Whenever possible it's always a good idea to have a cheap first aid kit handy just in case the unthinkable happens and someone gets injured while hunting. I'm certainly no doctor, so my first aid kit is relatively basic and would not be much good in the event of serious injury. But having something is always better than having nothing - even if it is from a first aid kit sale.
A basic first aid kit costs around $50 with more expensive kits costing around $150. I suppose some sort of risk assessment will determine which best suits your needs. A good supply of heavy duty painkillers, several compression bandages and a box of quality band aids are at the top of the list in my individual first aid kit. Variations are usually mission dependent, such as a fishing expedition compared to a full tactical first aid kit for a medic in the field.
When you scald your hand with boiling liquid or burn it with a hot object, your first reaction should be to pull it away. Just because your body is no longer touching the heat source, though, doesn't mean the burning stops. Layers of skin that were just exposed to a high temperature take time to cool down and a lot of harm can still be done to cells by the residual heat. Holding burned skin under a tap or submerging it in a bowl of cool (but not freezing) water reduces the temperature quicker, there by potentially limiting the damage
Getting shot really sucks. About the only thing worse than getting shot is getting shot without having a trauma kit on hand. We've been carrying Dark Angel's Direct Action Response Kit (DARK) for a few years.
The original has served us well, so we were excited to see a slightly more streamlined update. The Gen 4 kit has the same contents as the earlier version — tourniquet (TQ), shears, HALO seal, hemostatic gauze, airway, bandages, gauze, gloves, emergency blanket (for treating shock) — and now includes an eye shield and a quick-reference assessment card along with a newly designed pouch that moves the TQ and shears to the sides for a lower profile on a belt or pack.
COLORS: Black, brown, green, Multicam
When out bush it pays to be prepared and carrying a first aid kit with even "the basics " of content can make all the difference. Pro Tactical offer three cheap first aid kits designed for minor scrapes through to the more serious situations. The first is referred to as the "Baby Camo Kit" and is light and small enough to carry around in a back pack. Its content is suitable for minor wounds, abrasions and sterilizing wounds and you could add your own analgesics for headaches, runny noses and more. Contents include a series of dressings, cleansing wipes, porous tape, tweezers, scissors emergency instructions and more.
Next is their medium "Green Kit". This kit is designed to deal with a host of situations including CPR provision and moderate injuries. In addition to bandages, dressings, bottled alcohol cotton ball with tweezers and the contents of the Baby Camouflage Kit, it also offers bandages, vinyl gloves, Expired Air Resuscitation single-use mask, foil blanket and lots more.
For an on-board kit when out bush and designed for keeping in the vehicle, the "Large Red Kit" will cover most situations up to and including severe bleeding. With a list of contents too large to list, all you need do is add your choice of pain killing medication and it's very comprehensive. Although we all hope the situation never arises for the use of a first aid kit in the field, its good insurance to carry one.
This course had another means to deal with the down time, and for many it was the final reason to commit to taking the course. EAG's Pat Rogers added a Combat Lifesaver module taught by Dr. John Spears. Anyone can carry a tactical first aid kit, but knowing the correct medical procedure to treat a wound is essential.
Doc Spears is a former 18D with 7th Group SF, and is currently an Orthopedic Surgeon. Doc Spears provided a hugely unique in-sight to the Combat Lifesaver module as well as the runs that he supervised and critiqued in the shoot house.
I carry various individual first aid kits (IFAK), trauma kits, and tourniquets on my gear and my person while working. I've had basic exposure to them, but like many have only a vague understanding of how to use some of the equipment inside them.
I'm sure most of us know how to apply a combat dressing from your basic tactical first aid kit as pressure on a wound to stop bleeding. But I'd bet that most folks attending courses like this or reading this don't understand how to recognize and treat trauma conditions such as exsanguination from an extremity wound, tension pneumothorax, or an airway occlusion in the field. From my notes, 15% of those who survive the initial injury event die from those conditions, and they are all potentially survivable!
Doc Spears took something that many of us have had recited to us and, through the use of props, a tactical first aid kit and a commanding and enthusiastic teaching presence, made us understand them.
First aid demos included packing a wound in a bullet channel made through meat packed tightly in an old trouser leg, and using a large rack of ribs to identify the correct location to insert a needle to relieve tension pneumothorax.
