First aid EDC kit.
So you know that sometimes bad things happen? I have had my arm badly lacerated by a horse. I have been stabbed and I have broken my leg. Life happens. Sometimes a cyclist gets shot, sometimes a CIT robbery happens right in front of you. If you have had these thoughts or seen the sights you understand. You may have even taken the leap that says, “I know, I am going to make a first aid kit for, in case”. An EDC kit, Every Day Kit, is a great idea.
- I am not a medic nor a doctor. I have done first aid courses though the paras, the police, bouncing and later critical bleed stoppages. Please send all people to hospital that you use any of these tools on.
What to put in an EDC kit.
Ok so lets decide. is this a mobile pharmacy for little boo boos that happen or is this targeted more for the critical bleed and less pleasant injuries that happen?
For the purpose of this article for now I am going to stick to the critical bleed element. Or severe trauma bag. This is used for arterial and sever bleeds.
What is a severe or arterial bleed?
Good question. Ok arterial bleeds are the ones that you can see squirting 3 feet and up. They will squirt in time with the patients heart rate.Its generally a good idea to stop this. Not the heart rate but the bleeding. Time is CRITICAL here. Every drop that leaves the body is one drop closer to the patient expiring. Critical bleeds. An arterial bleed is a critical bleed and they are easy to spot if the patient is lying, wound up and the wound is exposed and you can see the blood squirting. Don’t pass out, you’ll be fine. SO if you can’t see squirting but you can see the person lying in a pool of blood. Treat that as critical . Obviously this is difficult if the victim is lying on sand, grass etc as the blood may soak in, however there will be enough for you to see a pool.
So either of these are bad and likely to lead to a patients death. So lets see what we can do to help.
If the person has been shot in the upper leg. Or if they are in a badly crashed car and have severed the femoral artery (upper thigh) or the Brachial artery (upper arm). Think arm going through window, femur breaking and protruding thought the skin kinda day. At this point you NEED TO STOP THE BLEED. This is where your first bit of kit comes in. (ok second after your surgical gloves) The Tourniquet. Now there are many differing types out there. Some cheap some not. Generally if you want to save someones life and are prepared to go through all the trouble of buying and carrying one, then don’t buy a fong kong rip off that might break on application. Just a thought. I personally, like the SAM-XT. Mid way priced but just works for me, in that its an easy single handed application. So if you happen to be the victim and your left arm is bleeding like a stuck pig. You can easily use this on your self one handed. Next the CAT (Combat Application Tourniquet) the most expensive, also the one issued to the entire US army so a very good Tourniquet. SOF® Tactical Tourniquet Wide (SOF®TT-W) is a very sturdy tourniquet of great quality. All 3 I have mentioned I would trust to stop bleeding in my family. So all the quality is there.
Put the tourniquet “High and Tight” so above the wound and bopa it (make it TIGHT)!! You have a choice here. You can either put it over the foot/hand and pull it up to the top of the limb. Or you can unthread it, put it around the part of the limb that you have selected and rethread. No this is not the best plan. However, if the leg or arm is trapped under something you may not have a choice. As with all equipment PRACTICE with it. With the Tourniquet in place pull the strap tight. wrap it around until you get to the windlass.(it all has velcro so it sticks to itself. Turn the windlass (this is going to hurt the patient a bit.) until its TIGHT, and then lock it in place with eh locks supplied.
How do I know if the tourniquet worked?
If you managed to close the artery, the blood should stop leaking. As a test, pinch the nails of the victim. If you do this to yourself you will notice that the nail before pushing it is pink. Once pressed hard it turns white (you have pushed the blood out of the nail), on you now, the pink should return to the nail. If the device is on tight enough the nail should stay white. If you got it right, now is a good time to call 10111 or whatever ambulance is stored in your phone….You do have them stored right? If it isn’t tight enough leave it on and apply a second one. Don’t take your first one off as you don’t want to restart the bleeding properly again.
If there is still a bit of seepage you can now pull of some more life saving gear from your EDC kit. The Quick clot combat gauze is designed to be stuffed into the wound. The gauze is impregnated with Kaolin ( a natural non exothermic power-doesn’t get hot). It draws the water out of the blood and speeds up clotting. Ok so applying this is going to suck, for you and the victim, but if it save s life…. So open the bag, tie the tip into a ball. doesn’t matter what it looks like. Just a small knot. Get someone to restrain the victim and push that gauze in until you can’t stuff anymore in. Yup use your finger and push. Once its down as far as it can go leave a pile on top for added pressure. Now pull out the SWAT-Tourniquet. The is like an inner tube from a bike. Stretchy with pictures. This tourniquets pictures tell you when you have pulled hard enough to be effective. Wrap it around the wound, on top of the gauze. This should stop that sites bleeding.
Where will a tourniquet NOT work.
Head wounds can’t be stopped with a tourniquet. Correction you can but its not generally a good idea. I’ll sell it out for the court case people… if you wrap it around the neck you will kill the patient. Head wounds bleed. A lot. You could use the quick clot of the Swat tourniquet as this is direct pressure onto the wound as apposed to squashing the artery feeding the entire site. Abdominal wounds also don’t like tourniquets. Also stuffing gauze in isn’t ideal as then someone has to try and find the stuff laster to retrieve it. Your best bet here is cling wrap. So in your EDC kit is going to be a roll of cling wrap. You should cut the roll in half roughly otherwise its just too big. Wrap the wound site, but not too tight. This should keep crap out and the intestines in. The doctors can also see the wound and monitor it when they get to him. Cling wrap is also good for burns. It keeps the wound clean and allows you to put water on to cool it down without contaminating it.
A sucking chest wound is a problem. The patient will struggle to breathe as there is air in the cavity around the lungs. This air competes with the lungs and gradually compresses the lung to the point the patient dies of lack of Oxygen. You will notice wheezing, panic, difficulty drawing breath etc etc. In order to help him you need to find the entry and possibly the exit wound. Now take a chest seal, if there is only and entry wound- Stabbing, use a single. If there is an entry and exit would use the double pack. Peel off the cover. Pull the red tabs and put the centre of the chest seal over the hole. Repeat to all sucking chest wounds. This allows the air buildup in the chest out, but when the patient breathes in the plastic seals over the hole stopping air re-entering.
Your patient, once enough blood has been lost is going to start shivering. Basically your body pulls all of the blood into the core to keep alive once you have lost a lot of it. The extremities start dying and start reacting to stay alive themselves. You start shivering loosing some co-ordination. Its not a good place to be. Here is where a space blanket comes in. Used to keep people warm by radiating their body heat back at them this will be your best plan to keep the patient warm whilst you wait for the medical help you have called to arrive. Its a cheap and light life saving tool that should be part of your kit.
- Quick clot Gauze
- Z pack gauze
- Chest seals
- Space blanket
- Cling Film
- Permanent marker- please remember to write the time of applying a tourniquet on the tourniquet and put a bit T on the victims forehead.