5 Great Watches for EMTs and Firefighters

The 5 best watches for EMTs and firefighters…written by EMTs and firefighters

As an EMT, paramedic or firefighter your main role is to rescue or offer healthcare to the sick and injured in an emergency setting. But to provide quick and competent care, there are several medical supplies you can’t do without- trauma shears, stethoscopes, watches and more. So, what makes a good watch for EMTs and firefighters?

Sadly, there’s one piece of gear that is often overlooked even though it’s just as important: a wrist watch. A proper EMT watch will enable you to record a patient’s vitals, administer medication correctly and obviously, keep track of time.

However, since you’ll mainly use this watch in the field, it should be sturdy enough to withstand the outdoor elements. In this article, we explain what other features you should look for when buying a watch and the best models to choose.

What type of watch should I buy?

This is not the typical watch you’ll find in a store or jewelry shop. Instead, this timepiece is equipped with features that make it 1) useful for EMT/fire/rescue work and 2) capable of withstanding the outdoor elements.

These features include a sturdy build, pulse-counting aid, military-style clock format, lightweight design and reminders or beeps to remind patients to take their medication.

Who Should Buy an EMT Watch?

While these watches are mainly tailored for EMS and public safety work, just about anyone who works in the health sector will find these timepieces beneficial. These are particularly useful for personnel who work in outdoor settings; firefighters, paramedics, field nurses among others.

Why You Should Buy a Watch for EMTs and Firefighters?

One of the things you’ll be able to do with an EMT watch is track and record a patient’s vitals. Even if you don’t have the right medical equipment at the emergency scene, such a specialized watch can be used to measure the victim’s breathing rate and pulse rate.

Being able to measure these health metrics is vital for several reasons. One, it sheds light on the patient’s present health status, and this helps you to make better judgement on the kind of treatment to offer. Secondly, it makes it easy to establish any health irregularities.

Another reason why EMT watches are worth the investment is because they facilitate timely administration of medication. Some medications should only be administered at specific times or when the patient is stable.

With an EMT watch, you’ll be able to administer the medicine at the correct time. Plus, it will be easier to track how fast or slowly the administration of the drug is occurring. If this process is not happening at the right pace, this could cause more complications and health risks.

Lastly, EMT watches are essential for documentation purposes. As a first responder, one of the most important things you’re required to do is take note of the specific date and time when various treatments, assessments and tests are carried out.

This way, the physicians who continue offering healthcare services to the patients can determine whether the victim’s health is progressing or deteriorating.

How to Choose a Good Watch

Purpose

For any firefighter or paramedic, one question that lingers in their mind is: How difficult can it be to find a watch suitable for my job?

With only about 1.2 billion watches produced every year by major watchmaking companies, the choice must be simple, right? Well, probably not. Finding the perfect timepiece is anything but.

Some watches have digital movements, others mechanical movements, yet others have hybrid mechanisms. Similarly, some have digital displays and others have analog or digital/analog.

All these factors can make picking the right one quite difficult. Thus, the ideal starting point is to consider what you want to get out of the watch. Do you want one that can tell time and show direction as well? What about a smartwatch that you sync with your phone to receive reminders and medical alerts?

In a nutshell, the best place to start is to consider your lifestyle and needs. Let’s take a look at other features that make watches suitable for EMTs.

Time Format

The ideal watch for a firefighter or paramedic is one that shows time in military format using the 24-hour system. In this case, the day begins at 0 hours and ends at 24 hours. For instance, 6 in the morning is displayed as 0600 while in the evening it’s displayed as 1800 hours.

This way of telling time is easier compared to the 12-hour clock system that starts all over again at midday. It eliminates the confusion brought by AM and PM.

Size and Weight

You’ll probably be working for several hours at a time, so your watch should provide a good balance of weight and size.

The rule of thumb is to pick one of a moderate size. This way, you’re certain that it won’t be too heavy that it gets in the way of your work. And, it won’t be too light either that it becomes incapable of withstanding severe outdoor elements.

Watch Strap Materials

The kind of strap used to make the watch plays an important role in your purchase decision. Here, you should look for two things: quality/durability and ease of cleaning.

