Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Med Kit Minutiae
Yesterday, courtesy of poster jbryan314, CA at WRSA put up a link to a contents list of a basic first aid kit, posted originally on AmPartisan.
(The original AP post is missing and probably under revision, but should reappear soon, one hopes. Otherwise I'd have Amazoned the entire readily-available contents list myself, but the author promised to do it himself today. The link to the original article is till dead, two days later. -A.)
I had a few comments on it, which CA will probably work into a standalone post there momentarily. Here you go now, with my typos cleaned up. Because I'm happy to turn a post elsewhere into full blog fodder.
"A tad too brief on things, but as purely contents list, a very good overview of the basic requirements. (I mention that because a fuckton of people will think they know what they’re doing just because they collected the stuff, and read this one article.)
And a fully stocked kit is still just an expensive pile of shit if you don’t know WTF you’re doing with any of it.
A kit + adequate training and practice in using it is priceless.
This is the difference between a bell boy and a medic.
The former only carries the bags.
Don’t be a bell boy.
And you can get everything but the Rx items
(IV supplies, iodoform wound packing, syringes, needles, injectable lidocaine) from Amazon, at prices that would shame even Walmart, most days.
You could literally just go item by item on Amazon, and 90% of that kit could be ordered today for probably around $100, bag included, and be at your doorstep Wednesday.
For simple expendables, you should be taking $40 to the 99 Cent Store etc., about once a month, and leaving with a shopping cart full of basic items. They don’t go bad, and should be stocked as deep and wide as you can manage.
I’m still wrapping finger injuries currently with the metric fuckton of 1/2″ roller gauze I scored there in the late 1990s, still pristine white and wrapped in plastic inside the little assortment boxes.
Field tip: everything expendable packed in paper (gauze rolls and pads, bandaids, cotton swabs, etc.) will
a) un-adhese in a hot car over time, blowing your sterility, and
b) ought to be packed in whatever quantity you carry inside multiple ziplok bags from snack to quart size, so that on a rainy day, or if dropped in a puddle or stream, you don’t have a kit full of soggy contaminated mush.
c) bonus tip: sort your supplies into functional groups inside the big bag using the different colored zipper wallets online or hanging on the aisles at WallyMart.
Airway supplies: Blue bag
Tools and Toys: Green
Burn supplies: Orange
Knock yourself out. They come in about 20 colors, and multiple sizes.
You can even make multiple trauma pouches with a TQ, QuickClot, wound seal, an Israeli bandage, a chest seal, and a coupe of pairs of nitrile gloves, and pack up 2-6, all the same color. Grab and go, or hand off to a partner.
Also: It’s your kit. Own it. Get a big fat Sharpie, and mark the outside of those pouches with whatever you like to help you or someone else out.
You can even take Shoe Goo, and slap a luggage label to the outside of each pouch, with a contents list under clear vinyl, for quick checking.
d) Extra bonus tip: Unless you like brown gear, and a brown kit bag, you will securely bag the betadine, and every other liquid item, inside its own sturdy and sealable plastic bag/container/whatever.
A pint of iodine on everything is the end of that kit, and most of the contents.
It would not be too extreme to get a heavy-duty small Nalgene bottle from the Container Store, Bass Pro Shops, a high-end hiking supplier, etc., and then sealing your liquid items inside them in a bombproof fashion. You could even make do with Sched 40 PVC, with one end cap glued, and one press-fit. If it’s stupid but it works, it ain’t stupid.
The first time you, or some lunkhead, steps on your bag, and doesn’t blow 6 oz. of betadine onto everything, because you packed it like it was nitroglycerin, you’ve just saved your entire kit, and another $100, plus you’ll have that betadine when you need it. You’re welcome.
For the same reason, I put IV bags in my kit inside the bottle carriers by Condor, Gonex, Maxpedition, etc. My preference is the ones with the external pouch,
which holds a tubing admin set, and a full IV start kit including a set of gloves. I can grab the bag and toss it to someone else, and they’d have everything they need to start an IV in their hand in one grab.
If you put that kit bag inside a $2 Styrofoam picnic cooler (let alone anything sturdier and better made from Coleman, Igloo, Yeti, etc.) before dropping it in a trunk, it will last unattended for much longer. And in a pinch, you’ll have an extra cooler.
For med admin for those OTCs, either buy unit-dose (single person) packets in a box of 50-100, and put the packets into a snack-size ziplock; or carry a single plastic medicine cup so you can sort pills from the bottles without finger banging them, and dump all but the one or two you want back in the bottle without contaminating them with whatever’s on your grubby paws.
And jbryan, you’ve probably done it already (he did, but noted later he forgot to photo them for the original article -A.), but you should have some permanent markers (Sharpie, laundry pen, etc,, in black and red, and maybe even a paint marker in white or yellow, plus TCCC/Triage cards, Write-In-The-Rain, or even plain old 3×5″ cards, to mark meds given, TQ placement, and basic pt. info and vital signs, plus chief complaint. Zip ties and safety pins mean you can attach them just about anywhere, and small spool of yellow nylon twine makes a convenient necklace for patients who’ve been “stripped and flipped”.
Sample military DD 1380 TCCC card:
Anyone can print one, white-out “sample” re-scan it, and keep that pdf on file to print new tags at will.
Or just find them online, and buy a stack."