Intro: IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit)
There are some very good First Aid kits on the market today, unfortunatly, in my opinion, they are either,
A: Too expensive
B: Don't have enough supplies
C: Have supplies you will never need or use.
For these reasons and years spent treating all kinds of traumatic injuries as first a solider then as an NREMT-P and finally as a contactor I put together IFAK's for every member of my family.
I did remove a couple of things from the kit for this Instructable, such as oral and nasal airways, and needle decompression kits, because without proper training in their use you can do more harm then good.
Each of the IFAK's I put together for my family has both oral and nasal airways, sized to the person whose kit it is, and needle decompression kits in them.
I was able to put together six (6) of these kits, as pictured, for under $30.
Step 1: PPE (Personal Protective Equipmet)
Each IFAK has two (2) pairs of black nitrile gloves, I used black gloves because of working in a tactical enviroment for so long. I got 100 pairs of these gloves at AutoZone for under $10. Hand sanitizer is a must in my book, both in wipe form and liquid form. You can use the wipes to not only clean your hands but they are also safe for cleaning small scrapes and cuts. Keeping further contamination out of the wound, not to mention someone elses blood off of your hands (if you are treating someone else), is important at all times but even more so in a survival situation when you may not be able to get to a hospital.
Step 2: Wound Dressing
Every kit I have seen has Band-Aid's in it, in quite a few that is all they have. Band-Aid's are one of the greatest things since sliced Wonder Bread as far as I am concerned, at least as far as covering and protecting small cuts,scrapes, and blisters area concerned. For larger wounds 2x2's and 3x4's or 4x4's are the "go to" dressings for trauma. For wounds that the smaller dressings won't cover I use a military field dressing simply because I had a rather large box of them I brought back from my last deployment. You can use Maxi-Pads in a pinch, they are sterile and highly absorbent.
Step 3: More Wound Dressing and Wound Closure
Once you have the wound covered with your 2x2's or 3x4's you will need to secure them to the wound. For small scrapes I prefer just to tape the dressing in place, I use 1" water-proof medical tape. 4" strile roll gauze is used for wounds that need complete coverage. For wounds that require a pressure dressing to get bleeding under control I use a self-adhesive, ACE type bandage. For wounds that require closure to control bleeding I use super glue. I have seen kits that have suture kits in them, and I have those in my large kit, but unless you are Rambo you are not going to want to stick a needle into your flesh over and over again to close a wound. It hurts, a lot! And if you are pressed for time (in a fire fight, running for your life, etc) you won't have the time even if you are Rambo. A couple drops of super glue directly in the wound and pushing the skin closed seals the wound in a matter of seconds plus super glue has the added benefit of causing the blood to clot. The only down side is that it does burn a little and you could stick your fingers to the wound if you aren't caeful. I have butterfly closures in my large kit but have left them out of the IFAK because they are better suited to wound closure when you are not in the field.
Step 4: Stop the Bleeding
When direct pressure and elevation just won't stop the bleeding or when you have deep wounds that you just have to get the bleeding stopped I use use Celox. Celox is just like Quick Clot only about 75% cheaper. It works just as well, if not better then Quick Clot without as much of the "burning" feeling you get with Quick Clot. One package of Celox will stop aterial bleeding in less then a minute and venious bleeding in a matter of seconds. It can be left in the wound, if needed, when you close the wound, something you can't do with Quick Clot.
Step 5: Cravats
Cravats are a must have in any IFAK. They can be used for everything from making a sling for an injuried arm, to tying a splint on a limb, to being used a tourniquet, to being used as a head wrap.
Step 6: Meds and Misc Stuff
Cotton balls can be used to clean off a wound or scrape if doused with hand sanitizer from your bottle or as additional cushioning matriel for blisters. I have Denta-Picks because I like to be able to at least feel like I am cleaning my teeth. Q-Tips can be used for cleaning deep wounds when doused with sanitizer or for cleaning your ears. While I don't recomend pain medication of any kind for traumatic injuries IF you are within reach of a hospital, in a survival situation pain management will help a great deal. I pack Tylenol and Ibuprofen for limited pain management. I personaly get "heart burn" occasionally and because I do I pack Tums and Zantac. Diahrea can be a killer in a survival situation so some Imodium AD is handy to help control diahrea. I carry potasium gluconate tablets to help with cramps.
there is a "space balnket" in each kit to help mantain body temperature and a 12"x12" sheet of aluminium foil and a similar sized peice of saran wrap to provide an air-tight seal for any penitrating chest trauma.
Step 7: IFAK Case
I pack the IFAK in the same pouch I carry my survival kit in. I added a small red cross to the outer flap of the case so anyone can tell the two cases apart.
Things to remember:
With any serious traumatic injury follw your ABC's
A-Airway- Secure it and keep it open!
B-Breathing- Keep them breathing!
C-Circulation- Stop the bleeding!
Proper training will beat dumb luck 99.9% of the time.
Always use your buddies first aid supplies on him and not yours, you don't know when you will get resupplied or if you are going to need them.
I look forward to seeing your comments and sugestions!
Train to survive!