Gloves by Web - How to choose gloves for EMT and Police

Police, EMTs, and other rescue professionals require special attention when it comes to choosing the ideal protective glove. Police officers have similar gloving needs to EMTs and other emergency personnel because they often come into contact with victims (and perpetrators) and are almost always trained as emergency responders. In addition, police may come into contact with chemicals, overdoses, sharp weapons, or broken glass.

When choosing the perfect glove for an EMS squad or police department, it is important to consider both the proper material and the right color for the situation.

Choosing the Material

Both police officers and EMTs usually opt for medical grade nitrile gloves. People in these occupations need to be prepared to encounter anything when they reach the scene -- from glass shards at a car accident to a patient needing a Narcan injection to reverse the effects of opioids. Nitrile gloves have sufficient cut- and puncture-resistance to protect in either of these situations. Latex gloves were historically the preferred cut-resistant choice, but now they are often avoided due to widespread latex allergies.

In a situation such as a car accident, first responders may opt for an even thicker glove to protect them against possible glass shards or sharp edges of torn metal. Glove thicknesses vary, with a typical nitrile glove averaging about 4 mil; in these types of situations, however, many would opt for a thicker glove, up to 8 mil. Once the patient is stabilized and on the way to the hospital, an EMT or other responder would be able to change into a somewhat thinner glove, making it easier to check for a pulse or perform any procedure that requires increased dexterity.

Choosing the Color

Color should also be a fact taken into consideration when purchasing gloves for EMTs or police officers. Many police departments prefer black gloves. Besides for their professional look, black gloves blend in with dark uniforms and provide decreased visibility, which is important in the case of a shootout or other situation where police are targeted. It can also be helpful in identifying cocaine, since the white powdery substance contrasts well on a black background.

EMTs, on the other hand, often prefer more brightly colored gloves. Some EMS squads use bright orange gloves for increased visibility in a high traffic area. The glove’s lighter color also allows EMTs to write a patient’s vitals or other important information on the glove.

Many fire departments and EMS squads, however, prefer color coding the gloves according to size. When they’re in a hurry, they can easily grab correctly sized gloves without sorting through the boxes and reading each label. When every moment matters, colored coded gloves can make a great difference.

In short, there’s no one correct answer when it comes to choosing protective gloves for emergency personnel. Make sure to take into account the situations that the wearer would potentially encounter, and consider all factors before making a decision.

Written by Rob Brown