I like it when life gives me hints in IMAX-sized clues. This past weekend I pulled out an old Home first Aid kit looking for burn gel (found it) and noticed it was getting low on a couple of items and another couple were gone. Not a big deal since I have redundant kits, but that is not the idea: If you have it, keep it supplied.
The other hit was a couple of videos of people with serious wounds being treated on the scene immediately. One was a man with a knife being shot by cops and getting treated right there by the police while waiting for paramedics. In both videos, it was not a big ass paramedic bag that appeared all of the sudden but a pocket Mylar packet with the basics for traumatic injuries. Something similar to this one I have:
When I got around to have a EDC-FAK (Every Day Carry First Aid Kit) I overdid it. No matter how you slice it, that sucker is going to grow to the point where you won’t carry it or have nearby. The I realized that my mistake was on trying to cover all what could happen and be ready for it, which you need to do but do not need carry with you all the time. Not making sense? You might be right, let me explain: I split the contents into two categories: “Oh shit!” and “Damn It”.
“Oh Shit!” is the bad stuff, arterial blood pumping, victim screaming in serious pain and 911 on the phone. “Damn it.” is the small cuts and burns that come with every day life. I split my items and separated them into two different containers. Those in the Damn It are the most used (unless you are in a war zone) such as band aids, over the counter pain killers, split removers, etc.
These are small boxes under $10 that have the basics and can be refilled with little cost. You can have one at work in your desk, specially if you are “that guy/gal” that gets asked every time if you have a couple of aspirins or somebody comes to you with a bleeding finger. Its other function is to keep people away from your “Oh Shit” kit which is a trauma kit.
The contents may vary according to your needs and more importantly, to your training. It is your responsibility to make sure to renew the items with an expiration date with fresh ones and to keep this kit where is out of the way from prying eyes or you will have people come and make a mess of your carefully stacked bag looking for a band-aid.
The problem with the Trauma Kit is obviously the size. Carrying it back from your car to your office gets tiresome and you risk people getting into it. But leaving it in the car may not address that immediate need for trauma care that can suddenly appear. So the solution may be the Trauma Pack by QuikClot mentioned first in this post. At 7.8 x 1.5 x 6.5 inches and 4.5 ounces, it can be carried comfortably or have hidden in your desk only to come out when you really need it.
The one thing I would add to the trauma pack is a 5 inch dowel in case you need to come up with a tourniquet. In ancient times, I would have told you to use a pen, but nobody but we Old Farts use pens anymore and Smart Phones are great to take notes and do a myriad of things, but the suck at tightening a field-improvised tourniquet . Under $20, get two or three trauma packs. Keep one in the center console of your car, one at work and one around the house as minimum. Do the same for the Damn it kits and you should be covered for about 90% of all incidents.
Get training, that is important. Unfortunately most first aid training nowadays consist on compressing the chest of a heart attack person while following the beat of a disco song or yell really loud “keep pressure on that wound!” If you have friends that are paramedics/EMTs, ask them to train you in the basics to keep somebody alive until help arrives and mores specifically to keep that person alive during the Golden Hour because you cannot bet on Paramedics to arrive in five minutes and the day you do need to use you stuff and your training, the ambulance will be at least 30 minutes away.