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  • Writer's pictureSasha

What are paramedic scissors used for?

The scissors that paramedics and other healthcare professionals have been using for years now are the trauma shears. They are also referred to as tuff cuts, and paramedics use them to cut off clothes from the body of an injured person, and they can also be used to remove any foreign object.

Although it has a metal blade and plastic handles just like any other scissors, it doesn’t look like traditional scissors. The metal blades are angled at 150 degrees giving it a distinctive look.

One edge of the blades of the scissors is serrated, which helps it cut through materials easily. A scissors with normal blades that are not serrated might slip off and present some difficulty when you are attempting to cut through clothing, but the serrated blades of these scissors help to grip the material, positioning the scissors for smooth cut through. The tip of the metal blade is blunt, flat, and wide.

This ensures that the matter of safety while using the scissors is taken care of because it enables the scissors to slide beneath the clothing, on the surface of the injured person’s skin without the fear of nicking them or accidentally causing them any further injuries. This will also enable the paramedic to work easily and fast, cutting off the clothing quickly and efficiently.

In case of an emergency, for example, a car accident where the seat belt of the person looking to be rescued is stuck, the trauma shears can also cut through tougher materials and not just light clothing.

With these scissors, you can cut through a car's seat belt easily and remove the injured person. If the person is putting on clothing with tough materials such as jeans, thick denim jackets, coats, or even if they have on shoes and boots and need to be cut off, the paramedic can also do that using the trauma shears. Suppose a thin metal, small twig, or other hard surfaces obstruct a paramedic from accessing an injured person to administer emergency care. In that case, they can also cut through them with the trauma shears.

The decision to use the trauma shears to cut off clothing or any other form of obstruction from an injured person is influenced by the extent of the injury the person involved is suspected of having. If removing clothing normally from an injured person's body seems like what would result in further injury or worsen the person’s discomfort, then the trauma shears would be used to cut off the clothing. For example, suppose someone was involved in an accident with a vehicle or sustained a gunshot wound on any part of their body or even a broken bone, and you try removing their clothing by pulling it above their head normally or even pulling it down their legs or hands. In that case, it may result in further injury. So, in this case, cutting the clothing off with the trauma scissors would be very advisable. Likewise, if someone suffers from a stab wound or was impaled by an object, sections of clothing around the wound site should also be cut away using the trauma shears, but the object that impaled the person should be removed only by a doctor.

The shears are small, made up of common materials, so they can be kept in bags, pants, shirts, scrub pockets, or coats. While many EMTs are on duty, they put on pants that have straps on both sides. These straps allow them to carry one of the most important medical equipment that EMTs, paramedics, and nurses in the emergency rooms make use of: the trauma scissors. It also allows them to access it easily.


Trauma shears are a very important part of any first aid kit. As a paramedic, you would need them if you need to cut off clothing as you would want to accomplish that easily and as quickly as possible. Although the shears are very useful, they are made to be used externally only. So they are not suitable for surgical procedures. Others such as soldiers, divers, fishermen, and even rock climbers now fancy the trauma shears as it can easily help them get out of an entanglement.

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