Look at most everyday carry (EDC) lists on the Internet and you are likely to see a cell phone for communications, a knife or multi-tool for personal defense and odd jobs, a flashlight for illumination, and maybe a firearm. Rarely does one find anything to deal with a traumatic injury, even on the lists of experienced preppers. A “good guy with a gun,” may be able to stop an active shooter or terrorist, but it takes a truly prepared person with a trauma kit to save lives during and in the immediate aftermath of an attack. In addition to training in CPR, making a basic trauma kit part of your EDC can make you a lifesaver.
The videos of scenes immediately following attacks in Las Vegas, Paris, Brussels, London and elsewhere all have one thing in common: they show victims bleeding to death and in need of immediate medical attention that is not present. A person will bleed to death within 10-15 minutes following a traumatic injury.
During the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, it took emergency medical services approximately 30 minutes to arrive at the scene and police 75 minutes to subdue the shooter. Even after arriving, the work of EMS was hindered by the need to keep a distance between their ambulances and the wounded for an additional 2 hours while police secured the area.
The experience shows that we cannot and should not expect help to arrive in time to save ourselves or our loved ones if the unthinkable happens. Making a basic trauma kit part of our EDC however, can help us “stop the bleeding and start the breathing” to buy us enough time to make it to professional medical attention alive.
A basic trauma kit should include:
- Nitrile Gloves – to protect the caregiver from blood-borne illness.
- Tourniquet – to stop hemorrhaging at extremities.
- Hemostatic Agent or Dressing – to stop hemorrhaging where a tourniquet is not possible or practical.
- Self-Adherent Bandage – to hold dressings in place.
- Occlusive Dressing (2) – to treat open chest wounds.
- Mylar Blanket – to keep the patient warm and minimize the risk of shock.
All of this can fit neatly into a medium-sized makeup bag, packing cube or similar pouch for an organized and discreet carry in a purse or backpack. One additional item that should be considered an essential: proper training.
The time to learn how to use the items in your trauma kit is not when you or someone you care about is injured. It is essential that you prepare yourself by seeking proper instruction in how to apply the tools in your kit and regularly train in doing so while under stress. Increasingly individuals can find instruction through local organizations, private training contractors and, if neither of those is possible, online via instructional videos.
We live in a beautiful world but we are never safe because safety is not an objective reality. It is a subjective feeling based on our experience and environment. The best we can ever hope to be is prepared and more dangerous than whatever we are facing. Including a trauma kit in our EDC and knowing how to use its contents helps us be prepared to face the worst.