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Author of How to Prep When You’re Broke and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course
Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about a device called a Lifevac. There are a few different options, but basically, it is a suction device you put over the mouth of a choking victim to remove obstructions from their airway. LifeVac kits are available for both home and travel.
I was curious whether or not it was worth buying for my own medical kit, so I did a little research. I thought you might be interested in what I discovered.
There are reports of its successful use.
First things first, I wanted to know whether or not it works. I’m not going to drop $79 on a device that’s iffy. Obviously, with any medical device, being able to use it correctly is key, no matter how good it is. But, did people who knew how to use it find it actually useful?
The report that really caught my eye was this one. Some folks were having dinner at a restaurant when a complete stranger’s baby began choking. The mother was doing everything right – she was performing the actions I have learned to do at First Aid classes (of which I have attended many, including some advanced courses.) As the child turned blue, back blows were administered, as well as the Heimlich Maneuver.
But these efforts were to no avail. The child was unconscious as dinner guests looked on in horror. But then a stranger leapt into action.
Nobody will ever convince me the guy with the LifeVac isn’t a prepper.
The clip above was aired on Inside Edition, and it inspired another family to purchase the device. In a parallel situation, the father was able to save his own infant daughter from choking.
According to LifeVac’s research, at the time of the video above, 31 people had been saved using the device after being motivated to buy it because of seeing it on Inside Edition.
What do real-life medical personnel think of LifeVac?
Of course, these are not “official” medical opinions – just real-life stories. I wanted to get the thoughts of medical folks on the device.
Selco, who works as a nurse, said of the LifeVac:
When it comes to choking on a foreign objects, from my experience, if you see a person choking, for example, while eating, your first step should be to let the person alone – IF the person has a cough reflex (still conscious-coughing) because the biggest percentage of choking will be solved by a person alone –with coughing,
If the person stops coughing, and loses his breath (a foreign body clearly obstructing the airway completely), it is time for the Heimlich maneuver.
If Heimlich maneuver does not work (up to this moment person is already lost his concouisness) this device (LifeVac) could work.
The most important thing with it is to keep a tight “seal” with the patient’s mouth. Otherwise, suction will not work, and the object can not be suctioned.
It is one of the common mistakes with other devices, too (like bag valve masks, for example) – losing the seal between the mask and the patient’s mouth.
It is something that should be included in your car first aid kit. Pros of it are also simplicity of use, size, and lightweight.
I think it seems like a good purchase based on this information.
How does it work?
Here’s a training video that shows how to use the LifeVac when a person is choking.
My thoughts on this product
I really like to test out my gear before using it. But I can’t exactly persuade my daughter to choke on something so I can LifeVac it out of her throat. So, much like other last-ditch techniques such as chest seals or needle decompressions, I have to learn all I can, have the gear on hand, and have multiple strategies to help others.
I strongly, strongly advise you to take a course to learn the Heimlich maneuver – this is often paired with CPR training. The Heimlich is your first-line response for an adult choking victim. Back blows are your first choice for small children and babies.
But if these techniques do not work, I think that a LifeVac is another tool in your medical arsenal. If you have small children or elderly people in your family, you are even more likely to have an incident of choking in which this could be lifesaving.
I’ve added this to my own gear and sincerely hope I never need to use it. But if I do, I’ll be awfully thankful I bought it. You can get this product for use at home and also in a travel version for your car kit. If you’re just getting one unit, I’d likely suggest the travel version so that it can be in your go-bag as well and always on hand.
What do you think?
Are you familiar with the LifeVac device? Would you consider adding it to your travel kit or home medical kit? Do you know of anyone who has successfully used this? (Or unsuccessfully – we’re all about the whole story here.)
Let’s talk about it in the comments section.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.