This Medical Kit Guide should have been the first article I wrote. Unfortunately it is kind of a complex issue. What you put in your kits isn’t as important as what you put into your head. Still I get this question a lot. What should I put in my first aid kit/medic bag/jump kit etc? The problem is that this is a tough question to answer. It really depends. How many people are you going to care for? What environment will you be operating in? What is your group’s highest level of training? The reason I ask these questions is that I will pack my aid bag based on the things I will likely encounter, but there are somethings that I will always pack. If it is 97 degrees outside I think I might leave the heat packs at home. If it is -20° I think I might leave my IV kits at home.
I think I have a solution. Scaled Modularity. I am going to provide a skeleton of what you need for all occasions in terms of injury and illness. Then I am going to add in modules. I am also not going to have this discussion without talking about training. YOU NEED TRAINING! Here is how I am going to set it up. You are going to have Levels, Time, and Areas of Care. So for example you are going to need a Level 1A Bleeding Control Kit in your EDC regardless of who you are at all times.
Medical Kit Levels:
1. Everybody (children and pets included) needs an IFAK level kit
2. Every Family or Fireteam to Squad Level needs a CLS kit (4-8 people).
3. Every Survival Group, Neighborhood, Squad or Platoon sized element needs an Aid Bag. (8-20)
4.Every Survival Community or Company Sized Element (40-120)
5. Town to Battalion sized Element (240-1000)
Amount of Time
- A. 24hr Every Day Carry-Single Day Training Event
- B. 24-72 Hr Get Home Bag/Weekend Training Event
- C. 2 Weeks-1 Month
- D. 1-6 Months
- E. 1 Year+
Here is the training required for these Levels. (children and dogs excluded obviously). Now to be a medical responder post SHTF you need to train in three areas. 1. Traditional Medicine 2. Wilderness Medicine. 3. Tactical Medicine.
You can be an ER doctor with the best degrees and have the experience to treat any medical emergency but if you get shot trying to render aid who is going to save you? If you don’t have the ability to get labs or order x-rays much less have adequate lighting are you going to be able to use your skills?
I. EVERY ADULT/TEEN:
CPR and AED: Most companies, charities, and local government agencies will provide this training for free.
Wilderness First Aid: You can usually find classes via outdoor retailers, the american red cross, or private companies.
CERT Medical: This is a FEMA program (I know I know) that is free or if you have to pay it is only to reimburse the cost of the handouts etc.
First Aid: You can get this training usually for free from the American Red Cross
Military First Aid/Self Aid and Buddy Care:Not much beyond a wilderness first aid course. You can look up TCCC protocols to learn the basics.
II. EVERY SOLDIER/Head of Household (AKA MOM):
American Heart Association Basic Life Support for Healthcare Workers (BLS): These classes are usually not free. They are designed for those who work with patients. In addition to CPR and AED they deal with Bag Valve Mask Use and the Jaw Thrust
Medical First Responder (MFR) you can get this level of training by becoming a volunteer firefighter or police officer.
Combat Life Saver (CLS) You can get this level of training by signing the best years of your life away to uncle sam.
Nursing Assistant: This is a short class you can find the training at most community colleges, some high schools, and private sector training. It will teach you how to move patients safely, how to take vital signs, and I am not sure what else these people do. I have been told it is basically adult baby sitting but that probably isn’t right and I will probably get hate mail for saying so.
III. INTERMEDIATE RESPONSE:
EMT:Emergency Medical Technician classes can be found at most community colleges and even some high schools. You can get this class if you are a volunteer or professional fire fighter. Some Wilderness Medical Training will bundle this with their Wilderness EMT course work. Training is about 3-6 weeks at the shortest up to a year.
Wilderness First Responder: This is a class that you can take for the purposes of being a wilderness tour guide. This is usually a 3-5 day course.
TEMS Class: Your Tactical Medical Courses are short. They are like a weekend. You typically need Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support to get into these classes. Without joining the military this is the only way to learn tactical medicine.
IV. ADVANCED RESPONSE:
American Heart Association Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Life Support: These classes cost a couple hundred dollars each. They are 1-3 days each.
Advanced EMT. This is the half way point between an EMT and a Paramedic. 3-6 months of training is required. You need 50 clinical hours minimum. It is rare to find this training available. It can be achieved through private companies.
Military Medic or Tactical EMT. You typically won’t find this level of training available outside of the Military/LE community. It usually last 3-6 months
Wilderness EMT. This training is about 10-14 days in addition to your EMT training. Most NOLS or WMS certified trainers provide this to the General Public
LPN or Medical Assistant: You can find these programs at most community colleges. They take about a year to complete.
V EXPERT RESPONSE:
This level of response is probably not reading medical advice from me. This includes: Paramedic, RN, Independent Duty Medic, Combat Paramedic, Wilderness Advanced Provider, Military Flight Medic.
Doctor, Nurse Practitioner, Physicians Assistant, Special Forces Medics (18D).
Areas of Care.
Bleeding Control/Wound Care: Tourniquets, Dressings, Hemostatic Agents, Pressure Bandages, wound packing, infection control, irrigation syringes, staples, sutures, Dermabond, steri-strips, medical tape
Airway/Respiration: NPAs, OPAs, King LT, Combitube, LMA, ET Tubes, Ventilators, CPAP, Chest Tubes, Needle Chest Decompression, Surgical Airways, occlusive dressings, chest seals, O2 Tank w/regulator, nasal cannula, non rebreather, Bag Valve Mask, ETCO2 Monitor.
Circulation: IV/IO Access, saline locks, IV Fluids, AED, Manual Defibrillators.
Hypothermia: Heat Packs, Space Blankets, Wool Blankets.
Orthopedic/Splinting: SAM Splints, Coban, Ace Wrap, Athletic Tape, Plaster or Fiberglass casting materials, tuning fork.
Dental: Tea Bags, Tooth Picks, Dental Pick, Dental Mirror, Clove Oil, Dental Wax, Temporary Filling,
Eyes, Ears, Nose, Throat: Eye Drops, Cough Drops, Honey, Humidifier
Burns:Water Jel Burn Dressing, Ringers Lactate IV Solution,
Medical:Foley Catheter, Nasogastric Tubes, OTC Medications,
PPE: Nitrile Exam Gloves, N95 Mask, protective eyewear, caffine, hearing protection
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