IFAK’s, Blow Out Kits, and home made first aid kits

I was speaking with Mike the Medic last night, going over some new developments with first aid kits. Most of us have seen the military First Aid Kits, and the Improved First Aid Kits (IFAK) that are out there. Various models of these have been used for many years, and within the last decade or so we’ve seen the common addition of some kind of clotting agent in these kits. From Celox to QuikClot to Hemcon, they all have pluses and minuses to consider, but they’re all available on the open market. I’m not a medic, so if you’re going to add some kind of a “more extreme case” first aid kit, please check with your doctor, or a medical professional on these items. But even though I’m not a medic, I still have a halfway decent grasp on what needs to be done in trauma cases, and it’s a subject that’s always interested me.

Anyway, back to the subject matter – after attending SHOT 2010 (the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoors Trade show), one of the things I noticed was the proliferation of what amounts to IFAKS for the civilian market. Targeted towards hunters, shooters and general outdoors enthusiasts, many of the companies make several variations of the kits.

“From Mild to Wild” you might say. From basic first aid supplies, all the way up to including Asherman Chest Seals for Pneumothorax cases.

A standard packaging that all the companies use is the basic vacuum sealed mylar bag. If you’ve got your own heat sealer/vacuum, why not make your own first aid kit packs? You’ll save quite a bit of money buying the supplies in bulk, even with using the high end supplies. You’ll be able to tailor the kit to your exact needs, and it’s easy to design and build upgrade “modules” too. Design, bag the kit, label them, date them, and slice a notch in an edge to make it easy to tear open – and you’re that much more prepared.

Here’s a listing of what’s commonly found in two different issue IFAK’s:

Army IFAK

Army IFAK

Army version: (one of them, at the least)
Tourniquet, Combat Application – 1
Bandage Kit, Elastic – 1
Bandage GA4-1/2” 100’s – 1
Adhesive Tape Surg 2” – 1
Airway, Nasopharyngeal – 1
Glove, Patient Exam 100’s – 4
Dressing, Combat Gauze – 1

USMC version (has a couple of components):

Minor First Aid Kit:

* Adhesive Bandage, 2″ X 4.5″ – 5
* Adhesive Bandage, ¾” x 3″ – 10
* Triangular Bandages 40″ x 40″ x 56″ – 1
* Dressing, Burn 4″ x 16″ (1 EA)
* Povidone-Iodine Topical Solution. USP. 10% 1/2 Fl. Oz. – 1
* Iodine Water Purification Tablet 8 mg – 1

Trauma Kit (vacuum sealed kit):

* Elastic Bandage – 2
* Gauze Bandage – 2 Rolls
* One Handed Tourni-Kwik Tourniquet – 1
* Wound Pack (QuikClot) – 1

One other tip I’ll mention – instead of having all of those components floating around loosely in a bag, organize them on a single sheet of material with a tab, so you can yank out the entire mess at once (and not have it go ballistic on you just when you really need it organized and available).

-Greg

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