It’s ironic that just this weekend I began putting together my first trauma kit, and then I woke up Monday morning to the horrific news about the Las Vegas mass murder. I’m not going to go into the gun debate here, as that will be covered and discussed ad nauseam throughout the media, on Facebook, in offices, dining room tables and well, just about everywhere. I’ve also covered in past blog posts how to survive an active shooting situation, or at least how to increase your chances of survival. But as we saw in the Las Vegas massacre, there was very little anyone could do, other than avoid those kinds of large crowds in the first place. Horrific doesn’t even accurately describe this event.
But I am going to take this opportunity to discuss having a medical trauma kit. And I don’t mean for doctors, nurses or paramedics – I mean for everyday ordinary people like you and me. I have never thought about the personal need or desire for a trauma kit until I attended “Wo-Man Camp” training last month and had the opportunity to learn about its benefits and some useful techniques for helping save lives without advanced medical training. We focused on gun shot wounds and active shooter scenarios in this particular workshop, learning how and when to apply a tourniquet (and when not to), which I had never learned before. I left that training with an understanding of the value of having a kit and/or at least some of the tools handy and how to effectively use them. If you watched interviews of the “ordinary heroes” after the Las Vegas shooting, many of them were driving by in their cars when they saw injured people running, and they gave them shelter and protection in their vehicles. Having a trauma kit handy in the back of the car would have proved highly beneficial.
I ordered my trauma kit from Voodoo Tactical, and it provided a decent foundation and a sturdy, practical bag. It measures about 8x6x4 inches stuffed and weighs slightly over a pound since I’ve added a few things. It came with the following:
- medical tape
- burn gel
- ammonia inhalant
- safety pins
- first aid instructions
I added what I felt were important ingredients, including:
- Sharpie (to write tourniquet application time)
- eye wash
- alcohol swabs
- antibiotic ointment
- additional burn gel pads
- additional gloves
I’ll be honest, it’s unlikely I’ll be carrying my trauma kit with me everywhere I go, it’s just unrealistic given its bulk and size (about the size of a small woman’s purse). But I absolutely will keep this kit in my car at ALL times because at the very least in some situations, assuming the danger is eliminated, I may be able to run to my car and back with the kit and provide necessary intervention before first responders have a chance to. I may also throw a tourniquet in my handbag, as it’s really no bigger than a small hairbrush, and that’s something much easier to carry than a complete kit. It was a relatively small investment to make, but it’s something I think every home should have, along with some basic knowledge on how to use its ingredients. I’ll also definitely be taking this with me each and every time I go to the gun range, on hikes, camping, kayaking, bike riding, etc. – throw it into my daypack, and I’m prepared and good to go!
I’ll also be taking some basic civilian medical training courses as well, but in the meantime here’s a good instructional video on how to apply a tourniquet, and there are many more you can find as well on YouTube. In the end, it’s better to have the knowledge, materials and skills than not. And as always, stay ready, stay prepared and above all stay safe!