Having taken both EMT-Basic Course, Combat Life Savers Course and spent almost a decade in the military I have carried my share of medical equipment. One of the worst things is having to carry a heavy, awkward and large medical kit attached to your gear, draining your energy; even worse is only having an issued IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) and not having a corpsman/medic or the right supplies to handle most injuries.
I have seen some serious head and limb trauma, shrapnel and gunshot wounds, full body 3rd degree burns and other major and minor injuries, some of which we were medically unprepared for. I got out of the military 4 years ago and, having seen so much trauma, the regret of knowing I could have prevented some of it was more than enough to reinforce in me the habit of being prepared for medical emergencies.
Philosophy of Use (POU):
I guess, my philosophy of use for my Medical/Trauma kit is pretty simple:
Treat common ailments of more than one person and trauma of at least one.
That being said I try to ensure my kit will:
Have many supplies for the common ailments and enough for the less likely trauma. (of course this changes due to situation, in combat I would have had trauma, trauma, trauma).
Be light enough to move fucking fast.
Be big enough to carry enough supplies for the task.
I’d say it’s a damn good idea to only pack what you are sure you know how to use. I have been trained on things that are considered much more advanced training in the “civilian world” like needle decompression for tension pneumothorax (which is why I carry a 14 gauge angiocath). Hopefully you can get training on these types of things but if not I am not advocating the untrained practice of a procedure or use of equipment, however if your going to be in remote areas for long periods of time its better to study now and be very prepared to do what you gotta do, because it’s better than not even knowing what you gotta do. If you are a trained, professional healthcare provider please keep in mind your “scope of practice” and “standard of care” if you don’t want to loose your ability to legally practice or worse: go to jail. Above all use your best judgment.
Personally, in a situation where I was facing certain death because the chance of getting to the hospital within the next few days is zero, I would rather someone risk messing up a procedure they didn’t go to school for than just dying because the person aiding wouldn’t try because they didn’t have “proper” training. If we do not learn to be self-sufficient we will always be dependent on those who can control us.
Note I do not have much in the way of BSI (Body Substance Isolation) in the Trauma kit other nitrite gloves because of what I see as special/seriousness priority. I have face shields, etc. in the Medical Kit that is lower portion of my Condor 3 day assault pack. Here I will only review my Trauma Kit a Condor Ripaway EMT Pouch that I painted in snakeskin cammo so I will be left alone in the woods. 😉
Chem Lights (2)
4” Israeli Bandage (hemorrhage control bandage)
CELOX (15 gram, hemostatic granules)
HALO chest seals (2)
14 gauge angiocath (needle for chest decompression to relieve tension pneumothorax)
SOF Tactical Tourniquet
Gauze bandages (2)
“4×4’s” – Gauze sponge (4×4”) (6)
Non-occlusive wound dressing (6×9”)
Abdominal dressing (8×10”)
Island dressing (4X8”)
Side 2 (zip up pouch):
Isopropyl alcohol pads
Providone-Iodine prep pad
External analgesic packets (burn gel)
Note: I am not done with this trauma kit or my medical kit. Currently I plan on buying a nasopharyngeal (nasal airway), surgilube, another tourniquet. Some of the supplies were bought at Chinook Medical (www.chinookmed.com) and some at random places the key is to do the research/training and know what you need for you situation.