Today we are going to talk about some of the gear that you should be carrying in your everyday carry kit, as well as keep in your vehicle and your home kits for trauma.
Before I get into the specifics of the items that I feel will have the most impact in potentially saving your life or someone you love, let me give you a scenario that illuminates the importance of building such a kit.
Scenario: It’s your average day and you just got out of work. You enter the parking garage and start on the way to the second floor where you left your car earlier that morning. As you get within several feet of your vehicle, you see a man in close proximity to you rapidly approaching and calling out for help. As he moves into your sterile zone, you suddenly feel a “punch” in the stomach.
As you look down towards your abdomen, you see a lot of blood. You then realize that the “punch” was not a punch, but a stab from a knife. The man is finished rummaging through your briefcase for your laptop and wallet and takes off.
Feeling dizzy now, you literally fall down on your behind against your vehicle. You reach for your phone to call 911 for help, but it’s rush hour and you don’t know how long the response time will be.
At that moment, you realize that you are losing a lot of blood and you have to do something to at least slow it down so you don’t bleed out before the paramedics arrive. You reach into your pocket and get out the “Quick Clot®,” tear it open and apply it to the wound.
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You then crawl to your briefcase where the attacker dropped it and take out the compression bandage and wrap it around your wound a couple of times to help slow blood loss. Within minutes, the ambulance arrives and whisks you off to the trauma center where you survive the attack.
This scenario merely portrays a singular event that is based on a criminal incident. But there are a multitude of potential incidents and events where your trauma kit could save your life or in less traumatic situations, give you or a loved one a measure of comfort.
Consider car accidents, slip-and-falls, dog or other animal bites, penetrating wounds or even a wrong slip of the knife while cooking in the kitchen. You see, personal defense must not only be a matter of protecting yourself from criminal elements, it must include the aftermath as well as the entire spectrum of potential incidents and events that could cause you harm as you move through your day-to-day activities.
Now, let’s talk about several items that I feel are critical for your everyday trauma kit. What we are discussing are the key life-saving ingredients that you should have with you at all times during your daily routine. This is not in any way meant to be a full laundry list of trauma and first-aid items that I would recommend for your entire go-bag or bug-out bag (BOB).
First up is a product you should never be without, “Quick Clot®.” This is a hemostatic product designed to stop or slow down bleeding.
It comes in various forms such as an advanced clotting sponge, clotting gauze and combat gauze. The newer products contain an inorganic mineral agent called Kaolin that speeds the process of clotting blood.
Lastly, Quick Clot® contains low to no risk of producing an allergic response because on application there is no exothermic reaction (a chemical reaction that in this case, releases energy by heat).
The next critical piece of trauma gear is a Combat Application Tourniquet or C-A-T for short. It is a tourniquet that can be applied one-handed in cases where a traumatic wound is causing significant bleeding.
For those of you who do not know what a tourniquet in general is, it is a bandage-style device that is used to control venous or arterial circulation to an extremity (arms or legs) for a period of time. Tourniquets are normally a last resort option to stop severe bleeding and to prevent the affected person from going into shock.
The third piece of gear I am suggesting you include in your trauma kit is an Israeli compression bandage. Originally called an “emergency bandage” and later nicknamed “Israeli bandage” by American soldiers who used them, this “bandage” is actually a pressure dressing combining an elastic bandage, sterilized dressing and pressure applicator. It is a fantastic first-aid device used to stop or slow bleeding caused by traumatic wounds in pre-hospital conditions.
This type of bandage can apply up to 30 lbs. of pressure to a wound site to help curb bleeding and it can apply even more pressure with the applicator closure bar it comes with.
It was invented by Bernard Bar-Natan, an Israeli soldier who was in training at the time to become a military medic in 1984. During that time, Israeli soldiers were using rocks to put pressure on wounds to stop bleeding and Bernard wanted a better, more adaptable, sterile and portable solution to stop bleeding.
Today, this bandage is used by the U.S. Army and Special Forces as well as other military forces around the world, and it should definitely be a part of your home, vehicle and everyday carry kit.
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The only downside to this particular bandage is that it is more difficult to apply for first-time users than say a comparable bandage, such as the Emergency Trauma Dressing (ETD) by North American Rescue. The ETD is also a great piece of gear to have, and it is a bit simpler to apply under survival stress than its Israeli counterpart.
Lastly, you will need at least one pair of Nitrile gloves to reduce the risk of infection while applying the life-saving gear in a medical emergency, a small permanent marker to designate start and stop times for any tourniquet or for bandages that are applied and a pair of medical shears to cut away clothing. All of these items can be carried in your pockets, laptop bag, purse, briefcase or other bags that you have with you every day.
Until next time, stay alert, check your six, put your back against the wall and stay safe!