Today’s correspondent is

 … currently looking into joining an App called ‘Good Sam’. It’s designed to alert people within a small geographical area to a patient in Cardiac arrest. This allows rapid hands on CPR possibly prior to Ambulance response.

my question today is; What equipment is allowed to be carried by someone in a non-work capacity. Can they carry an AED (Defibrillator), Glucometer for testing sugar levels, advanced airways such as Igels, blood pressure cuffs?

I fully understand that any and all drugs are not allowed.

I am currently employed by an Ambulance service.

I have previously written about the Good Sam app- see Crowd sourcing first aid (August 12, 2014).  Given my correspondent is ‘currently employed by an Ambulance service’ I will assume that they are a registered paramedic.

The law does not define the scope of practice of health practitioners.  As professionals it is up to health practitioners to only practice within their areas of competence. When a paramedic is at work their employer verifies that they are competent to complete the work that the service defines as their scope of practice.  When on their own time it’s up to them to determine their scope of practice.

There is no regulation of the items listed, ie Defibrillators, Glucometers, advanced airways such as Igels (see Use of artificial airway by a sports volunteer (March 14, 2016)) blood pressure monitors etc.  Anyone can buy them, and anyone can use them if they know how.  The restriction, as my correspondent has noted, is on scheduled drugs. You cannot buy, possess or supply scheduled drugs without an appropriate authority that is unlikely to exist with an off-duty paramedic.

I have previously argued that for the purposes of health professional registration and compulsory insurance, a paramedic who renders first aid should not be considered to be practicing his or her profession if he or she does not then have professional indemnity insurance.  I did argue that the more equipment associated with paramedic practice that he or she has, then the more likely it is that they would be considered to be practising their profession (see Michael Eburn, ‘Registered paramedics, insurance and first aid – looking for coherence in law’ (2019) 16 Australasian Journal of Paramedicine  If one is going to carry airways, glucometers etc one would also want to carry professional indemnity insurance as required by the Paramedic registration standard – not because of a high risk of liability but because that is required by law for registered paramedics.


Carry whatever you want to invest in, other than scheduled drugs, if you believe you are competent and capable of using that equipment when clinically indicated.