In light of West, Texas and the fertilizer plant explosion and the bombing of the Boston Marathon, it seems prudent to brush up on the types of injuries you might encounter at an explosion site. Along that vein, I wish to introduce you to the CDC’s free course entitled “Bombings: Injury Patterns and Care”.
CDC Course: “Bombings: Injury Patterns and Care”
The lest well advertised version of this course can be taken at your leisure online, free of charge, from any place you have n internet connection. Visit: https://cdc.train.org/ to check out the CDC’s free e-learning system, and once you register, you can locate the course in the catalog. It offers 2.3 CME, which should apply towards your trauma CE requirements for maintaining certification or licensure. All in all, it is a pretty well designed course that doesn’t overcomplicate the topic.
If you wish to visit the CDC’s site to learn more about the course, and to find free resources, including links to where you can get the downloads for in-person course materials, and to obtain the CD-ROM version of the course at no charge, then visit the CDC’s Bioterrorism site at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/masscasualties/bombings_injurycare.asp - Even if you choose to use the CDC-TRAIN learning site and complete the course online, I encourage you to visit the CDC’s website for additional reference material.
I’m giving away a very hardy case from mEdge (called the “Supershell”) and a ZAGG invisibleSHIELD Extreme screen protector for the iPhone 5. The SuperShell case looks to have some excellent drop protection, especially on the sides and corners where phones are most vulnerable, features gripping texture which should work well with PPE gloves, has a limited lifetime warranty, and hey, it comes in EMS blue! The ZAGG screen protector offers incredible scratch resistance, shock resistance, and break protection, plus it also has a lifetime replacement warranty.
The contest is simple… “Like” my Facebook page and “Share” the contest post. That’s it! Winner will be chosen on April 30th at 5pm Pacific Time.
The Unwired Medic is proud to feature our first guest writer, Steve S. He hails from our Law Enforcement brethren, and served my beloved United States Marines for a time (thank you Steve!). You can find him on Twitter as @SSgt93…
LifeProof for iPhone 5 – Is it the perfect case?
I have been an avid Apple iPhone fan since the beginning, and have also owned just about every ‘tough’ case out there, as well as some fancy ones, but don’t tell anyone that.
When I ordered my iPhone 5, my first thought was what case to pick for it. Again, I have owned several cases in the past; some that are tougher for work, and some that are nicer for an evening out with my wife. I wanted an all around great case, a short time later that case was made, and in my hands; it’s made by LifeProof.
The LifeProof case is thin, light, and weatherproof, yes, that is right, weatherproof! LifeProof calls the case, “the most advanced case ever built”.
The LifeProof has grip but does not attract dirt and fuzz in pockets, will resist shock, can be used in the pouring rain, or in a blizzard, and you can swim with it. That’s right, the case is waterproof! A quick search on YouTube will yield plenty of videos of water use with the iPhone. Truly remarkable!
I put the case through several tests (including the mandatory water test when you first receive the case) and it did well. A quick registration online also extends the warranty from 90 days to a full year.
In my opinion, the LifeProof case is perfect for emergency responders. Need to call your Supervisor to keep the radio clear of a sensitive subject in the pouring rain? LifeProof will help you. Responding to a call of a drowning subject and forget the phone is in your pocket? No worries, LifeProof has you covered. It’s an investment that will save ruined phones, and also help save lives.
Of course, with every good, there is a bad. After spending an extended amount of time in a pool, my case did have a few drop of water in it around the rear window in the back of the phone, and by the charging connector at the bottom. No water entered my phone and it works fine.
There is also some ‘pillowing’ on the screen that affects the sensor on the phone. What I mean is the when making or receiving a phone call, at times it will not allow you to hang up. You simply cannot swipe the end call bar at the bottom, even when using your other hand to hold the screen closer to the phone. I had to do a hard reset on my phone to get the call to end without removing my phone from the case. Some users have removed the foam strips, but you risk damaging the waterproof protection. Not everyone has this problem. I say buy the case, test it, if it’s an issue, return the case and try another. I hear LifeProof is on their 3rd version; mine was a release date version.
