A trauma medical kit (aka IFAK or blowout kit) is an essential component of your survival gear. Whether it’s just heading off the beaten track or a full scale ‘apocalypse’ situation, you should never be without one. This barebones kit is designed to cover anything from small cuts to major traumatic injuries. You should have the following core essentials inside:
- Medic Pouch – I’d recommend an army style medic pouch to put everything in; IFAK’s are usually too small. The Condor EMT Rip-away Pouch is a good starter.
- Trauma Shears – Get a pair of good quality ones as the cheap ones won’t be able to cope with heavier materials and zippers. They’re often advertised as “EMT Shears”
- CPR Faceshield – For the mouth to mouth resuscitation as a protective barrier
- Disposable Examination Gloves – Preferably nitrile even though they are more expensive due to some casualties being allergic to latex; it’s a good idea to have two pairs in this kit.
- CAT, SWAT-T or TK4 Tourniquet – Varying prices, a TK-4 will do the job if budget is a problem
- OPA’s – Oropharyngeal airways for maintaining clear airways of unconscious casualties; carry various sizes; there are several cons with using OPA’s so you may want to opt for the nasal alternative called the NPA
- Israeli Bandage – This stuff is excellent at absorbing blood from gunshot wounds and hemorrhaging; can be used as a makeshift tourniquet as a last resort
- Triangular Bandage – Slings for broken limbs; also can be used for stopping bleeding
- QuikClot Trauma Pack – This includes QuikClot Clotting Gauze as well as assorted gauze, duct tape and PPE for first response
- Medical Tape Roll – Multiples uses including securing gauze pads and chest seal; can be used in lieu of butterfly sutures in a pinch
- Gauze Pads – You can never have enough gauze on hand – especially in an instance where a casualty is bleeding out
- Chest Seal – For dealing with sucking chest wounds; this can be a sterile plastic sheet or bag
Oh and don’t just think you’re all set with a fully-equipped trauma kit. It is pretty much useless if you don’t know how to use what’s inside it. Do you know how to perform CPR? Properly treat major bleeding? What about a severed limb? A sucking chest wound? Maintain someone’s airway? I recommend that you do at least a basic first aid or emergency life support course through providers such as St John Ambulance and the Red Cross.