Events of the last seven days have weighed on my heart and I feel the need to talk to you all again about first aid kits and what you need to have with you at all times.
As I watched the incident at the Capitol unfold, I was shocked that NO ONE, not even the police, produced a first aid kit when the woman was shot. A trauma dressing or an occlusive chest dressing may have saved her life, and we will never know. People from both sides of the political spectrum were there and this isn’t a partisan issue.
SAVING HUMAN LIFE IS AN EVERYONE ISSUE.
The preparedness item you will use the most is a first aid kit, and the preparedness skill you will use most is first aid.
First aid is even mentioned in the Ultimate Tactical Handbook:
“He went to him and bandaged his wounds,
Pouring on oil & wine.
Then he put the man on his own donkey,
Brought him to an inn and took care of him.”
No, ladies, wine doesn’t go in your first aid kit. Let’s talk about what does.
Whenever I go anywhere where there will be a large crowd, I carry a Solatac PTK (www.solatac.com) in my cargo pocket or my back pocket. It’s a small but highly effective kit for major trauma, such as gunshot wounds or penetrating injuries, such as those from a car accident.
The kit contains a tourniquet/pressure dressing, a trauma pad, vaseline gauze, some Kerlex gauze for packing wounds, hemostatic agent for stopping bleeding, medical tape, gorilla tape, and gloves. It comes in a resealable plastic bag. It’s very convenient and the business is literally just a husband and wife team.
The only thing I’ve added to my PTK is a set of Hyfin Chest Seals to deal with a sucking chest wound. The directions are printed right on the package, so it’s easy to use. A caution though….never buy just one chest seal, always buy two. Bullets tend to pass completely through and it does you no good to only seal an entry wound, when someone is losing blood and air out the exit wound.
When this isn’t in my pocket, it’s in my laptop bag, along with a package of various band aids and another large trauma pressure dressing.
In the back of my SUV, I keep a large med kit attached to the Velcro seat back, with the unmistakeable red cross on it, in case someone comes across my vehicle and I’m unconscious, they’ll see it. It has a CAT Tourniquet attached.
Here are the contents of this kit:
- Various sized band aids (including knuckle & fingertip)
- CPR mask
- EMT Shears
- Several trauma/ABD pads (4×4 gauze)
- A trauma pressure dressing
- 2 rolls of sterile gauze
- Triple Anti-Biotic
- Medical tape
- Duct tape
- An Ace bandage
- Triangular bandage
- Survival blanket (to prevent shock)
- Nitrile gloves
This is a very comprehensive kit that can treat most injuries you may come across.
Every kit should contain duct tape or Gorilla tape, because they will stick to ANYTHING, even when wet (such as with blood).
I have several more kits with the same contents in various locations.
- My “Get-Home” bag
- My home office
- My “Patrol” bag
- Near the front door (in case something happens in the street out front)
Whenever you use something from the kit, even a band aid, replace it immediately; don’t wait until the item is completely out. If you do that, you’ll have an emergency and be missing what you need.
Training is also important. It is not enough to simply own a first aid kit. You can find low cost first aid training at your local fire department or Red Cross office, or some community education departments.
I do CPR and AED training every time that I can, not merely to stay certified, but because practice and repetition is the key to retention of physical skills.
Practice bandaging wounds. Practice applying a tourniquet; the time to figure it out isn’t after you’ve been cut in the femoral artery.
There are also training resources on the internet, but again PRACTICE the skills. Ordering the Boy Scout First Aid Merit Badge book isn’t a bad idea for a reference either.
Once you’ve learned the basics of applying bandages, start practicing doing it ONE HANDED. You may need to apply a pressure dressing or a tourniquet to YOUR OWN ARM. And, if Murphy shows up, it’ll be your dominant arm. Practice, practice, practice leads to mastery (hat tip to PKSA Karate for that www.pksa.com).
I beg of you, no matter which side you support, carry a first aid kit everywhere you go and learn how to use it.
This very real conversation illustrates my point on carrying first aid gear:
Her: What is that?
Me: My tourniquet.
Her: What do you need a tourniquet for?
Me: In case I get shot. What’s your plan for if you get shot?
Her: I wasn’t planning on getting shot today.
Me: Nobody ever PLANS on getting shot, yet it still happens.
You can’t use things that you don’t have, and your life could very well depend on it.
You can use Health Savings Account funds to buy first aid kits. My two go-to sources for full med kits are:
Bear Independent www.bearindependent.com
Please get trained and please carry a kit, ESPECIALLY if you go to where a lot of people are gathering.