Saturday, April 13, 2013

A medical kit..... it's a needful thing. Build one NOW!


Some time ago, Carteach posted about building a Med-Kit for range (and general life) use. Some good folks chimed in with a lot of great suggestions, all of which were taken into account.

Given the unstable times we seem to be engulfed in, some simple provisions for first aid and trauma care seem to be in order.  Because... life happens, and the universe doesn't care if you get a booboo.  Sometimes it's just you, the injured person (maybe you as well!) and whatever gear you were smart enough to bring.

The idea behind the emergency medical kit is to have some useful, and perhaps life saving, items on hand in the event it all goes pear shaped. In addition, there are some things that are just handy to have around in a known location. One major premise of the Carteach0 Med-kit™ is the Fat Guy has some idea what to do with the stuff in it. Thus we'll not see any rib spreaders, MRI machines, or cranial inversion rectabulators.

Putting together the kit (So far) I relied heavily on for items not already in stock here at Castle Carteach. That said, it was quite surprising how much was already at hand when I really started adding it up. Between house, vehicle, workshop, and tool boxes.... more than half the contents were right at the fingertips. Having them all in one spot, however, is a satisfying and reassuring sight.
A nice feature of building this kit.... as I ordered in supplies and compiled what was already on hand, eventually enough was piled up to make not one, but two first aid medical kits. One (this one) now resides in the trunk of my vehicle along with some other handy gear. The other is prominently on the shelf in our home's bathroom closet in a clearly marked metal first aid box.

Any parties that might have a need to know have been informed where they are, what they look like, and how to get to them. This includes coworkers, neighbors, and everyone in the household.
So, what have we so far?

I'll go over each item, with what rational it has for being in this kit, and supply links as I can. Wherever it makes sense, items or multiple items are in zip lock bags. Not only does this keep them clean, but it groups things together that are used together. Thus, a bag of tools... a bag of gauze pads (with alcohol wipes), a bag of medicines, etc.
The Utility shoulder bag itself was bought on Amazon, as a dedicated medical kit bag. It has features that suit it's use in The Fat Mans hands, but such is a matter of choice. No, it's not an official U.S. Armed forces OD Trifold Medical Bag ... but then again I am not an official U.S. Armed Forces trained medic. What it does have is a decent size, a good carrying strap that I can tuck away, and multiple zippered pockets for splitting up the contents in a sensible way. 

One thing not in this bag, and needs to be on scene if at all possible.... and that's training. It should go without saying, get any and all the quality training you can.  Start with the Red Cross in your area, and move up from there.

So.... what's in the bag?

Sunscreen, for obvious reasons. This kit is more than just a blowout trauma bag.... it's needful things for daily health on the job, at the range, and life in general.

Insect Repellent, 100% deet ... the best Carteach has ever used. I've hunted in South Carolina where mosquitoes move in roving hunter packs that look like something from an Aliens movie. I've seen that wall 'o death come within range of the DEET I'd sprayed on myself and saw it stop dead. I litterally had to brush the bug wall aside to see the bean field I was watching for deer.

Sterile eye wash, because I've had crap in my eyes, and gotten crap out of other peoples eyes

Israeli Battle Dressing ... Because bad things happen, and these are built to help with really bad things. The six inch bandage is all alone in one outside zippered compartment. The four inch one is in it's own zippered pocket with two pair of nitrile gloves and a stack of alcohol wipes... a major blowout kit all in one pocket on the very top of the bag.

A disposable plastic rain poncho... because it's small, cheap, and sometimes you want to keep the rain off something, like maybe yourself.

Bandana... a great big black bandana... because it's hard to find a handier chunk of cloth anyplace. For a man who was raised to farm life as a boy, a good bandana is gold.

Tampons... because they fill up bullet holes and soak up blood. It's a nasty thought, but its what they are designed to do. Also, they are cheap. Also... well... there are times when a man can be a discreet hero to someone in need. 'Nuf said.

Mini-screwdriver.... As a lifetime mechanic, Carteach can say without reservation, there are few tools as utterly needful as a pocket screwdriver. It's uses are beyond measure.

