If you don’t have an IFAK you’re ignorant – Survival IFAK

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IFAK Individual First Aid Kits and Survival

I am on a tactical carbine league and I see a lot of guys who run their carbine better than I do have one critical flaw in the way they train. They never seem to have a blow out kit or IFAK on their belt. If you don’t know you need one that is cool. You are not going to stay ignorant for long. First off in our learning express train… nomenclature. IFAK means either Improved or Individual First Aid Kit (seems to vary depending on who you ask).

If you are going to the range you could be a victim of a negligent discharge. Meaning some bullets exit the chamber when they weren’t meant to. You never know the experience level of those around you so this could be more likely than you think. Even outside the range… If you conceal carry or are in Law Enforcement you have a reasonable belief that you may be in a situation that requires you to employ your firearm. (If you are Military you are going to get an IFAK and some NCO will make sure you have it)

If you are employing a firearm I would hope that it is in response to a lethal threat to yourself or someone close by… otherwise you are just being a dick. Guess what John Rambo… Unlike the movies good guys get shot too. We don’t have HALO over shields to protect you yet. If someone is a lethal threat you might be injured as a result. It would make sense to have some way to treat your injuries. I mean think about it. When seconds count the cops are minutes away right? Well the police most often arrive before EMS. Oh, and cops generally do not do shit to save your life.

Not only that, but budget cuts hit EMS particularly hard. The likelihood of those responding being able to reach you quickly enough to save your life if you are shot is not encouraging. So this is only a mistake away from happening. So be as prepared to get shot as you are to shoot someone.

Survival IFAK Essentials

IFAK’s take up what two or three molle loops? A Tourniquet holder takes up one. It need to be on your person when ever train or fight. I recommend you place your IFAK on your dominate hand side of your plate carrier, pistol belt, LBE, Vest. I also recommend identifying it. A [+] patch or red tape is a good universal way to identify your IFAK. Because guess what… You might not be the one using your equipment. Why place it on your gear? Well you need to use it in time=life situations so it needs to be as ready to be put to use as that extra mag you have.

Here is what your IFAK should contain as a minimum.

  1. CAT or SOFF tourniquet. It needs to be deployed with one hand if needed so that discounts the SWAT style tourniquets.
  2. Emergency Trauma Bandage (many brands out there).
  3. Chest Seal (HALO, Bolin, or Hyfin are all good but any piece of plastic will do)
  4. Nasal Phryangeal Airway sized to fit you. (something tells me I might need to right an article on this) (but if you don’t know how to use this… then don’t bother adding it)
  5. Non Latex Gloves (Nitril >5mils)
  6. Durapor (or equal) medical tape…
  7. EMT Shears

If you don’t want to put together your own IFAK, I recommend TacMedSolutions. They offer outstanding quality and their price is equally outstanding. They have a Downed Operator Kit for 40 dollars or their Operator IFAK is 75. Which is pretty damn good. There are a lot of companies out there that try and rape you on the price of IFAK’s. In most cases you are better off sourcing the items you need through Amazon than you would buying some of these kits. TacMedSolutions is the exception. Insert Paramore Meme here.

  • IFAK 
  • https://www.tacmedsolutions.com/store/Products_Detail.php?ProductID=56

Now this is not a boo boo kit. This is a save your ass from trauma kit. But you need to know how to use everything in your kit. You need to learn to use it under stress too. So just buying stuff for the sake of having it is not going to cut it.

How to use your IFAK

Now if you are training as a militia or in a survival group you all need to have your own IFAK. You need to use the CAUSALITIES IFAK to treat them. This gets emphasized a lot even to medics because even medics fuck this up. If you get shot that means you have to be taken off the battle field… at some point. If you use your supplies and not the causalities then that mean less supplies will be on the battle field. So you know now why it is important to have an IFAK… So you don’t screw over other people.

BUT DAVE BLACK I just watched a video by Dave Canterbury and he explained why he has the NOFAK!!! He isn’t ignorant… Right? He definitely is not ignorant. He basically explained his reasons why he doesn’t carry an IFAK. Let me make something abundantly clear. 1. You are not Dave Canterbury… He is very knowledgeable in wilderness medicine and he has years of experience in the woods. 2. Your not always going to be in Dave Canterbury’s operational environment… meaning this advice is not suited for tactical situations but rather they are gear towards self reliance situations. Also Dave Canterbury doesn’t operate in SHTF situations. He is not likely to be days or weeks away from a hospital. Meaning when he stuffs a cotton bandanna that has all kinds of sweat and lord knows what else into a wound to pack it… He isn’t worried that in 3 days he might go into septic shock as a result. 3. The one issue I would have with Dave Canterbury’s logic is that I would tell him to have a tactical tourniquet. I know he can improvise one… and that is great if he has someone else out there with him. But if he is alone for any reason he can bleed out in 90 seconds to the point where he cannot help himself.