Metal watch bands

This is the most common type of strap, and for good reason. It’s highly-durable, which means it can hold up to environmental elements, and it’s affordable. 

The majority of metal straps are made of stainless steel although some manufacturers also use titanium, tungsten, gold or platinum. All these materials are sturdy and durable; hence, deciding what to go for boils down to your personal preferences.

Stainless steel is the toughest material although it’s also the heaviest. Titanium and tungsten don’t weigh as much as stainless steel, which makes them a better choice for EMTs and paramedics. This is because they won’t have to haul around heavy timepieces on their wrists.

Gold and aluminum offer the same level of durability as the other three. The only problem is that they’re too expensive, which is why they’re often reserved for luxury category of watches.

When it comes to maintenance, it’s fairly easy to clean metallic watches. All you need to do is wipe the straps with a damp cloth then dry them. If you’d been wearing your watch while swimming, be sure to rinse off any grains of salt that could have accumulated on it.

You can also invest in a polishing product to keep the watch band looking shiny and new, but be careful not to buy products that will damage the finish.

If you’re not sure of the products to buy, allow the scratches to accumulate naturally. Then, at the appropriate time, take your timepiece to a watch repair center and have it polished by a professional.

Rubber watch bands

I agree that rubber watch straps aren’t the prettiest thing on Earth, which makes them a poor choice for the style-conscious individuals. But, if you’re not too keen on fashion and care more about the functionality of your timepiece- it’s not a bad choice.

After all, they still offer several advantages. For one, they’re incredibly light. As a matter of fact, you’ll barely notice that you’re wearing a watch. So, if you find a metallic watch too heavy for your liking, a rubber watch band is your best bet.

Another aspect where rubber watch straps shine is in water resistance. While their metallic counterparts are prone to rusting upon contact with moisture or water, these ones are completely waterproof.

Thanks to this feature, you’ll be able to wear it to any emergency setting, even if that means getting into water. Also, considering how labor-intensive an EMT or fire job can get, the water-resistance helps to wick sweat from your wrists; hence, keep the watch securely in place.

For proper care, you’ll want to rinse your rubber band with water before drying it with a soft piece of fabric.

Water Resistance

Like other medical professionals, you’re probably have to wash your hands multiple times during the day. If you don’t want to be forced to remove your watch every time you’re washing your hands, look for a waterproof watch.

More importantly, check the water resistance rating of the timepiece. The higher the rating, the more depth of water it can withstand without getting damaged.

Second Hand or No Second Hand?

In the event of a medical emergency, the EMT workers have to check the vitals of the victims. To achieve this, they need to count using seconds. Unfortunately, conventional watches only have minute and hour hands.

Conversely, watches designed for EMTs and health personnel incorporate second hand to facilitate this task.

Top 5 Watches for EMTs

#1 Our Pick: Casio G-Shock GA-100

G-Shocks have always earned a reputation of being the toughest watches on the market, and their Casio G-Shock Men's Big Combi Military Series Watch, Black, One Size series is no exception.

In fact, this line of watches has always been tailored for military applications. So if it’s good enough for a battle field, I’m certain that it’s a fantastic choice for EMT work.

Straight out of the box, this watch has a very classy design. The matte black body gives it a serious, but also, chic look. And the good thing is that black matches well with any apparels, making it ideal for the fashion-savvy EMTs.

Casio G-Shock Men's Big Combi Military Series Watch, Black, One Size
  • DETAILS: Stopwatch, Countdown timer, Full auto-calendar (Battery: CR1220) / Resin watch band with metal buckle closure. Features both analog and digital movement. World Time in 29 times zones, 48 cities + UTC, daylight saving on/off, home city/world time swapping. Water resistant up to 200 meters.
  • G-Shock is a line of watches manufactured by Casio, designed to resist mechanical shock and vibration. Its full form is Gravitational Shock. Shock Resistant.
  • They are designed for all but primarily for sports, military and outdoors-oriented activities; nearly all G-shocks are digital or a combination of analog and digital and have a stopwatch feature, countdown timer, electroluminescent backlight, and water resistance.
  • G-Shock is, designed to resist mechanical shock and vibration. Its full form is Gravitational Shock. The ultimate tough watch. Guided by a "Triple 10" development concept, the design teams sought a watch with 10-meter free-fall endurance, 10-bar water resistance, and a 10-year battery life.
  • GREAT LOOK: Men, women, young, old, teens or tweens can rock this watch! Grab for the day, work, traveling, shopping, hanging out, walking or just to relax in. Pair it with any type of outfit from casual to sporty and everywhere in between.