Overall, I would recommend the LifeProof as it does wonders with very few quirks. This case was not made for a ‘hipster’. It was made for emergency responders like you and me.
I am also a big fan of the AppleCare warranty, but that is for another story!
Are you tired of getting “that” look from your patients when you give them a 0.4mg sublingual spray of NTG from the cute pink bottle?
“I thought it was supposed to be cinnamon,” they almost always exclaim!
Well, the manufacturer has heard the cries of the masses and come up with one-better than the cinnamon idea. In a recent marketing release, the manufacturer of Nitrolingual pumpsprays claim to feel sorry for the unfortunate side-effect of their metered-dose nitro, so to offset the negative impressions from their consumers, they have added authentic, zero-calorie BACON FLAVORING to future production lots. Rejoice! No more will patients delay in calling 9-1-1 for their chest pain symptoms out of fear of that reprehensible mediciney aftertaste. Now, they will again embrace the Emergency Medical Services industry and our highly medically recommended treatment of their angina pectoris and congestive heart failure. As a result of this innovation, EMT’s and Paramedics everywhere will also experienced decreased frustration when walking through a cloud of airborne nitro-spray their partner “accidentally” triggered while within close proximity.
If you wish to inquire of its availability in your market region or to simply thank Arbor Pharmaceuticals for this bold step into the future of cardiac crisis intervention, visit the Nitrolingual website, and scroll to the bottom of the page. There, you’ll find a link to the Arbor Pharmaceuticals corporate website and on that page, you’ll find a “Contact Us” page link. In the spirit of the annual observance of April 1st, I surely hope they find this farcical post on a very widely used medication as enjoyable as I found it to write. It also really wouldn’t hurt my feelings if this confabulation were to come to fruition, and I am certain that hundreds of thousands of patients annually would agree with me.
If you took this post seriously, you should seek counseling for a bacon addiction. Happy April 1st!
I was wandering the emerging technology section of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2013) in January and came across Phoenix Biosystems, Inc. They don’t even have a website up and running yet. They have a proof-of-concept developed that will eventually allow a single drop of blood to be applied to a sensor plugged into your smartphone, and the net result will be something along the lines of cardiac biomarkers like Troponin I and CPK/CK-MB, and maybe Myoglobin. This company doesn’t have a beta-release so I can’t give you any more than this, but I await this product with baited breath. Now the question is, where in EMS will we get a drop of blood from our patient’s?
There are two ways to keep your device safe from hackers:
Never activate any form of data sharing. That means no Bluetooth, no Wi-Fi, no NFC, no 1X/3G/4G data, and even no GPS! Even text messages could contain links that are malicious, and you can be spammed. You could have your phone calls scanned too, so to play it safe, don’t send or receive calls from your phone.
Stock image provided by http://www.sxc.hu/profile/txutowski
Remove the batteries and memory cards, and NEVER turn it on. Better yet, just eliminate all risk by placing the device in the middle of a driveway. First, repeatedly compress it by applying a minimum 10# sledgehammer using overhead swinging technique, then drive over it with a pickup truck with redneck swamper/mud bogger tires on it (or a steamroller, if one is handy), then clear the immediate area surrounding the potentially compromising device, and on a calm, no-winds evening, pour gasoline on it, and light it on fire (use all safety precautions to prevent injury as you will then be unable to call 911 if you hurt yourself in a “Hey Bubba, watch this!” moment).
That’s not gonna happen, so let’s get real…
If you took the time to set that four-digit PIN on your phone’s lockscreen, CONGRATULATIONS! You have taken one step more than the average smartphone user. Most people won’t even bother with that because it makes it harder to get into their phone and use it while they’re driving. But they are opening themselves to losing their data effortlessly to a thief.
But not you!
