Toys for EMT?


Feb 5, 1999
My brother's birthday is coming, and a need a gift! He works as an engineer, but finds his "fun" working as an EMT. I was considering getting him a reasonable knife, but I'm not sure he has the interest. I've never seen him carry more than an SAK, or a clip-it box cutter type tool, or shears. Any ideas as to what I can look into, knife or non-knife?
Cold Steel (I think) makes a folding, serrated, sheeps-foot blade knife. The serrations are good for cutting through materials such as seat-belt webbing, and the sheeps-foot point minimizes the chance of stabbing a potential rescuee while sawing through the seat belt.
I am the same thing, engineer by day, emt at night and on the weekends.

Spyderco Rescue. You will lose it eventually, but you can find them for a good price, and guarenteed he will use it!

To me, the very best sheepsfoot rescue knife is the Myerchin A500, retail $55.

Very thin and flat, so that even being a fixed-blade it can be carried as easily as a'll also be far easier to keep very clean, lacking a pivot.

See also - these guys are taking 440A steel to the absolute limit, them and SOG are the only ones who seem able to make *good* 440A blades.

Another thing: Mad Dog tested the ATAK with a police agency that was interested in a car extraction tool that every cop and EMT could carry. With no training some cops punched a hole in the roof of a car big enough to extract a victim and so fast that they easily beat the "jaws of life" gang assuming the Jaws people had a mild response time. The ATAK or Pigmy ATAK in 1/4" stock would both be able to pull this trick off...the Taiho and YFA probably could too. That's a lot of bux, although you sometimes see a used Pygmy ATAK go for a hair under $300.

Jim March

I went through this same exercise last June on rec.knives and all existing forums. My son is an active duty navy corpsman serving with the marines. I received over 3 dozen inputs from current or former military and civilian medics and EMTs. What was preeminent was the need for a small sharp cutter that could be accessed immediately. Opinions were quite split on folders including the "rescue" types.

What we ended up with was a Spyderco Moran small fixed blade in VG-10. This was coupled to a new sheath design created for me by Edge-Works which allows attachment/carry in more ways than I had imagination. Suffice it to say that this combo has proved its worth in the field. I recommend it to you for your consideration.

Bob; it is true that Erich was sent into the field with a Spyde Moran. Only. I was shocked; SHOCKED, I tell you.

Suffice to say that Erich Allman, USN, now has a Mad Dog ATAK2, and a BM975BST to augment the rather meager edged weapon supply provided by pater dearest.

What every EMT uses for extraction most often is trauma shears. The big scissors with large plastic loops for fingers and thumbs, so they can be used with heavy gloves on, and the blunt tips are angled at about 30 degrees at the pivot point. These tend to get lost frequently, so get a couple. They are only about $6 or $7 a pair.

The problem, you see, is that you need to cut someone's seatbelt very rarely, and are in a big hurry when you do so; so what do you do with the knife when you stop cutting? Stick it in the sheath? No time. You can stick the trauma scissors into your belt or waistband (blades closed, of course).

Further, if you are dealing with a dazed person, you are a lot less threatening bending over him with a pair of scissors in your hand than with a knife in your hand.

Sure, I carry a prybar in my car, and a pATAK on my belt, but I also have my trauma scissors, and they are the only thing I have ever used at an accident scene.

Walt Welch MD
Thanks for the replies! I'm still pondering it over (I still have a some time, for now
). I like the Moran and the Myerchin, but I'm not sure I could picture him with a fixed blade - it doesn't seem his nature.
Doug - do you think the rescue jr. is an appropriate length for practical use? I'm not sure if he's comfortable with large knives.


Sorry if i'm resurrecting old topics.

[This message has been edited by pk (edited 11 February 1999).]
Buck makes a Cross Lock with a strap cutter on oneside called the "Lifesaver", model 180LX. The Crosslocks are good utility blades for the price, around $45.00 In my "retail cutlery at the mall" days we sold a few of these. If anything, they always seem to get a second glance from the EMTs.


Buck makes a "high grade" version of that same knife with a TI-coat blade, basically an 80Rockwell hard finish that also aids edgeholding...and produces GOLD blades. AG Russell has 'em for about $80 or so, which considering the corrosion resistance and theoretical edgeholding and the "cool factor" doesn't seem at all bad.

The Crosslocks in general are a GREAT design...the "run of the mill" types have 425 blades and aren't a major turn-on for me but...that TI-coat specimen...yummy.

Jim March

As you have seen, Uncle Walt has taken me to task <groan> again, for sending my eldest into harms way with but a Spydie Moran to augment the tired and obsolete stuff he'd been issued.

The medical shears are without doubt numero uno and the kid has two now. He can now see what he's doing in low light or darkness thanks to Photons, chop his way into a helo with the ATAK2, and employ a serrated edge from a folder for tasks too big for the ATAK. He is indeed now well equipped

Doc has been there and done that, especially overseeing an ER in a large urban environment. Heed his counsel!