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Measuring 50mm in size, the GA 100 is no small watch. However, it’s not overly big that it interferes with your work. Besides, it weighs only 70g, which is much lighter than some 40mm watches that tip the scales at 200g+.

For durability, Casio has encased the glass section with a urethane bezel. This layer is responsible for absorbing all the external impact; hence preventing the glass from breaking. It’s complemented by a shock-resistant case, making it the watch perfect for field work.

Another aspect that makes the GA 100 ideal for EMT work is its easy readability. The manufacturer incorporated both an analog and digital display to offer versatility. Thanks to the dark background that contrasts nicely with the white hands, the analog display is a breeze to use.

Unfortunately, the digital display is not Casio’s best work as the reflective crystal minimizes its readability in an outdoor setting. On the plus side, the digital watch uses a 24-hour format, which is perfect for medical work.

Pros

●      Includes an analog and digital display

●      Water-resistant up to 660 feet

●      It’s also shock and magnetic-resistant

Cons

●      The LED light’s brightness can be improved to enhance readability outdoors

#2 Our Runner-up: Timex Men’s Expedition Gallatin

If you prefer a simpler and more affordable option, the Timex Men's TW4B03500 Expedition Gallatin Black/Blue Nylon Slip-Thru Strap Watchis as good as it can get for an EMT watch. It boasts a rugged and durable design, enabling it to hold up well to outdoor use.

One thing that contributes to its durability is its waterproofness. Though it’s water resistance rating is lower than that of our top pick, it’s sufficient to withstand beach, pool and heavy rain water.

Sale
Timex Men's TW4B03500 Expedition Gallatin Black/Blue Nylon Slip-Thru Strap Watch
  • Adjustable black 22mm nylon double-layer strap fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
  • Black dial with date window at 3 o'clock; full Arabic numerals
  • Black 44mm resin case with acrylic lens
  • Indiglo light-up watch dial; luminous hands
  • Water resistant to 50m (165 ft): In general, suitable for short periods of recreational swimming, but not diving or snorkeling

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Timex Expedition features a basic analog design. It has the second, minute and hour hands, which help you tell time in the traditional way.

The face is imprinted with Arabic numerals, alongside a wind-up button that is attached to the 15-minute mark. This makes it easy to adjust the daylight savings time or when you have to travel to a different time zone.

However, the primary highlight of this watch is the indiglo night-light feature. This constitutes an electroluminescent panel that illuminates numbers and dials anytime you’re in a low-light setting.

Another noteworthy feature is its nylon band. It feels pretty comfortable and it does not cause any skin irritation. Better yet, it fits snugly on any wrist that measures up to 8” all-round. We also like its slip-through design that enables EMTs to fasten/unfasten it within a very short time.

Furthermore, the Timex Expedition is one of the lightest watches in our review. Weighing just slightly over 42 grams, this watch will never get in the way of your job.

Pros

●      Easy to fasten and remove

●      Water-resistance capability

●      Reasonable pricing

●      Perfect for poorly-lit settings

Cons

●      Not suited for those who want advanced features

#3 Speidel Women’s Watch for Medical Professionals

If you’re looking for a timepiece that offers a little more than time-telling capability, the Speidel Women’s Navy Blue Scrub Petite Watch for Medical Professionals Easy to Read Small Face, Luminous Hands, Silicone Band, Second Hand, Military Time for Nurses, Students in Scrub Matching Colors is your best bet. Equipped with handy features, this is the quintessential watch for EMTs and any other medical professional.

