Survival Series 1.02 - FAK Retrieval Practice

About: I grew up in downtown Phoenix, moved to California in my youth and was kicked out of the house (Permanently....seriously) for smoking an illegal substance that people smoked in the 60's. I started Backpackin...

Hello and welcome!

In any survival situation it's important to know and practice retrieving your FAK or First Aid Kit. I wanted to go over a few drills that I find helpful in memorising the location of a specific supply in my first aid kit and increasing the speed at which I can retrieve that specific supply.

I will NOT be going over medical procedures nor contents of your medical kit as I don't feel qualified to address or teach such procedures. (Please don't let this stop you from getting with your local hospital or rescue team to learn a few techniques for some of the more common scenarios)


1. Location

2. Injuries of Others

3. Injuries of Self - Upper Body

3.b Injuries of Self - Lower Body

Please remember, the goal hear is to shave off seconds of response time by practising basic movements and repeating them over and over until you feel comfortable with how fast you can withdraw a medical supply from your kit.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Location

Location location location!

It is highly important tokeep your main FAK in a location on your body that is easily accessible by EITHER hand. If your left hand is injured your right hand may not be able to reach your FAK if it is positioned on the left side of your body. For this exact reason I prefer a micro chest rig or front facing fanny pack for most occasions.

The belt I currently run has my FAK located at the front of my body while still allowing a full kneel/squat range of motion. Micro chest rigs like the one in the picture are fantastic for "need now" gear such as your FAK and can be found at tons of online stores including Amazon and Ebay or at your local outfitter for roughly $20 usd.

I practice with this central location with both hands to retrieve medical supplies by removing and replacing it's contents while in a full kneel position or onto the dinner table or island while standing. To replicate injury of one hand or the other I bind my 4 fingers with tape and practice keeping my "injured" hand above my heart while removing and replacing the FAK contents with my "healthy" hand. Switch and repeat as necessary.

Step 2: Injuries of Others

To practice addressing the injuries of others I follow a few steps using a pillow and a hat. I lay the pillow on the ground and place the hat where I deem the "head" of a person would be.

I then:

1. Kneel on the side the "injury" is located with my inside knee (knee closest to the body) bent and my outside knee (knee farthest from the body) touching the ground. This will give you a higher amount of stability without too much risk of falling on the injured person while reaching across their body.

2. The hand closest to the body (same side as the knee that is bent but not touching the ground) is most likely to be busy. IE: Kneeling with the body to my right, my right hand is most likely going to be busy(assessing injuries etc).

When kneeling with the "body" to my right, I practice removing and replacing supplies with my left hand.

When kneeling with the "body" to my left, I practice removing and replacing supplies with my right hand.

3. Stand and kneel several times and even "listen for breathing" or practice "mock CPR" and even practice picking up toothpicks laying on the ground on the other side of the "body" to build the strength in my lower body needed to not fall onto an injured person.

Step 3: Injuries of Self

When practising for medical supply retrieval when I am the injured person I break it down into a filtered step process.

If the injury is on my upper body I:

1. Sit down slowly, usually using a kneeling position to transition into sitting, against a tree or rock if available (the foot of a couch works too). I sit in a position that requires the least amount of neck movement to patch myself up (You'll know the most neutral position after the first or second time you practise sitting). Practice removing and replacing supplies. Often times I will also tape the 4 fingers together from one hand and practice 1 handed retrieval.


2. Kneel on both knees and almost sit on my heels or kneel on one knee against a solid object. (This is primarily for surface injuries where a quick patch and time are of the essence.)

If the injury is on my lower bodyI:

1. Sit down slowly, usually using my upper body to brace/lower myself into a sitting position, against a tree or rock if available (the foot of a couch works too). I sit in a position that requires the least amount of neck movement to patch myself up. Practice removing and replacing supplies. I will also tape the 4 fingers together from one hand and practice 1 handed retrieval.

I hope this 'ible provides some insight to helps you improve speed and accuracy! Stay safe out there :)

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Cardboard Speed Challenge

      Cardboard Speed Challenge
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest

    2 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Some very good tips here ERR. Good job.

    In a medical situation, seconds CAN count. You don't want to be fumbling with gear.

    Just something of interest, i've been told you should practise until you can get a TQ onto yourself (any limb) in 12 seconds.

    Thanks for the Ible,

    - TASM

    1 reply

    Very true since it only takes about a minute or two to bleed out if an artery is hit, precious few seconds to get a Turni on, which is why it pays to have one on hand and not have to mess with unraveling some bracelet. Thanks for the comment :)