Nope, you’ve taken an extra step in protecting your smartphone data. In fact, I’d say you’ve caused a thief to waste at least another 10-30 seconds to hack into your phone. Really. It takes long enough to plug your phone into a USB cable attached to a laptop or PC, the device to be recognized by the computer, then for it to populate in any number of freely available hacking tools. Once that happens, you select the device in the hack program, click a button on the screen, and you’re in. Feel free to do a web search on this topic to see for yourself just how easy it is.
The police across America often can do this right in their patrol cars with their MDT or Toughbooks. Some agencies go so far as to limit this access to detectives who are specifically trained in the legal intricacies of doing this, but it’s likely an agency-by-agency policy. It is probably handled the same way they search a vehicle. If consent is given, then they may be able to search the entire device. This can be useful for fire and EMS if we’re trying to determine an identity or find an emergency contact.
But what if the phone they are searching is yours? What if it isn’t law enforcement? What if it’s a thief? Do you have anything personal that the public or some other intruder shouldn’t see on your phone ? [Note: It's a rhetorical question - I REALLY don't want to know ]
With a basic 4-digit PIN, I can unlock your phone within 10,000 possibilities without the use of a PC. Once I figure out what that PIN is, I can probably guess your ATM/Debit/Credit Card PIN too. Any of that info stored on your device? Do you use Google Wallet or PayPal? Do you use a banking app? Those hacker programs don’t worry about the PIN number, by the way. They bypass that process altogether. Have you set up the option to allow only three failed attempts to unlock your phone and then, BLAMMO! It wipes out the contents of your hard drive? What about the removable SD card? Have you tried a complex password for your phone?
Many phones allow you to receive a call without unlocking the phone, for convenience, but have you set the option to disable outgoing calls while locked? How about making sure that texts and social media posts can’t be replied to when the phone is locked? Yep, those are choices too! Have you set up your phone data to be encrypted?
So you see…
Even having this guy guard your phone won’t make it invulnerable! Image credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/lockstockb
You probably aren’t doing everythingreasonable to protect your information from being stolen with your phone. If you get some bum, umm, homeless guy, umm, urban outdoorsman, or perhaps a junkie, umm, crack addict, umm, person in search of their next fix, umm, person desperate for quick and easy money, you might get lucky and lose only your phone, but if you get a hacker, you could lose much more than a device. I know the security steps I’m about to recommend are tedious and time-consuming, but how important is security? Do you own the device or does it belong to your work? Does it contain FOUO, sensitive, restricted, or even classified materials? If it’s yours, you lost the device and you will pay the consequences, but it’s just you (and maybe anyone else who’s info and/or photos you had on there). If it belongs to your work, then for the agency, it could be a source of public embarrassment, patient data compromise, or worse. Is it worth your job or being named in a personal liability suit, which will follow you for the rest of your career or life?
Think of it like this… you use a lame password, or none at all to lock your device, it’s like taking your new Ferrari to the mall, leaving the top down, the keys in, and the doors unlocked and walking away. If you use a better password, maybe you took the keys. You use a complex password, encrypt, and set up a (decent) security app, then you put the top up, locked the doors, took the keys, and set the alarm. Will someone be able to take your car? Yep. Even if you left a Club on the steering wheel and a slobbering Doberman in the front seat, if someone wants it bad enough, they’ll just take it away with a tow truck or a flatbed and hide it away until they find a sure way of breaking in. The object is to make it unappealing and to protect it as long as possible so you can activate your LoJack and nail the bad guys, or to fry the data so that the info on it is unrecoverable.
Real security you can implement…
SO… every device manufacturer is different in how they say to secure your phone, but even though the specifics depend on the device, some things are consistent. You should:
Turn it off! Image Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/muresan113
Set a complex password (letters, numbers, uppercase/lowercase combos, symbols, 8 or more characters). Some apps are available for lockscreens that use patterns instead of alphanumerics. It may be worth a try.
Disable Bluetooth discoverability unless you are actively performing the initial pairing with another device. This means you leave Bluetooth on so you can sync your phone and computer or pair with your headset, car speaker, or stereo. This is the equivalent of a toddler covering his eyes and saying, “You can’t see me now!”
