An IFAK Trauma Kit You Will Actually Carry

    Product Links:
    IFAK/Trauma Kit – at Starr & Bullock Hardware

    Back in 2015, in Prepping 101, I covered the subject of a mobile trauma hospital bag. My thought was that once some kind of downturn occurs, emergency medical systems will disappear. I am not talking about a hurricane or earthquake or something. I mean once the money for those services is no longer there. Citizens who are inclined that way are inclined that way. So you might as well plan for it.

    This trip isn’t about that. Because when I did that article, I assumed that I would just keep that on hand for my family and that it was good to have on hand. The problem is that it’s huge, and after being moved from here to there and there to here several times, I put them in storage. One I gave to a friend who is inclined that way, and he brought it to the mess when the building collapsed in Surfside, FL. There was plenty of EMS, so he was called on to use it once, on a dog.

    Since then I tried a smaller backpack version, but I don’t even know where that is right now I just realized. So finally I capitulated that I really need something small, with only essential things.

    This kit is the result. And to start, you should understand that IFAK stands for “Individual First Aid Kit.” There is no official list of what is in an IFAK, even though the term sounds very military. We have even had several writers over the years contribute what they feel needs to go into an IFAK. Mine is missing a couple things, but I’ll explain why.

    I based the kit on a bag specifically made to be carried on top of a backpack, or on a belt. It is well balanced, small and light, so you don’t even know it’s there. Yet you can fit a lot of stuff in it, as you can see in the video.

    In looking around at what is out there, I found some decent kits, but they were always missing something I felt was important. They almost always lack burn specialty items. And most just don’t have enough gauze and bandages. Large bandages are expensive, so to make a kit affordable, you have to compromise. Small stuff also adds to the number that you can advertise as how many different things it contains.

    These pictures are what I settled on. Watch the video to see how it all fits.

    My kit does not contain “blood stop.” This is because most injuries do not happen “clean.” There is usually some dirt or something else nasty that gets into them. Splashing a wound with blood stop immediately is going to trap that nasty stuff in the wound, and it will begin to infect it within a day. You can clean out the blood stop of course, but due to pain concerns, and the risk of starting the bleeding back up, most people aren’t going to want to do that.

    I prefer to include a real, military quality tourniquet, and a lot of wound cleaning supplies. Those iodine and alcohol Qtips i found in China, where we got all of the bandages in this kit as well.

    We make very little of this stuff here, and those that are made for hospital contracts are mostly made in China with english writing on them. Since we are not a medical equipment company, there is no way to get this stuff in bulk that is fresh. All of the stuff in the kit is recent manufacture.

    The other thing I didn’t include was a chest decompression needle. And the reason is that I fell that unless you have recently refreshed your knowledge on how to diagnose a tension pneumothorax, and exactly where and how to insert that needle, you are just going to poke a hole in friend for no reason. The needles are generally on Ebay if you feel so inclined, and I think expired ones are fine.

    There is also no airway because they take up a lot of space and they are entirely inflexible. Not everyone’s airway is the same size either, so you could either tear your friend’s esophagus, or insert this very uncomfortable thing that is a smidgen too short. Not worth it to me.

    I did include a chest seal, because I feel like a sucking chest wound is not very hard to diagnose, and essentially you can’t screw it up. Just make sure that you clean the wound as well as humanly possible before applying it. You only have one, and a clean wound is the most important thing you can prioritize after the bleeding stops.

    Burns are not something I even like to think about, let alone talk about or write about, but I did include a couple of different burn dressings in the kit. Infection can turn even a small bad burn into a loss of a limb or a life, so there is a silver impregnated burn bandage in there. I have also personally used the Water-Jel burn dressing in there, and they work incredible.

    There is also a sterile scalpel in case you have to cut away something that might be stuck on something, and a pair of good scissors to cut clothes.

    The kit is about as full as possible, but if you want to throw in some small bandaids, they will fit. Those things are included in kits just to bulk up the numbers. this kit has plenty of medium sized bandaids, and a couple giant ones.

    The most important thing is that you carry it. And that is why I stuffed it all into this tiny package. Like all of the specialty stuff on Grid Down, I had Starr & Bullock Hardware build it and stock it, and yes it’s pricey. But if you go find all that stuff yourself you will find that it adds up quick.

    And of course, may you never need it.

    IFAK/Trauma Kit – at Starr & Bullock Hardware

    Paul Helinski

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