the MRx as I hate it so.

IV side

Airway bag.  Straps are again to attach to the backpack.

Airway bag

The first compartment on the left holds LMAs and we usually have a couple of randomization envelopes in there for whichever trials we are currently carrying out.


Folded right open

all airway

The whole thing folds out to reveal the laryngoscopes (traditional bulb type) and blades, along with the ETTs and our cric kit (terrible seldinger style cric)  Notice the bougie – we have to run it around the bag to keep the business end in good shape.  It often gets mangled, which really gives me the screaming squits.  We also have a small and really, really small bougie for little people.  Behind the tubes are a couple of pneumocaths for decompressing chests.

Airway scopes and tubes

Other side has gastric tubes and bags, nasopharyngeal airways, magill forceps, tube holders, EtCO2 lines and misc.

Airway NG etc

Infusion bag.  This lives on the top right of the cargo area beside the computer.  Note the breakaway power cable on the right side of the bag to keep the gear charging…  The top pocket contains some decent, long pneumocaths, as the ones we carry in the airway bags are no longer than a 14g cannula, and thus won’t work on most of our patients anyway.

Infusion bag

Two syringe pumps, along with D5W, tubing, labels and so forth live within.   Power cables to keep them from running out of battery power live in the side compartments.

Syringe pumps

CPAP device lives in it’s own little bag.

CPAP bag

There are actually two units in here at the moment.  The WhisperFlow unit (can’t really see it on the right of the bag under the mask) has fixed pressure and FiO2.  The newer unit allows for adjustment of both pressure and FiO2, and also has a much superior mask, but is very noisy.  CPAP is fantastic.


So that’s about it.  It’s not a bad setup, although there is always room for improvement.

Let me know if there is anything else you would like to see.

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16 Responses to AmboFOAM’s Office

  1. Pingback: RERN Kit - KI Doc

  2. rob says:

    Thanks, what is the weight of the yellow back pack? I loved your MRX observation, a better paper weight i have never seen.

    • I don’t actually know the weight. I’m on night shift tonight, so I’ll weigh it and let you know.
      The sad thing about our MRx is that I suspect we will be getting the new model when the contract for these last abominations expires.

  3. Will says:

    Hi I’m wondering if you carry neann trauma kits on the car as i live in Australia and want to be a intensive care paramedic so I saved up and bought one which the NSW ambulance use but I’m wondering what the Vic ambulance use.
    Many thanks will

    • Hi Will.

      We actually don’t really carry much of a trauma kit. Our cannulas, pneumocaths and so on live in other primary kits. We do have a little grey bag you can see behind the airway kit in the photo with the drawer out, but it is simply on old first aid kit. All that is in it is some gauze, combine dressings, a few bandages, a couple of formable splints and a pelvic binder.
      In many ways (especially for those of us in metropolitan areas) trauma is actually pretty simple as there is very little we can do. Manage an airway, control bleeding, decompress a tension pneumothorax, splint fractures, provide analgesia and keep them warm. And maybe give some fluid….
      Don’t worry too much about buying all the whizz-bang gear. If you get employment, they will provide you with all you need to do the job.


  4. Will says:

    Hi thanks for the reply I’m wondering what do you do with your log gear do you sell it? Or do you through it out? Many thanks will

  5. Will says:

    Sorry I mean old gear

    • We really don’t have old gear to throw away. Almost everything that goes in or on a patient is single use only, and everything else gets used until it falls apart (and sometimes for a bit longer after that…)

  6. Will says:

    I mean the kits

    • They too are used until they are little more than rags. There is very little that is salvageable at all I’m afraid, as they get very heavy use day in, day out. They also get liberally exposed to many, many things that don’t bear thinking about.

      The best thing you can carry is some gloves and a pocket/keyring CPR mask. Your hands are the best tools you have to stop bleeding, open an airway and so forth. A CPR mask just in case, and most things can be dealt with. Throw in a few bandages and dressings and you are good to go. As you progress through your training you may want to add some more things, but the basics will see you well forever.

  7. hey just wondering if you can take some pictures of your first aid kit and what bags are the road cars there using ???

  8. Thanks mate would be grate I’m a ACO in the high country, just wondering are you guys down there running the new three bag system on the road cars (the Assessment Kit, Drug Bag and Airway Kit) ?.

  9. Angus says:

    What IO access do you guys use in Victoria? I know QAS uses the EZ IO gun for CCP’s(equivalent to M.I.C.A. Para’s) and the FAST Responder Sternal IO for Flight CCP’s and HARU CCP’s(These guys are equivalent to the London HEMS CCP’s minus being able to perform a Thoracotomy)

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