Turn off Wi-Fi, at least until you really need it. Most people leave Wi-Fi on all the time, as it saves some battery power by allowing you to connect to networks instead of using your 3G/4G connections, and it saves money on your limited-data wireless plans.
Disable NFC (near-field communications, which is the “tap to pay” or “bump to fileshare” function in newer phones, except iOS, which will probably debut it with the next generation iPhone and proclaim it is their awesome innovation).
It’s better if you disable Bluetooth completely. I could tell you scary stories about Bluetooth’s lack of security, but I don’t want to scare you with any black ops conspiracy theories facts on the government and hackers’ ability to make your phone spy on you.
Update your operating system and apps as often as updates can be had. With Apple and Android devices, this can be a daily chore. I literally start my day out by turning on my phone and checking the marketplace for app updates within about a half an hour of getting out of bed. Now it’s a habit. It also gives me something to Tweet about.
Don’t jailbreak or root your device (well, I don’t necessarily agree with this, but the reality is that manufacturer updates will not be supported any longer). I’d be happy to have a discussion with you about this if you want to know more. Just drop me a message in the comments or e-mail me at: cdm [at] unwiredmedic [dot] com and make sure to replace the brackets and included text with the appropriate symbols.
Enable your phone locator (activates the GPS so you will expend more battery life). If your Android doesn’t have this feature, you can use one of the security apps I list below that includes it in the features.
Use encryption services built in to the phone, if they exist.
Make use of a VPN app (virtual private networking) to tunnel back to your home or work server. It encrypts all data transmitted over the cellular and Wi-Fi networks (there are also drawbacks to this option and again, I’ll be happy to discuss them if you want to know more).
Apple thinks the iPhone apparently doesn’t need security, so there’s nothing in iTunes. No Windows Phone apps (AVG has a family-safe browser app and Comodo has a management app for Endpoint, but it isn’t an antivirus app), yet. With Apple and Windows Phone, I think that if they don’t look at the problem, it won’t exist. They don’t even have an app to protect your browsing behavior, so the best thing for that is to use a VPN. I don’t have a Blackberry anymore, but Blackberry has one of the most secure operating systems anyway. That pretty much leaves Android. I can think of three particular apps that are worth investing in. There are literally dozens of apps that are security-related. Some of them are even worth putting on your device.
Cerberus. It’s a 3-headed dog in Greek mythology guarding the gates of hell. I hear its most recent reincarnate version hails from 3-Mile Island, but I digress. You can get the app for Android with a one week free trial, but follow them on Twitter and Facebook, because they do give away free licenses from time to time. It’s less than $5 (2.99€) if you want to just buy it, otherwise, plus you can put the app on up to 5 devices. Nicely, it includes the ability to locate your device, send a text to it, control it by text message or via the Cerberus account website, trigger an alarm remotely (even in silent mode), get an alert if someone drops a different SIM into the device, even wipe the device’s internal and flash memory (microSD cards), and you can activate the camera and microphone to record the thief. My favorite part is if you have rooted the device, you can have Cerberus installed in the ROM, so that if someone hacks in and does a factory reset to wipe all your traces of info and your apps off, Cerberus will still be installed and tracking the device. The app is absolutely brilliant. Android Police did a review of it and found it stood above all the other security apps: http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/11/28/mobile-security-app-shootout-final-roundup-out-of-a-sea-of-apps-just-one-emerges-as-a-clear-winner-in-keeping-your-device-safe/
Avast! Mobile. I use it myself on my Android devices. It even incorporates a lot of the features of Cerberus for device recovery and protection against factory resets on rooted devices. It’s kept me from hitting malicious websites and checks out the apps downloaded from Google Play and Amazon Appstore. I have to say it does it’s job, and it does it well. You also can’t beat the price: FREE. It isn’t perfect, but it is the best. I have no faith in big name companies like that one that begins with a capital “N” and ends with an “orton”, or that other big one with a Scottish last name. Get avast! Mobile here: http://www.avast.com/free-mobile-security3
The bigger the colored square, the bigger the earthquake. You can click on the colored squares that you want to know more about to see specific details. It may take them up to an hour to post it, but check back and it should be logged in eventually. Recent quakes drop off the map after a week, otherwise the whole thing would be unreadable.
