THINGS HAPPEN, SO HAVE A MED KIT AND KNOW HOW TO USE IT
Things happen. So have a med kid and know how to use it.
You don’t need to be a first responder to keep a quality trauma kit on hand. Safety is always your No. 1 priority, but things can happen, so you have to be prepared.
You also need a working knowledge of how each piece of gear works and how to utilize it properly. Learn this before something happens. While the term tactical might apply to repairing or patching combat injuries, anything that gives an upper hand in quickly rendering aid to the injured may be considered tactical.
There are many injuries that can put you out of action, and that includes gunshot and knife wounds. In the following story, we’ll discuss the key items you need to know, and we will start with life-threatening dangers.
Trauma is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. Almost half of the deaths that result from gunshots and knife wounds are the result of bleeding. As a peace officer, I have arrived soon after a victim or perpetrator bled out. A person on the scene with Quikclot would make a great difference, so these bandages must be available for a worst-case scenario.
Quikclot, which isn’t expensive and should be in every ready bag, is applied with manual pressure and should promote clotting within minutes of application.
The Quikclot bandage comes in different sizes so they are adaptable to treating a wide range of wounds. Quikclot is impregnated with kaolin, an inorganic mineral proven to accelerate the body’s natural clotting ability. Place this in an outer compartment of your kit where it may be accessed quickly.
Why do we carry an emergency kit? While we may suffer an injury at the hands of another, we may hurt ourselves. Minor cuts and abrasions occur. Animal bites occur; so do insect bites. You’re going to carry your tactical kit into hostile and unknown territory, and it should be separate from what I call the Mother Kit.
The Mother Kit, in my case, weighs about 50 pounds and often rides in my Jeep. I have traveled from Louisiana to the Sonora desert, and it’s comforting knowing the kit is there.
This kit contains several sub kits. While Quikclot is part of each, so are mundane items such as insect bite treatments. Not long ago I personally spent a miserable two days with inflammation as a result of a hornet string. I am not allergic, but this was a large hornet and it really hurt, taking about a cubic millimeter out of my flesh just under the armpit. Fortunately, I had a ready kit with alcohol and a Band Aid. Other emergencies are more serious.
Are you up to suturing a wound? A suture kit is a great addition to the first aid kit, especially if you contemplate danger far from home.
Remember, the kit isn’t just there for your personal use. The family and fellow travelers may need the kit, and everyone traveling in the group should be conversant with its use.
What do you need in the subkits? Let experience be a guide. Have you developed heel blisters on a hike? Or in the sandbox? Have something on hand to assuage this type of nagging injury.
PERSONAL BELT POUCH
You should also consider a sturdy belt pack, which is fine for short journeys. A modern nylon bag should be tearing-, heat- and water-resistant. Do not go cheap. Much of your survival gear will get ruined if it becomes wet so do not take a chance on water damage. The wayfarer’s back pack may be filled with several items but none more important than a first aid kit.
An individual first aid kit (IFAK) is great for most of us and should be carried in the vehicle or on the person when away from home. Something should be carried for burns, cut and bruises. Adhesive bandages of the proper size for small to large cuts are essential. Properly shaped means something that will bend around elbows and knuckles as well as knees, the most commonly injured parts of the body.
Next come the essential creams. You need Neosporin, some type of burn cream, gauze to treat the wound, small scissors and proper bandaging taps. Antiseptic wipes must be on hand to clean the wound before the bandage is applied. Arrange the contents of the bag in the order in which they may be used—with the most serious first.
There is always some pain with an injury. It is important to have on hand pain reliever for the common injuries. Make sure you have aspirin or ibuprofen.
If you have an allergy, be certain that you have the medication on hand for this. Don’t think I am not straying from the tactical angle. I have seen professional security officers waylaid by illness at times when I really could have used some help!
It is also very important to keep the kit stocked. If you rob something from the kit for home use or let someone borrow, replace it ASAP so it’s there when you need it.
A few simple tools are a big help for simple chores. As an example, one of my associates picked up some splinters from a tactical firing course. While everyone had Quikclot, no one had tweezers to pick the splinters out of his hand. A tactical knife isn’t the best tool for this. Take my word for that.
On another occasion, an individual suffered a cartridge case rupture. This isn’t common, but neither is it rare. He was wearing good quality shooting glasses, but we needed tweezers to remove the slivers of brass from his cheeks. Afterward, we applied an antiseptic bandage. Iodine, standard rubbing alcohol and bottles of hand sanitizer are also essential parts of the kit.
Gloves are necessary. While you may not mind bandaging your own kneecap, it is a damn good idea in today’s world to wear gloves when treating another human being. A rule of thumb is that the item you need you will not have, so do not let that happen. Gauze and homeostatic bandages are compact and may be compressed to a surprising degree.
YOU NEVER KNOW
Be certain that you have what you need. Perhaps that fishing kit you always pack in your survival kit isn’t needed in the high desert, and perhaps a knife on your belt is as good as a knife in the bag.
Stack the gear logically, carry what you need and keep the gear secure. You never know when you might need it. TW
“YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A FIRST RESPONDER TO KEEP A QUALITY TRAUMA KIT ON HAND.”