Is the LifeVac Worth Adding to Your Prepper Medical Kit?

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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.

About Daisy

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 FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, 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 on her website, 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. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • 100% sure it would make a good addition. The reason is simple: my own father almost chokes to death with a piece of bread. My mother did the Heimlich, without any training nor other knowledge except what she has read in magazines, and could throw the mouthful of bread. So YES, learn the Heimlich, get one of these things, etc etc.

  • As a trained EMT, we learned CPR & Heimlich for children and infants. I feel all parents should learn this because slapping on the back just isn’t going to cut it. I’d definitely get one of these for another way to clear a blockage.

  • I think it is just common sense to add one of these to your kit. It has to be pretty good plastic for it to have remained useable for the five years that the man had it in his car. I intend to get one of these just to have in my first aid bag that I carry with us when we go anywhere in our auto. If we aren’t leaving our house in the vehicle, it’s in the house, where we grab it with our keys. Thank you Daisy, for this article! Great job!
    Blessings,
    Old Duffer

  • Having been to the ER while choking on a piece of meat – never lost consciousness – just couldn’t get it to go down or out – and having to have a surgeon remove the meat, I will definitely be adding this to my first aid preps. Thanks for sharing

    • Helen this may not help in your situation. The air IS MOVING in your case so this will just continue to let the suck back and forth past the meat. A pair of pliers that is a long nose and at a 90 degree angle might be better. Calmly put to back of throat, pointing down, pull gently outwards so it touches throat and carefully grab onto whatever is stuck, squeeze firmly but not hard enough to damage if you got flesh, you’ll know, you’ll feel that right away, and remove gently. A fish hook remover works in a pinch too.

  • Just received my LifeVac home and travel kit two days ago.

    I live alone and choking is one of my worst case scenarios. The LifeVac is something that a person is supposed to be able to do on oneself.

    Like you, I hope I never need to use it, but it’s mighty comfortable knowing that I have it.

    I also have QuikClot for serious bleeding emergencies in my home and auto.

    • Quik Clot is about useless overpriced stuff.
      If you cut a vein / artery, you gonna bleed and may need to pinch that puppy off. Otherwise, plain old corn starch works wonders, grab some and pinch into wound, it should clot it almost immediately unless wound is very big, and believe it or not, crazy clue will help seal a wound up too.

      • Kaolin works also. I’m experimenting making bandages with kaolin impregnated. Of course, finding someone to try it on is difficult.

      • When one is taking blood thinner, or even regular doses of aspirin as I do, clotting for even a small cut can be challenging. Clotting aids are valuable for everything but a vein/artery cut. For that I carry a tourniquet and trauma bandage along with my Quik Clot.
        The only first aid item that is useless is the one you don’t have.

  • Obviously you’d have to be VERY careful not to cause damage, although death is pretty extreme itself. A standard vaccuum cleaner might work too, cup the sucker over the mouth for a second and see if you can suck out what’s clogging them.

  • We brought four. Product of China but does seem to be well made. I have not used it but, as my grandson likes to stuff huge amount of food in his face, it will probably be sooner than later.

  • I bought a set of 4 of these for about $108 thru an ad on YouTube and have one in my car, one in my living area/kitchen, gave another to a nurse friend. My biggest fear as someone living alone is choking. These devices are very difficult to use on oneself, but I don’t see an easier method out there.

    • I bought the home and travel set, which comes with a “practice” mask.

      I intend to practice on myself, because I do live alone, and choking to death is a nightmare scenario for me.

  • A fool and his/her money are soon parted. But hey, as with most conspiracy/hype, there is a buck to be taken and a buck to be earned.

    • If you have an issue with the product, then share the issue. I specifically asked for honest opinions on this item. Stop flinging random insults. You’re clearing just trying to be a troll and I don’t understand that. We’re all just trying to equip ourselves the best way possible.

      • Thank you Daisy.

        I find your site to be very helpful and enjoy the input of sincere folks, but I agree with you, to cast aspersions without providing any sound basis is not helpful.

        Thanks for upholding good standards.

  • In my humble opinion, yes.

    Why wouldn’t you? They are non-invasive, easy to operate… It’s almost a “no brainer”.

    I bought the “package deal”. (What was it? 5 or something?) and gave the “other ones” to a few coaches & athletic trainers on campus (the ones that have kids.). I figured that’d be the greatest “coverage” with the fewest tools. I think one found it’s way to the child care center on campus. (I’m one of the campus lifeguards.)

    There was a little “resistance” in that the current “industry standard” (as I understand it) is an O2 tank (&/or BVM) is considered “superior care”. And it probably is. That being said, that isn’t any faster, or cheaper, or easier to use than a “LifeVac”.

    I might suggest that one thing to be careful about is in actually applying said item on an infant. You don’t want to use too much weight/pressure creating a seal,

    Thank you,

    “Justin Case”

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