As a peace officer, I can see myself having to use some of these techniques on either an ambushed partner or myself. An ambulance is likely a ways out for me, and the scene may not be safe enough for EMS personnel to enter, and I'd be carrying my tactical first aid kit.
I now feel fully confident that I can use all the items in an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) and use the extraction methods taught to us to remove the wounded once fire superiority is obtained.
The Combat Lifesaver Tactical First Aid module helped me improve my gear with inexpensive strapping to aid in extractions, and taught me which IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) items I need and which are fluff.
While there are always some basic medical items that come in a standard tactical first aid kit, often you will need to add or subtract to make them mission-specific.
"A patient with a penetrating chest wall trauma will generally have some degree of tension pneumothorax (air in the pleural space). It's typically slow developing, but can develop rapidly."
There is often confusion between a pneumothorax and the much less common tension pneumothorax. A pneumothorax can certainly occur from a penetrating chest wound. It can also occur from the spontaneous rupture of "bubbles" on the surface of the lung and many other causes. These generally do not require urgent treatment and are often simply observed, even when involving 25% or more of the potential lung volume. This is a common first aid situation seen by combat medics in the field.
People argue over the definition of a tension pneumothorax. A basic description is a pneumothorax with a valve effect. It lets air enter into the pleural space but does not let the air escape this space. This results in the pneumothorax both enlarging and collapsing the lung on the side of the injury, and this over-inflation also pushes the heart and mid-line structures toward the uninjured lung, compressing it and compromising air exchange on the "good side".
Emergency treatment is to vent the injured, pressurized side, which decompresses the healthy lung and restores air exchange. These are relatively rare. In ten years in the emergency department, I needled and released only one dangerous tension pneumothorax. Bill Jeans (Morrigan Consulting) asked me awhile back for advice on an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit). Mine was pretty simple in that you likely don't need gear you or your buddies don't know how to use or gear that you won't have time to use. If you take a chest wound from a shoulder-fired weapon, you had best hope that EMS or a helicopter is nearby. There just isn't much I'll have in my first aid kit that will save your bacon.
I keep some trauma dressings and Israeli battle dressings in my range bag. Likely the most useful things I have are a cell phone and a card with the GPS co-ordinates for my usual shooting range, so I can give the helicopter a good destination. I have started keeping Celox in the bag, but I haven't seen good studies yet showing that it saves lives. I hear good reports from the sandbox, but that isn't proof. I may throw in a tourniquet, but those aren't hard to improvise.
During training class, I bring a suturing kit, but I sew people up daily and know what I'm doing. I have a "pocket airway" but don't bring ET tubes, etc. in my emergency kit.
Realistically, if there is a training accident, the shooter needs:
For the military or SWAT, there should be EMS/medics readily available and air transport on call. For civilians or LEOs in the field, our first priority should be to end the fight or safely evacuate. If we're lucky, we'll have someone with us to assist. Having first aid supplies in the car would be nice, along with at least basic first aid knowledge.
I am very skeptical that a chest seal, IV catheter, tracheal/esophageal airway, or similar accoutrements would be used appropriately or correctly. I think a lot of this first aid gear is purchased and carried by people who have no real idea of when or how to use it, and I doubt a weekend medical course will help them achieve and maintain the necessary level of skill. There is a reason that EMT and Paramedic courses take so long, and some of these skills are perishable without regular use. Though if you can the equipment you need from a first aid kit sale, it's better than having nothing! Bill England, M.D.
Every family or survival group needs a medic, and at any point in time, he or she may encounter a life-threatening medical emergency.
In normal times, the goal is to get emergency services on the scene and the victim to a modern medical facility as quickly as possible. When trouble hits, however, the family medic becomes the end of the line and must act quickly to prevent a tragedy with their first aid skills.
The classic example of a medical emergency would be when a person collapses. This can happen for various reasons, including life-threatening cardiac events like heart attacks, airway obstructions that prevent air passage, head trauma and even simple fainting episodes.
A heart attack is caused by a blockage in blood flow to a portion of the heart. It's also known as a "myocardial infarction."
A heart attack can be mild or severe, depending on the amount of heart muscle that loses oxygenation. Common symptoms are chest, left arm and jaw pain or tightness, along with shortness of breath and light-headedness.