LED flashlight because bad stuff happens in the dark too. This one is a backup, as just about anyplace this kit might find itself already has a flashlight stashed there.

Sharpie.... because things need to be written down sometimes, and in an emergency you don't want to screw around trying to find something to do it with, nor find it won't write where you need it to write. The human body is a fine place to take notes in an emergency... and few things write on it as well as a sharpie.

Kershaw Serrated Knife .... because.... KNIFE! What has man ever invented more useful than a small razor sharp pocket knife? It's the assisted opening model because sometimes you only have one hand to work with. In this kit, the knife is stored under an elastic strap on the outside of the bag. It's probably the most useful tool in the kit, so it should be right there at hand.

Blue Nitrile Gloves .... because wearing them while around other peoples blood is a pretty damn good idea. Not all nasties come with a big sign saying 'don't touch', and helping wounded people can carry a terrible price if you are not careful. Besides, ones own hands are generally chock full of incredibly nasty infectious stuff, and shouldn't be just plunked into another persons wounds. That would be rude!

Alcohol Swabs ..... germs is bad. Killing germs is good. Alcohol wipes do a good job of that, and are cheap as heck too. One can't have too many on hand. In this kit, they are divided into various compartments and bags for various reasons, with a main supply too. Reaching for the band-aids, gauze pads, tools, or trauma bandages will also find alcohol wipes at hand.

6 Hour Power Energy Drink .... because I had them... and can see a reason to use them sometime. Now, to be clear, Carteach doesn't suck down these energy drinks. In fact, I've never even had one. That said, a quick shot of B's, sugar, and caffeine may have their place in this kit.

Aspirin.... because it works, and is generally safe for most people to take, and it's such a simple compound that it stays stable for years and years in a medical kit.

Cortisone.... for skin abrasions and oopsie bumps that sting. Simple stuff that my mom used because it works.

Bacitracin First aid Antibiotic Ointment ... for cuts, small wounds, and any place an antibiotic cream is useful while dressing wounds. I've used this stuff for years, and every time a doctor talks to me about keeping some wound or other dressed, it comes up again. Now, I've got some fairly strong prescription grade stuff on hand too, but I'd hesitate using it on somebody I didn't know real, real well.

Burn Gel... Because burns happen. Cortizone helps, but burn Gel works better for actual burns.

Benadryl.... in Gel's. The un-dyed kind, because some folks react to the dye in unhappy ways. Benadryl is about as well known as it gets for allergy meds, and the gel pills are the fastest way to get it in a person besides the liquid. The liquid is great to keep at home, but in a traveling medical kit that may get knocked around... not so much.

'Wet Ones' wipes... because people just get dirty sometimes.

Duct tape.... If you need to ask why this is included, well, there is no hope.

Surgical Scissors... Just in case. I'm no surgeon, but over the years I've had to cut things on people (including myself) that were not fun, nor funny.

Forceps, Curved 8" and Straight 8".... a few kinds. Short, long, straight and crooked. Just because.

Razor blades.... the disposable kind, at least a dozen. Cheap, handy, sharp as a ... well..... razor.

Butane lighter.... because fire is good, useful, and our birthright as humankind. Sometimes you just need fire, and you can never have too many lighters around.

Tweezers.... for splinters. Carteach especially seems able to call into existence small slivers of wood and metal where none existed before, and is forever picking small things out of his flesh.

Trauma Shears .... to cut off clothing, straps, what have you. It's hard to dress a wound without exposing it first, and sometimes the best and safest way is to cut the material.  These things are incredibly useful, and multiple units should be owned.

Instant ice pack.... because I had one, and they are real handy for light sprains and bruises.

Steri strips.... Over the years, The Fat Man has had a few moron moments, and now has the scars to show for it. Many, many, MANY is the time where Steri strips held my flesh together while it healed. I may not know how to stitch up a wound, but I can steri strip it shut just fine!

2x2 Sterile gauze sponges.... Wounds
4x4 sterile gauze sponges.... Wounds
3 rolls sterile gauze wrap.... Wounds. Been there, done that. Man, woman, child, and dog.

Band Aids.... Because OOOPS.

Fingertip Bandages and Knuckle Bandages.... Because I had them all, and each area can be a 'pain' to bandage.

