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A9 Temperature variation in pre hospital environments
  1. S Black,
  2. K Allen
  1. South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Exeter, UK


Introduction Research from outside the UK has demonstrated that the temperature variation experienced in pre hospital emergency vehicles can exceed the recommended limits of drug companies and may be outside the operating restrictions set down by medical device manufacturers. This study aimed to engage ambulance clinicians in research by participating in a longitudinal study measuring the temperature in a variety of emergency service vehicles and mediation storage facilities. The study used data loggers capable of recording temperatures up to extreme levels at routine intervals. These were placed in variety of environments to monitor the temperature variation in both pre hospital vehicles and static sites such as drug cupboards.

Methods Measurement was phased over 2 years, covering both the summer and winter periods to capture seasonal differences in the minimum and maximum temperatures experienced. Data loggers were placed in a range of vehicles, from emergency ambulances to rapid response cars where the location of drug storage facilities differ. Comparisons are drawn between vehicles which spent time garaged and those that were not. Temperature loggers were placed within ambulance drug bags and also attached to equipment housing within the vehicle to establish the temperature variation which may affect the operation of medical devices.

Results Results show a wide variation in temperatures, from −7.5°C to over 30°C some of which were sustained for periods of several hours. More variation was observed in vehicles than in static sites such as station drug stores.

Conclusion Although this project did not look at the pharmacological degradation of emergency drugs, the variation in temperature found has implications which may impact on the efficacy of pre hospital medications and for the operating efficiency of medical devices.

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