Individual First Aid Kit
The individual first aid kit or IFAK is a small medical bag designed to carry life saving equipment. It is normally man portable, simple, and specialized. The purpose of carrying an IFAK is to provide life saving care while awaiting arrival of an ambulance for advanced treatment and transportation to better facilities. In general, if you need to open your IFAK, you will be in need of ambulance transportation and further care. I do not carry or provide others with things like medications, bandaides, or cut and scrape care. My IFAK is purpose built to provide care in the event of a traumatic injury.
I do not carry medications, antibiotics, nasal trumpets, or the tools necessary to provide care for a collapsed lung. I may include some of these tools if I get the opportunity to retrain on them again.
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My bag is an Orca Tactical MOLLE Rip-Away EMT Medical First Aid Blowout Pouch and is Coyote colored. I decided to not use a bedazzler on the bag but instead opted to add three simple patches. The first patch is my ‘Regular Guy’ tab which I thought was fun. The next was my 0+ blood type patch. Any medical facility is going to provide saline and then O+ or O- blood until they can ascertain your blood type but it is a nice patch and matches the motif. Yes, as per the American Red Cross, my blood type is O+. Finally, I added a Christian Cross in red and tan.
The major benefit of this bag is that it is MOLLE compatible and has a tear away hook and loop back so it can be easily removed from my gear for use.
The bag itself is easy to open. The zippers span the majority of the bag sides and it lays flat very easily. It gives quick access to the majority of the contents without you needing to poke around and look for things. The most important items are your gloves and the tourniquets. They are easy to reach and front and center.
You may need to pack or wrap a wound. You can use clothing and other cloth as a temporary bandage but items like the adventure medical sponge are impregnated with compounds like QuickClot that aid in the clotting process. I believe that having easily accessed bandages and sponges is more effective than trying to improvise medical supplies from potentially compromised materials.
The Comabt-Application-Tourniquet is a highly effective tool in stopping bleeding in an emergency. They are often referred to as CAT tourniquets. Many preventable deaths are caused by unrestricted bleeding of the extremities. This can be caused by partial or full amputations, slashing, or even penetrating wounds. Gun shots, car accidents, and stabbings are all potential mechanisms of injury that could require a tourniquet.
Scissors are useful for removing clothing, cutting straps, or trimming bandages. They are multifaceted and very useful. Don’t skimp on your cutting device. I also have a leash for the scissors so they don’t drop, fall, or get lost. If I have my hands on my bag, I should not loose my scissors.
Celox granules are used for packing wounds that cannot be treated with the application of a tourniquet. This could include the pelvis, arm pits, or otherwise. I chose Celox because it does not have any heat generating properties. It will assist in clotting and stop severe bleeding but can be easily washed out of the wound after the casualty is handed off to advanced medical care.
I always carry gloves. I have an individual package of gloves in a sealed bag as well as ten extra pairs of gloves in a small black carry satchel. I can pass out some of these gloves for others who are helping if needed. You can never have too many pairs of safety gloves.
I carry duct tape for several reasons. It can be used to hold bandages, add security to tourniquet clasps, or as a writing surface that can be stuck to a person. I use a small duct tape roll that has been squished and is held within an elastic strap inside the bag. You can also use a lighter as a base for the duct tape. Wrap duct tape around the body of the lighter to give yourself a combination of duct tape as well as a fire source if necessary.