Medscape Mobile for iPhone home screen (screenshot)
Looking for an all-in-one reference for your medical practice? Allow me to suggest Medscape Mobile. The apps and website feature content reviewed by over 7,000 peer-reviewers, and it is updated frequently so you needn’t worry about pulling info that is out-of-date. Medscape’s mobile apps feature a smorgasbord of reference tools.
Includes a drug interaction checker
Also includes a formulary reference (a perk for prescribers)
Evidence-based disease & condition references
Medical news by specialty
129 different medical calculators
Access to MEDLINE
includes instructions on how to perform 1,000+ clinical procedures, with video demos
Medical dictionary, for when you have conversations with people like Rogue Medic
Save and Share feature for articles, meds, or whatever you find that is worth passing on to another provider.
There is an option to download reference materials for offline use, which is of great benefit when you work in areas with spotty coverage or worse (gah!), NO coverage (ugh!).
Medscape Mobile for iPhone References Page (screenshot)
Sorry, but I just can’t see recommending a Windows Phone or Blackberry for public safety use. There are far too many good apps like this one that aren’t and probably won’t ever be available on these platforms. That’s a shame too, because I like to play around on my Windows Phone and it is evolving into a decent smartphone platform. You can also access the app’s information from the website.
Medscape is part of the WebMD family of brands, which also includes the popular WebMD (which has its own apps, located at http://www.webmd.com/mobile, more geared to the layperson than the professional), plus eMedicineHealth and MedicineNet.
It is priced to fit even the struggling EMT scholar’s budget. It’s free. No subscription is necessary. Just register for an account when you download the app or visit their website. I also get a couple of newsletters sent to my inbox. It’s amazing how often I have found an article from the newsletter and it points right to a subject that is drawing attention in EMS or to a patient encounter I recently had.
If you are in EMS, critical care, or primary care, this is one tool you don’t want to pass up on getting your hands on.
NOTE: This is an unsolicited app review. No compensation was provided by Medscape for the content of this post.
Sony has announced the PS4, and it is rumored to be nothing short of a full gaming PC with a touchscreen and a camera. It is supposed to continue to feature a Blu-Ray player that can still play DVD’s. Expect a boost in graphics (to include “second screen features, which I assume means dual-screen gaming) and speed, and they threw in that you can expect “deeply integrated social capabilities”, including the ability to share screenshots on Facebook and other social media outlets. Read more about the PS4 here: http://blog.us.playstation.com/2013/02/20/playstation-meeting-2013-the-future-of-gaming-is-here-with-playstation-4/
All they said about a release date was that they will share more information as they get closer to release, “this holiday season”.
Microsoft has been rumored to be preparing it’s XBox 360 successor, the XBox 720 for quite some time too. They have announced that they will debut the new console this summer (which means it will likely debut before the PS4, but please don’t hold me to that). It is supposed to feature a new generation of Kinect with a wider field of vision and will sport USB 3.0 There are no official announcements, nor has anyone definitely said it will be called the XBox 720, but seemingly well-timed rumors have been making their way out concerning the new console. The latest article (as of the time of this writing) comes from ExtremeTech: http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/148842-kinect-2-0-for-xbox-720-specs-leaked-1080p-camera-larger-field-of-view-usb-3-0
Microsoft has been advertising more heavily that they are looking to place the current and future-gen XBox’es as digital entertainment centers, especially by integrating the new XBox SmartGlass, allowing you to run videos, games, and other content on your XBox, then grab your laptop/tablet/Windows Phone/smartphone and pick up right where you left off. Expect to see a lot more of that total entertainment integration in future consoles.
