In this post I will go over the contents of and purpose for each item in the Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK). I will give you details on how it is used and what exactly to use in the kit. But the best equipment in the world won’t do you a bit of good if you don’t know how to use it! Get training!
In my last post I gave you some basic information on what emergency medical care is. If you haven’t already read that post, it can be read here (EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE: Part 2 – What, Why & How).
Right out of the gate I want to let you know that I don’t believe that airway and breathing require equipment at the basic “first aid” level. Get in there, establish an airway and get the person breathing. I believe that to be the most basic of skills and it doesn’t require any equipment at this level. Yes, you can use a rescue breathing mask to prevent the exchange of potentially infectious fluids; but I don’t put them in my kits. I’ve not had good results in using them and I think in a critical situation they might cause a delay or complicate getting breathing started. But the choice is yours; rescue breathing masks are very inexpensive and compact; they can also be invaluable to prevent potentially infected body fluids transferring from the patient to you. I view CPR as a skill vs. an equipment issue.
Mission – Kit provides sufficient appropriate medical supplies to accomplish the following:
• To return the person to activity without additional immediate medical care, or,
• To provide sufficient care that allows them to self-mobilize to more advanced medical treatment, or,
• To prevent death by bleeding.
Requirements & Restrictions:
• Kit is carried by each person in a readily accessible external location.
• You use your kit for yourself, not someone else.
• Kit must be as lightweight as possible but still able to accomplish the mission.
Part 1 of the IFAK is the Blow Out Kit (BOK)
This is subset of an IFAK but I believe it belongs in this category. But hey, if you don’t want to use a Blow Out Kit then just ignore this section.
To stop or slow major bleeding as quickly as possible until you can access your IFAK.
In the external cargo pocket of your pants. When in the outdoors or participating in a disaster response I am a big believer in pants with cargo pockets. I place my BOK in my left front cargo pocket. My family members, buddies and I have adopted the same standard. Why? So while we are sitting around a campfire and my friend goes down because someone mistook him for an elk and shot him, I know right where his BOK is without spending precious time searching for it.
BOK contents are meant to be super simple based on its mission. So the content is a single item:
This bandage is classified as a small for wounds such as gunshot or cuts smaller than 6” in length They come with 2 ties and safety pins.
Tip: Don’t get carried away with “contents” or you will find yourself with a bulky uncomfortable pocket full of stuff. The only thing this is meant to do is to stop bleeding until you can get to an IFAK or higher level emergency medical care kit. And since it is only a single dressing you can always have it on you.
Note: If you are in the field (vs. camp) you should have your IFAK on your person. This BOK is for immediate use around camp when you are not wearing your hunting vest or pack that has your IFAK attached. Or, optionally, you just have to get to that single life-saving bandage faster than you can get into your IFAK.
In the next post in this series I will concentrate on just the IFAK contents and uses. So watch for EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE: Part 3b – Individual First Aid Kit (BOK & IFAK)
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