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
Bleeding: Red
Hazmat/PPE: Yellow
Tools and Toys: Green
Burn supplies: Orange
Meds: Black
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."


Anonymous said...

Thank You so much for a run down of the famous "Basic First Aid" for us un-informed. This at least give us a guide of contents that can be life saving.e.

TiredPoorHuddled Masses said...

Excellent post. Always a good refresher.

The Freeholder said...

Outstanding post. Thanks.

Reltney McFee said...

You may already have thought of this, Aesop, but, it occurred to me that should I turn the Darling Wife loose on my/our "jump kits", with her vacuum sealer, I could cut a tear notch on one end, and everything would not only be idiot resistant, as well as derp resistant, but I would not require a knife/scissors to open the thing in a hurry.

THAT is an idea to act upon, at out next Medic Bag Outdate and Upgrade Festival. i hear it is coming, soon!

Differ said...

A wealth of information as usual....thanks

Anonymous said...

IFAK's. Yeah I have half a dozen of them. Each perfectly adequate to take care of medical emergencies that could just as easily be ignored. I now carry only two things; A tourniquet and an Israeli bandage. Everything else can wait until we get home, to a hospital or real medical care shows up. Bleeding to death can happen in seconds, most everything else can wait. The problem is that a good IFAK will not be with you when you need it because it would be to big and heavy.

Aesop said...


I'd use the food sealer bags on a go-to-hell just in case kit, like in a car, boat, or vacay cabin, or anywhere where someone else might fingerbang your kit without telling you. That's exactly what ALSE technicians in the Air Farce and Navy do with pilot survival gear to keep their ossifers from poaching bandaids and stuff from their emergency equipment.

But I prefer the zip-loks for the everyday use-it kit, because I can reseal them, and they're a helluva lot simpler for me to get to stuff, without blowing the water-resistance after the first use.

Anonymous said...

I learned a hard lesson on securing the betadine. After some rough handling during a move I had multiple bottles split, burst or pop the lids in my medical supplies. I didn't notice until a few months later when I got around to organizing and updating my supplies. It wrecked almost everything. Just an incredible and expensive mess. I package the stuff like plutonium now.

Reltney McFee said...

Aesop: great point on the resealability of the zip locks. Perhaps my personal OCD is triggered by the leaky zip locks I have used through the years. In any event, you are correct: once I've torn my tear strip from my neatly vacuum-sealed whatsit, well, if it is not sunshine and 70 out, my crap may become kinda soupy. Thank you for the thought provoking writing.

I truly enjoy learning things from another "BTDT" soul, whose "t-shirt" is different from my own!

Aesop said...

You could always seal the zip-lock pouches in seal-a-meal, and get the best of both worlds.

Phelps said...

Another thing that I've added to my bag is the newer bright white 30 minute chemlights. You are NOT going to be in good conditions when you are trying to use this kit, and anything with batteries is likely to pick THAT time to die. You don't want to try to fumble with AAAs while you are covered in rain and blood in the dark and your buddy is dying while you are trying to figure out how to find the bleed. (It's also why I've stopped buying black gloves.)

For medical, you what WHITE light. You need to see the wound, you need to see where the blood is coming from. It's hard to tell the difference between blood and dirty water in any color other than white.

Also, remember that you can use the bottle caps as makeshift med cups in a pinch. You are risking more droppage, but it is better than fingerbanging the bottle.

Last thing -- I get my single-dose meds from camping survival dot com. They will fill orders for VERY small lots. I want to have a dozen insect sting wipes. I don't need 50. Just remember that things you need 50 of you really need 50. (Imodium. You seriously can't have enough until you can't handle the weight.) I don't get anything from that website, I've just bought a lot from them and always been happy with price, shipping and quality.

Anonymous said...

https://www.amazon.com/Arsenal-5875K-System-Clamshell-Organizer-x/dp/B00B9VGX96/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1543519877&sr=8-2&keywords=ergodyne+organizer i have these in my BLS bag. good quality material, good zippers. what will fit inside? my vitals/monitor bag (the yellow one) has adult BP cuff, Stethoscope, temple thermometer, pen light, glucose meter(small bag with meter, test strips, extra gloves, bandades, clean wipes, extra battery), SP0/2 meter. plus i add an extra set of gloves inside the window. all with small amount of room to spare.

Anonymous said...

Consider adding the laxative of your choice (Dulcolax, etc.) and ipecac syrup or other emetic. Gastrointestinal distress will be on the agenda, these could be a lifesaver.

Aesop said...

Seldom, if ever, are either indicated, particularly in a first aid kit.
That reality, and abuse by bulemics, is why you'll play hell even finding ipecac on the shelves anywhere. Either one would be pretty much pure dead weight in a kit, for no worthwhile gain in treatment capabilities.

Anonymous said...

any idea on the eta of that original post? was late and never got to read it.

a consolidation of info, purchase links, with videos would be great.

a 'complete' training course would be worthwhile investment. any recommendations on offerings besides the standard piecemeal TC3 (good stuff), wilderness first aid (was okay), and EMT (prospecting)?

the populace is severely deficient regarding functional skills for holistic security and medical.

The Gray Man said...

That article was written by me and unfortunately AP has elected not to place the article back on the site at this time. You can still find it at my own blog, linked below. I do still plan to list sources where the contents, or at least 90% of them, can be found cheap, easy and legal. I should have plenty of time to do it this weekend as the family is out of town and I'll have the house to myself.


Anonymous said...

thx for the link and post. attention bloggers: consider using blog formats that are handy to print, e.g. white back ground, black text, etc. or even attach a handy printable formats if you are attached to your designs.

Reltney McFee said...

"You could always seal the zip-lock pouches in seal-a-meal, and get the best of both worlds.

November 29, 2018 at 8:09 AM"

Aesop For The Win!

Wayne said...

Archived at the Wayback Machine