WHAT TO DO: Immediately have the victim chew an adult aspirin (300mg+) or four baby aspirins (100mg), as well as any cardiac medications like nitroglycerin that they might have stockpiled. Loosen any tight clothing. I always rotate fresh aspirin through my first aid kit.
Place the person in the "W" position, semi-recumbent at about 75 degrees with the knees bent. Keep the victim as calm as possible to decrease further strain on the victim's ailing heart.
If a person collapses and there's no pulse, begin CPR immediately. If you aren't trained in CPR, you should begin chest compressions by placing the heel of your hand, palm down, over the lower half of the breastbone at the level of the nipple. Place your other hand on top and interlace your fingers.
Keeping yourself positioned directly above your hands (arms straight), press downward in such a fashion that the breastbone (also called the sternum) is compressed about 2 inches.
Allow the chest to recoil completely and repeat at a rate of at least 100 per minute. Do this until help arrives or a pulse returns. If you are certified in CPR, add rescue breaths.
From personal experience - it is super important to give the head a FULL TILT BACKWARD to open the airway and also, it is imperitive to give solid - deep compressions. Many victims that survive these events usually end up with severe bruising or even fractured ribs showing compressions were done correctly. In contrast - an "over-compression" can result in a fractured rib piercing a lung...
When a foreign object, usually food, goes down the wrong way, it can cause an airway obstruction. As a result, the victim can't breathe.
The lack of oxygen intake will soon cause unconsciousness and death if rapid action isn't taken. This event is easily identified due to the universal response of becoming agitated and pointing towards or grabbing the throat.
WHAT TO DO: Perform the Heimlich maneuver. Get behind the victim and make a fist with your right hand. Place your fist above the belly button and below the breastbone. Then wrap your left arm around the patient and grasp the fist with your left hand.
Make sure your arms are positioned just below the rib cage. With a forceful upward motion, thrust your fist abruptly into the abdomen.
If your patient loses consciousness and you are unable to dislodge the obstruction. place the victim flat on their back and straddle them across the hips. Open their mouth and make sure that the object can't be removed manually.
If not, give several upward abdominal thrusts with the heels of your palms locked one above the other. Don't be afraid to use some force here. Check the oral cavity again. You may have partially dislodged the foreign object.
A person may collapse as a result of trauma to the skull, causing loss of consciousness. The most common injury, a concussion, occurs when the brain is shaken due to the force of the blow.
A victim of a concussion may appear dazed, behave strangely and may not remember the events immediately prior to the injury. Although you may note a painful bump on the head or bleeding from a scalp laceration, neither is necessary for a head injury to be dangerous.
WHAT TO DO: Stop any bleeding with direct pressure. Apply ice packs for 20 or 30 minutes every two hours to areas of swelling. Give acetaminophen for pain but avoid aspirin or ibuprofen, which can increase the risk of hemorrhage. Obviously this involves having a well stocked first aid kit handy.
Observe the patient closely for 48 hours. Difficulty waking, worsening mental status or headache, vomiting and slurred speech are all signs that might indicate intracranial bleeding. Watch for bruising around the eyes and ears. This may be a sign for a life-threatening skull fracture.
It will be a challenge for a medic to deal with many of these issues in austere settings. With knowledge and supplies, however, many emergencies can be dealt with successfully.
The recovery position requires (1) bracing the victim's head with their arm, (2) rolling them onto their side. (3) making sure their airway is clear while resting their chin on their arm and (4) leaving their leg bent for support.
Activated carbon is found in several filters covered in this guide. This substance, also called activated charcoal, is highly porous and captures trace chemical elements found in water.
This is especially useful for removing off-putting taste and odor, such as the chlorinated taste of tap water. It can also remove traces of other chemicals, heavy metals, and poisons.
As a result, filters or purifiers that address taste and odor typically incorporate an activated carbon component. However - and this is an important point - an activated carbon filter shouldn't be seen as a water purifier by itself.
Activated carbon doesn't treat or remove bacteria, protozoan cysts, or viruses. So, it can't prevent you from getting sick from these contaminants.
For comparison purposes, we reviewed a Brita Sport water bottle that exclusively uses an activated carbon filter.
It may cost only $10, and it can make your water taste better, but it's not going to prevent the devastating health effects of a bacterial infection or waterborne parasite.
Activated carbon filters like this Brita are fine for home use on clean tap water, but they certainly shouldn't be part of your emergency survival kit.