Bald1; that's 'Whacko Uncle Walt,' please. Or perhaps 'Uncle Whacko Walt.'

Anyway, I am certainly glad Erich got squared away before shipping out. Damn fine kid there, Bob. See ya, Walt
One of the best tools I've been able to give a fried of mine in the fire dept. is a combination mini-maglite/ multi-putpose tool pouch called the Pock-Its by Nite- Ize. In addition to the light an tool, it has elastic loops for holding pens and shears, extra battery storage (The batteries in your light died? Got spares? No? Well, doom on you.) and can be worn horizontaly or vertically.
Oh, yeah, it even has a flap for tool retention. I carry one in my briefcase just so I dont have to tear the whole thing apart for just one tool.

************************* I don't have an attitude problem, you have a perception problem.

[This message has been edited by Christian (edited 12 February 1999).]
Walt, maybe you or an EMT type could speak to this. I don't have the magazine in front of me but I saw a recent advertisement in either Blade or TK--Blade I think--showing someone cutting the shoulder belt of an automobile accident victim to free her (posed, I am sure). Problem is he was cutting the front of the belt, toward the victim! That's right, sharp blade pointing toward the victim. Please confirm for me that this method is dead wrong and irresponsible!!! Makes me thing that whatever they are selling is suspect (a course, knife, book or something). What do you think?
How about a Leatherman tool?

How about a White Photon II light (on a lanyard) to test pupil dilation?

Clay Fleischer

"10,000 Lemmings Can't Be Wrong!"
Wow, thanks for all the ideas! I like the spydercos and the crosslocks.
Frank, I've noticed that ABC-Direct has the Wave and Sideclip on sale, hehe (i also like their prices on spydercos - wait, who am I shopping for again? oh, haha).
Christian, is there a place on-line where I can look at the pouch?
Clay, I would love to get him a photon, I think it's such a great little thing, but i think he already has a few flashlights (then again, when has owning something prevented us from getting another?
Cutting seat belts quickly is actually not quite as easy as it sounds. We went to a junk yard and cut quite a few of them to get the hang of it.

I can cut them quickly by doing a stroke away from me to get the cut started and then towards me when I run out of blade to finish it. I found that when cutting towards myself I had to hold the belt material with my fingers right next to the blade edge to try to hold it "stiff" -- for some reason I can hold it and push away easier.

I've tried several knifes, like Doc Walt I usually have at least one Mad Dog knife around, having a Pygmy ATAK or the full size model would allow you to pry through just about anything, but using something like a Paratech tool is a little easier if it is actually your job.

Spyderco Rescue, in Orange. Every now and then you can find them for slightly under $30. Get two, as you will lose one of them for sure or loan it out and forget to get it back. The happy orange looks more like a safety item than if you jump down in a ditch with your Mad Dog ATAK and cleanly slice through the door pillar in a single pass.

I've never used the Rescue Jr. but I know it is made of a better steel that the standard 'ol style Spyderco Rescue knives that I have (and they have a real clip, too). Since it can take 3 or more sawing motions to cut a belt, the shorter blade will take a few more strokes, but probably not too big of a difference. I've eyed the new full-size Rescue in the new ATS55 steel but can't quite get myself to kick down the $50+ for one until I've lost my last two Orange rescues.

Just about ever cop that I know who carries a knife carries a Spyderco of some sort. Partly because they aren't knife nuts (knuts?) like us and aren't aware of what else is out there, partly because everyone else has 'em too.

I worked in the para-medical field ( in an advanced life support ground ambulance) for some 3 yrs.

This was about 20 yrs ago prior to the advent of knives with one hand opening and quick access clip attachments. My "tools of the trade" were the medic shears that Walt writes of, and a small Buck "cadet" 3 blade pocket knife. We also had sterile scapels with "OB" kits to cut umbilical cords on newborns.

Today, I would still use the shears, but would have a Spyderco Rescue, maybe in the new smaller version. The sheepfoot blade on it would be preferred to a pointed blade as to not injure the patient under ackward and trying field conditions.

Most of the time, your edged tools are used simply to remove clothing quickly, and to cut bandages.

In that 3 years I only cut a couple of seat belts. It is simply much more efficient, faster, and safer to push the buttons to release them! Cutting seat belts may be akin to police busting down a door with an entry tool, and then finding out the door was unlocked.

I have several friends that are firemen. One of them loves to cut seatbelts, and I think he rarely tries to open them. That is just his preference.

You hear a lot of talk about cutting seat belts, and even blades designed specifically for such purpose. I think they are a waste of space and money, as it is normally so rare they would ever be used, and any knife will cut a seat belt (especially serrated).
I was a firefighter for a while and I will say that your friend that starts by cutting seatbelts before trying to release them the normal way is really probably in the majority. It is sort of like the door opening methods that many firefighters use...force it first and if that does not work then try the door knob. It is really too bad because if the door will open or the seatbelt will release it is faster, safer, and easier to just release the seatbelt or turn the knob.