So here is my Mountain Man Dave Canterbury NOFAK for those who follow his gospel. So in addition to the items he goes over here is what you will need post SHTF.

  1. CAT or SOF Tourniquet.
  2. Rolled Gauze.
  3. EMT Shears.
  4. Safety Pins

With knowledge in improvising medical supplies those 4 items can do the everything and IFAK can do.

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About David Black

Trained and Certified: National Registry EMT, Wilderness EMT, US Army 68W, Tactical Combat Causality Care (TCCC), Basic Life Support for Healthcare Workers, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, US Coast Guard Medical Person In-Charge, Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support. International Trauma Life Support. HAM Radio Technician. Trained and Certified to Instruct: Combat Life Saver Instructor and Community Emergency Response Team Trainer. CPR, AED, First Aid.

17 thoughts on “If you don’t have an IFAK you’re ignorant – Survival IFAK

  1. Why are glove (of any type) always listed as a necessity? I can tell you from first hand experience, many experiences, that gloves are not even in the equation. If you are worried about blood born pathogens from yourself or other you may be attending to, then you are way out of your league! Catching AID’s or some other problem should NOT be a concern.

  2. I was looking around a Army/Navy surplus & found a brand spankin new IFAK for 60$
    The guy wanted a hundo for it but I talked him down. Point is, there’s deals to be made.
    Thank you for this article!

  3. I saw one of the reply’s mentioned the tampon . I hope it is to lay beside the wound and not push into a bullet/shrapnel wound. That is the most dangerous thing I keep seeing put out in all the blogs. They cause extra damage going in and lots more coming out as they do swell up.
    Just my 2 cents.

  4. Sometimes with a sucking chest wound it is preferable to also have petroleum gauze as it resists air and wont shift even on a really bloody surface then lots of trauma dressings and plastic taped arpund all 4 edges leaving. One corner untaped to work as a flutter valve for any excaping air

  5. do what I did I had an id made that gives my height weight blood type and allergies listed its laminated and I keep it in my IFAK it has helped me before when I when to the hospital for an emergency when I fell 30 feet and crushed my spine

  6. For those looking to build an IFAK (early on, it was Individual – it is currently Improved because they put more stuff in it..) The current on base cost for the shell (bag) is $85.. I know, I said the same thing… If you have a service member near you – have them “replace” something in the kit – the internals come as a sealed pouch, like an MRE and you can’t turn in any part, except the $85 pouch… A lot of the items in an IFAK have “expiration” dates and get rotated out – so you are not even ripping off the Gov!..

  7. Medical Alert Bracelets aren’t very good if your arm is blown off… and Forward Surgical Teams don’t always have the capability to test blood. They just go off what is on your dog tags. So what I am saying is that you might not always be going to a hospital.

  8. Hospitals won’t go by a written blood type. They are required to type & cross, or they will just give you O+ blood. Hope your not -. There are 23 markers that are checked now. They won’t /can’t take the chance that your IFAK is one you got off someone else. But it is an EXCELLENT idea to write your allergies!!! You might get something you can’t take. Better yet: wear a medic alert bracelet.

  9. To clarify more important than the Brand Celox V Quikclot is the TYPE of hemostatic agent. You don’t want to use powder or granular agents… both of which appear under the Celox and Quikclot brands. The reason why Quikclot is preferable over Celox is the price point… Celox tends to be anywhere from 1-5 dollars more.

    Here is how to use Combat Gauze. WARNING ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS VIDEO! http://youtu.be/BVCuQtrwfOU

  10. I wouldn’t waste my money getting Celox. Buy what the Military uses, QuikClot.

    TCCC approved.

  11. Allergies are helpful too. Especially any commonly used drugs such as antibiotics or pain management drugs… Now to make sure your Allergy isn’t a normal side effect check drugs.com. You can also fill out a field medical card on yourself and put that in the IFAK with all allergies and blood types already filled out.

  12. Write your blood type with a sharpie on the outside of your IFAK…doesn’t cost anything, can’t hurt and it just might save some time at the hospital. Make sure to write your initials or name there as well so no one worries that you just picked up a surplus kit with the wrong info on it.

  13. Amen Brother, I remember in my past at the skeet range, the shooter wasn’t paying attention to muzzle control and swept the trigger boy and accidentally shot him from 20 feet, he died. I carry both my IFAK & Blow Out Kit where ever I go. I sometimes see people trying to turn their IFAK into Blow Out Kit, which is also a mistake to me.

  14. BTW for the budget minded prepper. IFAK cases are non-expendable items so they have to get turned back into Uncle Sam typically… The contents however are expendable items. SO if you go looking around pawn shows near military installations you can pick up the stuff inside them cheap. Unfortunately most units don’t get Celox or Tampons in their issued IFAKS.

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