Outside of the home, there are only a couple of places where we spend most of our time. At work, possibly at school, if the age group applies, and lastly, our vehicles. It's this last location where today's focus will be centered. We advocate for preparedness in all things, and it seems one of the most often overlooked items is a vehicle first aid kit. We're not talking about having the generic first aid kit that one gets as part of a package when they buy jumper cables from Wal-Mart. No, we're talking about a purpose-built, dedicated set up to be utilized when needed most. While there are thousands of blogs and videos on this subject, we want to show you what we carry in our vehicles and speak about WHY we have the items we do. Hopefully, this will serve as your guide towards building your tailored med bag.
We had a considerable amount of debate amongst our team on what they feel should be in these bags before writing this article. Some team members advocated for a much more substantial kit and to carry a near combat trauma style loadout. Others are more nuanced and have only been carrying some dime-store mish-mash stuff.
There is a point that should be obvious to you. The items in your aid bag are going to reflect the level of training you have. For most people, when asked this question, they will likely have little to no formal training. (This is your wake up call, you can be the baddest dude in the valley, but a little boo boo can bring down the mightiest gunfighter.) They likely have some band-aids, maybe something labeled as sterile gauze and an antiseptic. We've even seen some sets of poorly functioning tweezers and some iodine. In the case of a vehicle accident, it's far more likely to encounter someone with traumatic injuries if they need immediate aid.
Common items our crew carries are as follows:
• Kerlix Gauze 4-6 rolls (4.5in x 4.1 yards)
• Trauma dressing 6" x 2 dressings
• Ace bandage x 2
• Hyfin chest seal x 2
• Tourniquet (CAT style) x 2
• Nasopharyngeal airway (NPA )+ lube x 1
• Surgical gloves x 5 sets
• CPR mask x 1
• Trauma Shears x 1
• Headlamp x 1
• Bandaids x 1 box
• Neospirin x 1 tube
• Ibuprofen/Tylenol/Benadryl/Aspirin x 2ea single dose packets (Think hotel lobby or Airport size)
• Isopropyl alcohol x 1 bottle (~4oz)
• Athletic or surgical tape x 1 roll
The above items can help save someone critically injured until the professional medical personnel arrive and will be able to last for a few hours in the event of a delay. They're worthless however, if the operator or someone else in the vehicle cannot find or does not know how to implement in these circumstances.
The second and equally important thing to think about is organization. The items should be in one easy to open bag that consolidates like items that can be labeled or easily described to someone other than the owner. You want it to be easily accessible and found in a hurry by an assistant. Ideally, you would have your gauze in one group with the chest seals, tourniquets, and emergency dressings in another hemorrhage control group. Gloves, CPR mask, and trauma shears should all be easily identified items and accessible because those are some of the first "go-to" tricks in the bag. The non-emergency stuff like the antibiotics, Band-aids, Neosporin, and alcohol would make up the last group.
There are many companies out there that do great work and have already consolidated, ready to purchase kits. North American Rescue, Dark Angel medical, and many others all provide quality equipment ready to use kits. Think through the problem. Think about where your skills are currently at and where they are possibly lacking. Don't just take our word for it, do your research, find better kit or multi-purpose stuff that is more economical and send us the info so we can all get a little bit better and just maybe be able to do the right thing at the critical moment.