Tactical World - - Contents - By Bob Camp­bell

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.


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.


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


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