The first thing you’ll notice about this model is its stylish design. It boasts legible markings and colored-hands that contrast each other beautifully. The highly visible red second hand not only tells time but it also enables you to record accurate pulse readings.

Speidel Women’s Navy Blue Scrub Petite Watch for Medical Professionals Easy to Read Small Face, Luminous Hands, Silicone Band, Second Hand, Military Time for Nurses, Students in Scrub Matching Colors
  • PETITE SIZE: Even with it’s Smaller 28mm Stainless Steel Case the Scrub Petite is Just as Easy to Read as the Original Speidel Scrub Watch. (10mm difference in case diameter).
  • PERFECT FOR NURSES: Reliable 3-Hand Japanese Quartz Movement Featuring a White Dial with 12 & 24 Hour Markers, Luminous Hour & Minute Hands that Glow in the Dark and a Highly Visible Red Second Hand that Makes Taking Accurate Pulse Readings a Breeze
  • DURABILITY & COMFORT: Easy to Clean Super Soft 100% Silicone Band, Stainless Steel Case and Water Resistant Up To 50M(160ft) Rated for Hand Washing, Showering and Swimming
  • MULTIPLE COLOR OPTIONS: Available in a Variety of Scrub Matching Silicone Band Colors - Pink, Light Pink, Black, White, Teal, Blue and Navy Blue
  • 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE: We are sure that you are going to love your new Speidel Scrub Petite Watch, but if for some reason you are not satisfied within 30 days of purchase, we will send you your choice of a 100% refund or replacement. Additionally, you will also receive our 2 year manufacturer's warranty. Please feel free to contact us with any issues that you may have and we will make it right.

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Backed by a 2-year warranty, this watch provides ultimate comfort and durability. It comes with a silicone strap, which feels soft and comfortable on your skin.

More importantly, it’s water resistant up to160 feet. This means you can work in the rain and even shower in it without worrying about damaging it.

Speidel Watch measures 28 mm and features both 12 and 24-hour clock formats. Both of these aspects add to the long list of features that make it suitable for EMTs.

Pros

●      Available in a dozen different colors

●      Shows time using 12 and 24-hour clock formats

●      Stainless steel case and silicone band enhance comfort and durability

Cons

●      The hands are not luminescent as advertised

#4 Seiko Diver’s Automatic Deep Blue Dial

As an EMT, convenience is a crucial factor when you’re shopping for gadgets, and more so when it comes to watches. The Seiko Divers Automatic Deep Blue Dial Mens Watch SKX009K1 is one of the few watches with automatic movements, making it one of the easiest units to use.

Instead of relying on batteries, this watch employs a simple spring mechanism to move the hands. The benefit of this is that you don’t have to worry about replacing the battery or the likely problems that come with it.

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When it comes to size, this watch has a diameter of 42 mm and a thickness of 13 mm. Based on these figures, it’s evident that the Seiko is not an ultra-slim watch. It’s also not the lightest either as it weighs about 9.6 ounces.

But if you can get past the size and weight, this watch has so much more to offer. For instance, it has among the best water-resistance ratings of 200 meters. This means that you can comfortably dive to depths of more than 50 meters for an extensive period, if the need arises.

Another thing we love about this unit is the watch face. It has well-labeled markers that make it very easy to tell time even in the dark. These include large white-colored circular markers, which indicate hours.

You’ll also notice a downward-facing triangle with a syringe extending from its tip. This is so designed to show when it’s 12 o’clock.

Even better, the manufacturer has added a calendar, right next to 3 o’clock button that shows the day and date. This really comes in handy when you need to record the specific date and time when an event occurred.

Pros

●      Boasts automatic movements

●      Rubber band with buckle clasp provides secure fit

●      Water resistance of up to 200 meters

●      Includes a calendar

Cons

●      Expensive

#5 Luminox Men’s 3001 Quartz – Navy Seal Dive Watch

For EMTs who have to constantly work at night or in low-lit conditions, Luminox Men's 3001 Quartz Navy Seal Dive Watch is an excellent option.

The Original Luminox watch was introduced back in the 1990s. Over time, the manufacturer incorporated a ton of technologies, resulting in the durable and highly-reliable timepiece that it is today.

