Blowout Kits and Why You Need One
If you spend any time participating in an outdoor activity, you know itís a good idea to have a well-stocked first aid kit to deal with any medical emergency you come across out in the field. For the hunter or shooter, the small amount of bulk and weight added by tossing a blow out kit in their gear is probably negligible. I know I would rather have one and not need it, than need it and not have it. It really is one of those things that when you need it, you NEED it.
I picked up an SO Tech IFAK medical pouch at a machine gun shoot at July 2010 for a measly $15. It came with the kit that included a nasopharyngeal airway, a HemCon bandage, and a CAT tourniquet. I got the seller to throw in the three Israeli bandages for another $4, giving me a total of $19 for what you see below as I either had everything else at home or got it for free. I love the pouch; it holds just enough supplies to make me feel like Iím covered for most situations I might find myself in, but it isnít big enough to make me start throwing unneeded gear in there and end up with a 5 pound bag of crap.
My personal blowout kit includes the following:
- Combat Action Tourniquet (CAT tourniquet)
- Trauma shears
- Curved forceps
- 8 safety pins
- Two rolls of Kerlix (4.5in x 4.1yd)
- Two Israeli bandages (6 inch)
- One Israeli bandage (4 inch)
- HemCon bandage (4x4in)
- 28F Nasopharyngeal Airway (w/ surgi-lube)
- Sharpie marker
- SurgiPad (5x9in)
- Five gauze pads (3x3in)
- One gauze pad (2x2in)
- One pair nitrile gloves
There are some things that people may question, like the smaller gauze pads. Getting shot is not like the movies; sucking chest wounds arenít simply solved by a catheter in the chest cavity, allowing the guy to fight the enemy for a few more hours, and exit wounds arenít really the size of a softball (at least with handguns). My personal GSW was simply one small entry hole and one slightly larger exit hole. It didnít bleed a lot, so there was no need for tourniquets or huge wound dressings. The only thing the paramedics put on my arm were a few small gauze pads on each hole and wrapped it with Kerlix before taking me to the helipad at the sheriffís office. If nothing else, you can always use the smaller gauze to pack a wound. The Israeli bandages are great because they can be used on just about any limb or part of the body as a pressure bandage or makeshift tourniquet. There are several different sizes and models, including ones with sliding second pads in the event you have a second wound to treat elsewhere on the body.
The only thing I have no experience with in my kit is the nasopharyngeal airway, and the logic behind leaving it there is that someone may be around that DOES have the experience and the know how to use it. I definitely wouldnít want the NPA shoved in my nasal passage, but it sure beats dying! I usually carry a pair of nitrile gloves in the cargo pocket of my shorts, giving me a pair for myself plus one, if there is another person nearby to assist or I tear a hole in one of the gloves. There are some seriously nasty people out there, and while I wouldnít have any problem working on a family member without gloves, Iím DEFINITELY not doing anything involving other peopleís blood or fluids without gloves on. The few seconds it takes to put them on wonít make a difference in the person living or dying.
The most important part of any first aid kit is the training to use whatever is in the box or bag and PRACTICE. Same rule goes for anything youíll be using in a stressful situation, whether itís a handgun you carry on a daily basis or medical supplies you may need in a hurry some day. I recommend at least basic first responder and CPR certifications as a starter. I got certified when I was in the police academy and intend to seek out more gunshot wound specific training on my own. Even though I had most of the stuff in the list above in my closet when I got shot but completely forgot about it when the time came to need it because I had never trained with it. You donít rise to the level of expectation; you default to your level of training. Get prepared, then get out there and practice!