Compress Bandage.... Because they are handy when breaking open the expensive high tech Israeli bandages is not called for.

Triangular Bandage... Sometimes limbs need to be wrapped up, and arms slung.

1/2" and 1" medical tape.... to hold things together, like gauze wraps and pads.

Okay..... that is it so far. The whole kit and Caboodle fits nicely in the bag, and occupies a small corner in the trunk of my car. It weighs surprsingly little, and most people would have no issue hanging it over their shoulder and carrying it all day. A muted color Red Cross first aid patch has been velcro'ed to the front flap so people can instantly know what this bag is for.

Do YOU have a good first aid kit prepared and on hand? 

Thoughts? Issues? Suggestions? Rants? Barbed daggers of hate? Attaboys? Let's hear what everyone thinks!


Anonymous said...

Um....ok one atta boy headed your way! Your blog is one of the first sites I check every morning as my coffee is perking (yes, perking....the only way to make coffee!)

I have been wanting to put together a trauma bag to go with my get home bag....your list looks like a very good start to that...thank you!

Anonymous said...

I would also add several safety pins. They can be used for lot's of different things; multi-purpose.

John in Alaska

Anonymous said...

Glad Wrap (I think you call it Saran Wrap over there) for sucking wounds or for where gut etc is exposed and dry bandages would dry out the gut and mortify it.
Good article on a good blog by the way.


TommyG said...

I keep either nuun or endurolytes in mine . Both are electrolyte replenishment products. Of course you need water to go with them but I'm sure that is one of the handy items in your trunk.

treefroggy said...

Roll of Vet Tape ( Tractor Supply or local Farm Supply ) Better than medical tape for holding gauze in place. It can also be used to wrap a sprain and strong enough to make a temporary sling.

Also like the idea of the energy drink potentially for someone with low blood sugar. Probably don't need the caffeine though. Maybe GlucoTabs instead.

Bradley said...

needs some superglue, it works for closing small cuts, works better then bandaids. it can sting but still works, as a quick scab, it wills stop bleeding.

Anonymous said...

Celox or Quik-clot to stop leaks fast.

Celox is approved for people on blood-thinners like coumadin, although either would probably work.

Carteach said...

Safety pins.... good idea. Doing that now.

Saran wrap..... I understand the reason you suggest it, and it's valid. The disposable poncho fills that roll, along with the duct tape. Remember though, I am NOT a medic. If it ever gets that deep, it's going to be a world of hurt no matter what.

Water.... always in the car someplace. Given our home water softener, we use a lot of bottled water, even with the purifier pitcher we use. When I buy water, a case gets left in the car.

Vet tape.... good suggestion. I think that roll is filled by the duct tape. As a mechanic I have wrapped a bunch of wounds up with duct tape. We are old friends.

Super glue..... Good suggestion!

Quik-clot...... forgot about that, and thanks for suggesting it. Ordering some now.

Old NFO said...

Good one, I carry a full up jump bag, but remember to rotate your stocks of perishables... I also have bite sticks and Ipecac in mine in case somebody swallows something they shouldn't.

Anonymous said...

A note on tampons: think about what you would do with them. Tampons are really good at absorbing fluids, but usually, one does not want to just prevent a mess; one wants to stop the bleeding. A pressure dressing gets that started, but ultimately you want clotting - and the surface of a tampon is not good at encouraging that.

Mick said...

As to the Saran wrap: also good for a sucking chest wound cover, though a flutter valve would be preferred. Add a well-read, up-to-date first aid manual so one is not learning "on the fly"; many will cover penetrating wounds, such as those the folks on the ground in Boston had this past week. Something to use as a splint, cuch as rolling a magazine around a wrist or ankle then wrapping would be useful. I'm an ER RN with a bit of 1st hand experience as an EMT for 9 yrs. Again, there's the range bag kit, then the bigger kit. Hope the big kit only needs restocked for outdates!

oldsailor said...

Second on the wet wrap. Does same job as Kerlix or Coban for half the price and sticks to itself instead of your skin. Doubles as ace bandage or medical tape for splints.

Spare flashlight and batteries.

Second lighter.