Luminox Men's 3001 Quartz Navy Seal Dive Watch
  • Quartz Movement, Case material: Carbon reinforced PC
  • Case Bezel: Rotating 1-Way Diver, Case Back: Caseback with Screws, Crown: Double-Security Gasket
  • Case diameter: 43 mm
  • Polyurethane case, Black dial, Date function, Strap/Bracelet material Rubber / Silicone / PU
  • Water resistance 200 m / 660 ft / 20 atm

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Its key highlight is the tritium inserts that cause the hour markers and hands to illuminate in pitch-darkness. According to the manufacturer, this illumination mechanism lasts for over 25 years.

Also, this watch is designed with an all-black background that contrasts nicely with the white-colored numerals and dials.

The case has a diameter of 43 mm, a thickness of 12mm, and is constructed using a carbon-reinforced polymer for ultimate strength. This means it will be able to hold up well to the elements you encounter in your line of work.

Pros

●      Sleek all-black design

●      Hour markers and hands glow in utter darkness

●      Reliable Swiss Quartz movement

●      Comfortable and durable watch band

●      Scratch-resistant mineral glass

Cons

●      The watch band is hard to replace due to its size

●      Sapphire crystal glass would have been a better choice for the window

How we Picked and Tested our EMT Watches

Size and Weight

The first two factors we looked at were size and weight. An EMT watch should be of moderate size and weight. This way, it’s not too big or too heavy that it weighs you down as you run your usual errands.

Durability

Given the kind of work and elements that EMTs are exposed to, durability is of utmost importance in  this timepiece.

To evaluate the longevity, we focused on the type and quality of material used to construct the watch case. Incorporating a scratch-proof mineral crystal on the watch face is another feature that we looked for as it also increases durability.

Strap

Here, we looked for watches that had solidly-constructed watch straps. We compared and contrasted canvas, leather and rubber-strapped watches to determine their respective pros and cons. 

Additional Features

Even though these extra features are not mandatory, incorporating some of them eases an EMT’s job. Thus, we also checked which watches had the highest number of relevant features. The key aspects we emphasized were luminosity -which allows you to read the watch in poorly lit areas- and waterproofness.

Conclusion

Emergency medical technicians, paramedics and firefighters have a ton of responsibilities. Often, they’re required to perform an array of medical tasks ranging from recording patients’ health status to the treatments and tests carried out at the initial setting.

For these health personnel to manage all their duties, they need an essential piece of gear: EMT watches. Equipped with exceptional features like pulse-counting assistance and a rugged design that can hold up to field use, these timepieces really come in handy.

If you’re looking to buy an EMT watch, Casio G-Shock Men's Big Combi Military Series Watch, Black, One Size is a reliable option. It’s water-resistant up to 200 meters, has a comfortable watch band, and it includes both a digital and analog display.

Casio G-Shock Men's Big Combi Military Series Watch, Black, One Size
  • DETAILS: Stopwatch, Countdown timer, Full auto-calendar (Battery: CR1220) / Resin watch band with metal buckle closure. Features both analog and digital movement. World Time in 29 times zones, 48 cities + UTC, daylight saving on/off, home city/world time swapping. Water resistant up to 200 meters.
  • G-Shock is a line of watches manufactured by Casio, designed to resist mechanical shock and vibration. Its full form is Gravitational Shock. Shock Resistant.
  • They are designed for all but primarily for sports, military and outdoors-oriented activities; nearly all G-shocks are digital or a combination of analog and digital and have a stopwatch feature, countdown timer, electroluminescent backlight, and water resistance.
  • G-Shock is, designed to resist mechanical shock and vibration. Its full form is Gravitational Shock. The ultimate tough watch. Guided by a "Triple 10" development concept, the design teams sought a watch with 10-meter free-fall endurance, 10-bar water resistance, and a 10-year battery life.
  • GREAT LOOK: Men, women, young, old, teens or tweens can rock this watch! Grab for the day, work, traveling, shopping, hanging out, walking or just to relax in. Pair it with any type of outfit from casual to sporty and everywhere in between.

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API