Coming soon to an ambulance near you…
RapidResponse EMS is advertising that their Pediatric Critical Care ambulances are DVD and PS2 equipped. Nothing new to me. I used to keep my laptop and my PS2Slim with a mount-on-case monitor and a DC power supply and a binder full of DVD’s and games on my unit back in 2006 just for long distance transports and kids. OK, I am exaggerating. I liked to game or watch movies when I had a few extra minutes at a post too (darn SSM). I imagine it won’t be long before this becomes a lot more common on long-distance transfer units. All the comforts of a first class airline seat, except for that nasty bar that runs down the middle of the stretcher for mattress support, and the smell, and the noise, and the medical gear and drugs, and that disorienting feeling of staring out the back window, and…
Image credit: unknown source
If you are more into gaming with your Android smartphone or tablet, there are a couple devices I have played with and really enjoyed.
First is the Zeemote JS1 Bluetooth Gaming Remote. Along with the free ZeeKey app for Android, you can control your games without having to put your fingers in front of the touchscreen. I have owned mine for over a year now and even use it with an unsupported PC app to control PowerPoints and videos remotely. Find out more about it at: http://www.zeemote.com/js1/
Next up is the MOGA controller by PowerA (http://www.powera.com/moga). It is really meant for smartphones, but it will work with tablets too, albeit a little awkwardly. Your Android smartphone is supposed to be mounted to the top of the controller in landscape orientation. It even includes a couple of games. You just need Android 2.3 or higher. It’s a pretty sweet setup. Just “Google” MOGA and see what you come up with. There are plenty of detailed reviews out there. I happen to like it quite a bit. I’ve only had mine since December when they ran a screaming hot promo that crashed their website several times due to heavy demand. All you had to do was pay shipping. I don’t know if they’ll be running a deal like that again, but honestly, the $49.99 retail price isn’t unreasonable, considering all the games you get free with the system, and the quality of the device’s build.
Do I have your attention yet? Well, when I saw this on display at CES 2013, it certainly grabbed my attention! It didn’t hurt that they had a pair of attractive ladies modeling at the booth, but really, I’m perfectly loyal to my bride of nearly 13 years. I wasn’t there to see the babes. First thing I saw was the the eye-catching banner, then I saw the ladies. Seriously.
ENOUGH! What is it?
Get The Funk Off! Screen Wipes (image credit DesigningDucks.com website)
Ok. “Get The Funk Off!” is a screen goober remover. It takes care of the nasty-wasty fingerprints, skin oils, and smudges that goop up your phone each and every time you touch it. All that junk residing on your device is a cafeteria for bacteria and other biological bad guys. These pre-moistened, prepackaged wipes can fit in a pouch, your pocket, your purse, or wherever you can stuff them. Simply tear open one of the individual pouches and wipe away the junk. They’re antibacterial too! They work on your phone, tablet, laptop, plasma screen, LCD monitor, or TV. Even if you have a new oleo-phobic coated screen, these babies will safely clean it.
These would be great to use on your Toughbooks, especially after every single patient touches it to sign the ePCR. I gave them a shot and there was more than enough to clean a smartphone… front, back, and sides. As they say, no streaking.
They’re made here in the USA, just outside Philly, so if you buy these, you’re supporting an all-American company.
You can find them in 5-packs, 40-packs, and 100-packs. Visit www.funkoff.com to learn more and to buy. A 40-pack box is only $7.00.
The folks at Get The Funk Off! gave me a box of 40 wipes to share with you. All you have to do is:
Share this post on the social media forum of your choosing (Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest, whatever).
Leave me a comment below telling me what smartphone you are currently using. Make sure you use your correct e-mail so I can contact you if you win. Your e-mail will only be used to contact you if you win. It will not be shared with anyone or used to subscribe you to any newsletters. If you just happened to share the link to the social media post you shared this article on, I’d appreciate it, but it isn’t required.
Do this by 17:00 PST, March 1, 2013, or you’ll miss the drawing.
No one participated in the giveaway, so I’ll run a drawing on Twitter when I get to 1,000 followers. Find one of my posts, RT it and follow @unwiredmedic to get your chance! And, THANK YOU!!!