Sunday, May 20, 2012

Help be build this medical kit... (Hey Kelly!)

Yesterday at the Appleseed clinic, one of the instructors hung a military style medic bag off the canopy pole ( you know... the tri-fold type with all the kewl pockets and fancy whojowasits). I looked the kit over, and compared it to my own piddly nods towards carrying a 'medical kit' ... a couple Israeli trauma bandages and...... um..... er.... well......... a bottle of water?

I've had the thought for some time that I needed to build an emergency medical kit and keep it in my vehicle. Something a little more formal than the few items I shove in spare nooks now. Looking at the bag that Army trained medic brought with him to the Appleseed clinic, the urge solidified... and I've begun the job.

Honestly, my first thought was "Get a kewl medic bag full of kewl medic stuff like the kewl Army Medic guy had!" Sure... that's it.... buy an expensive kit full of really great gear..... that I have no idea how to use. The image came to mind of me sitting on the ground next to some poor doomed accident victim, the fancy tri-fold bag open in my lap, and me just staring at it wondering it wasn't leaping up and fixing the guy on it's own.

My last formal first aid slash medical 'training' was in the Boy Scouts,
mumble mumble years ago. For all intents, I've had no training at all. On the other hand, I've had a lifetime in an industry where injuries are a daily occurrence, and all mechanics have first aid supplies in their tool box. I've patched cut, slashed, smashed, burned, stabbed, and smacked people... including myself. I've had ER docs unwrap my work, compliment me on the job, re-bandage it exactly as I had done, and send me off with a hefty bill. In other words, I'm better than nothing... but just barely.

With that in mind, I figured I'd build a medical kit that played towards what I can actually do, rather than one stuffed full of gear I don't know how to use.

You people is SCHMART.... and I'm asking for your thoughts on what should be in the bag. I'll list what I have so far (Amazon links so you can see what I mean), and things such as analgesics, sunscreen, and bug spray go without saying.... but feel free to chip them in anyway.

Military Cotton Canvas Ammo Shoulder Messenger Bag

BD Alcohol Swabs Thicker, Softer, 100 Individually Foil Wrapped

Braunamid Synthetic Suture / Needle Combinations - 45 cm - 2/0 - Medium

Kerlix Type Gauze Rolls 4"X4 yds, Sterile, 4/bag

Ammonia Inhalant 33 cc 10 per box

Betadine Swab Aid Antiseptic Pads, 10% Povidone, 100/bx

Betadine Solution, Antiseptic, 8 fl oz

Bandage Scissors EMT Paramedic Medical Tool Red 7.25"

Quikclot Sport Brand Advanced Clotting Sponge ,Stop Bleeding Fast, 50 Gram Package

New Israeli Battle Dressing, 6-inch Compression Bandage

Band-Aid Brand Adhesive Bandages, Assorted Sizes, Variety Pack, 280 Count

Obviously, this all leans towards wound treatment, which is foremost on my mind. But what about allergic reactions? Bee stings? Benadryl, but what form? What pain relievers would be best, besides the obvious Tylenol and Ibuprofen?

Help me out here, all you smart people!


Phillip said...

I can see a couple of things I carry in my emergency bag that you don't:

Big thing: Latex or Nitrile (I prefer the Nitrile) gloves. I get the large 100 pack box, then use little sandwich Ziploc bags to break them up and put some here, some there, and so forth. You'll want more than one pair in your bag, and unless you go overboard you can't have too many. Try to do the Ziploc part with clean hands in a clean environment, but the important thing when using them is that your cuts and scrapes don't contact someone else's open wounds.

A bottle of saline solution, I get the large bottle from the aisle where you get contact solution. This works as an eye wash as well as wound irrigation.

One or more of the emergency splints, the foam covered metal things that you can bend to use in a bunch of different ways.

A couple of those foil space blankets. Good for shock, good for getting stuck in cold weather.

The other thing I did when putting my kit together was to think about the last year's outings, and the things that were forgotten and could make a large difference to a day of fun. Then I put in sunblock, a bottle of aloe vera, travel sickness pills and ginger pills, some ibuprofen, and so forth. When my son was teething, I carried ora-jel for him. Any miscellaneous OTC medication that we use routinely but are likely to forget.

Of course, my 'kit' that rides in my car is essentially designed to deal with little inconveniences of a day away from home as well as trauma.

Oh yes... Ice packs and heating packs are excellent for pain, you just have to know which to use when.

Carteach said...

Good thoughts. I put a few more things on the list...

East Of The Pecos said...

4X4 gauze sponges. You can never have too many when the red stuff starts flowing. They don't all have to be sterile, but some should be.

A pocket mask for mouth-to-mouth. If you are giving MTM and the patient pukes (and they almost always do) you'll be real glad you have it.

A triangle bandage or 3 along with a few diaper size safety pins. Handy for making a sling, tying a splint, or a hundred other uses.

Butterfly wound closures. They just look more professional than duct tape.

A tube of decorative cake icing. Comes in real handy if someone goes into diabetic shock and it's a lot cheaper than the prepackaged medical dextrose.

A couple of chemical ice packs.

A cheap stethoscope and a BP cuff. Guys of our "certain age" should have anyway, along with the knowledge to use it.

If you don't wear a watch that has a second hand, put a cheap wind-up one in the bag. it's essential for taking vital signs.

Being a former Lancasterian (read: Cheap PA Dutchman), most of these can be had for free if you know an EMT or Paramedic. They can get all they want at the hospital's ER supply room.

Carteach said...


Whoa that I don't know a EMT who would do such a thing for me.

I'll have to build my own kit.

Thomas said...


I would suggest dividing the bag into two sections, or carry two smaller bags. One a medical kit for cuts/burns/etc, and the other a "blowout kit" for serious bleeding gunshot wounds (to be brought along on range trips).

The medical kit can have all kinds of stuff, as limited or as broad as you have $ and room in the bag for. Certainly gloves, bandaids and bandage material, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic, etc.

Trauma or "blowout" kit would have more gloves and tourniquet, Israeli-type bandage, some quick-clot or celox, and if you're trained for it (I'm not) stuff for sucking chest wounds and needles for relieving tension pneumothorax.

Anyone gets hurt, the medical bag comes out. If someone's in danger of bleeding to death before the ambulance arrives, then break out the trauma kit.

Chinook Medical is one online place that has a lot of this stuff that goes beyond the scope of a neighborhood drugstore.

Carteach said...


Sound advice. I had thought of dividing the kit into useful sections or sub/kits. Makes sense.

og said...

I have a lot of the above stuff in my kit, which stays in the truck. it occupies a small pack.

it also helps me deal with day to day stuff, too, so I keep in it a tube of Cortisone ointment. A tube of Prep H. An emergency dental filling kit,you don't want to KNOW how many times I've had to use that. I really like the cake icing thing too. I also keep 4-0 silk sutures, because sometimes it's me I'm sewing, and sometimes that means sewing with one hand and holding the end of the suture in my teeth while I knot it. The 4-0 makes that easier, and they don't cost any more, really.