What should I carry in my trauma kit is a phrase that hits my inbox often. It is also common in comment boxes across survival sites. Carrying the right tools in your trauma kit can be the difference between life and death, but it would be impossible to do this without knowing what these tools are in the first place.
Note that carrying the appropriate trauma kit for the occasion is also very important. A well-stocked mini EDC trauma kit will be hardly sufficient in a scenario that requires an overt carry trauma kit.
In essence, there are two essentials when carrying trauma kits: the right type and the ideal tools.
Let’s see the tools that should make their way to your trauma kit.
6 Essential Items To Carry In Your Trauma Survival Kit
Hemostatic gauze is not a term you come across often, is it? Anyway, it is a type of gauze that contains hemostatic agents like Celox, Chitosan, and QuikClot, all of which are helpful for rapid clotting. Every medical professional surely believes that hemostatic agents have saved thousands of lives. Hemostatic-impregnated gauze has an advantage over powders, and it’s that the latter can be difficult to use when in an extreme situation. Wind can blow the powder into your eyes, or it may spill onto the ground, but these are not issues with impregnated gauze.
Nasopharyngeal Airway and Lubricant
A blocked airway, bleeding, and shock are the leading causes of death from trauma wounds, respectively. So, the first thing you want to do when a victim has been shot is to establish an airway if it has been compromised. A patient with a sealed-off airway, either due to trauma or swelling, will rarely be alive when help arrives. The nasopharyngeal airway is the perfect tool to open a blocked airway. To use it, lubricate with its lubricant and insert it in one of your nostrils. Use the larger one if one is larger than the other.
A medical tape is necessary to strengthen chest seals and can be used in several other roles too. When shopping for a medical tape, I suggest a 2” wide model, as it is wide enough for the seal and adheres better than a 1” take. Keep in mind that a trauma condition is serious, so do not opt for the cheapest items you can lay your hands on, although expensiveness does not necessarily mean quality.
Trauma Shears are necessary in your kit. They are what to use if you have to cut through flesh and are much more effective than ordinary shears. I suggest 5.5” shears over 7.5” shears since they take less space in your kit. The choice is yours, though.
You have to put on gloves when conducting treatment for trauma wounds. A light-colored glove is preferable to a dark-colored model because you can see the blood on the former if you have to touch it when conducting triage.
Basically, these are chloride wipes and a bag for disposing of unhealthy items. You would agree that blood and other bodily fluid-soaked bandages are far from healthy to keep just anyhow. Chloride wipes meanwhile help to disinfect your hands after operating. These items occupy very little space in your kit, so there’s no reason not to include them.
Other Items to Include
While a basic trauma kit is complete enough if it contains the essentials we’ve listed above, a larger or medical specialty kit would need more. Also, the purpose of the kit determines what goes into it.
Rx Pain Meds
Consult a medical expert first before including this. Military personnel use Fentanyl tablets to ease the chronic pain that comes with gunshot wounds, but they do so strictly based on prescriptions. While these meds can prevent shock and relieve some of the agonizing pain, it can lead to death if used inappropriately.
Wounds to the chest may be accompanied by tension pneumothorax, and you’d need needle decompression if this is the case. Come with chest darts to use for this operation, although you have to first undergo training. It is a fairly easy process that can go wrong if done carelessly.
Certain trauma survival kits for the Air Force include this self-adherent tape. You can use a camo-like tape like CoBan dressings, and they are much easier to store. Unlike CoBan dressings, this tape does not become useless if crushed or compressed and does not have to be kept in drawers for preservation.
These are very effective multipurpose bandages to have in your first-aid trauma kit. When they are unavailable, you can use a bandana or similar items for their roles
This medical cravat has been in use for about a century and has surprisingly retained its usefulness. It’s just an olive drab cravat and two safety pins. There are guides on how to use it on the packaging.
These are used in Air Force trauma kits. It is antimicrobial and water-repellent.
A primed gauze is about 4.1 yards long and contains 4-5” gauze that’s packed into a flat mini-block. This tool, alongside a tape and SWAT-T medical device, can help in dressing plenty of injuries. It can make the difference in cases where the victim was shot multiple times.
It is advisable to include emergency kits in larger trauma kits as they help to keep the victim from going into shock.
A petrolatum gauze works similarly to a chest seal and is much cheaper. It is an occlusive dressing used to seal penetrating chest injuries. They are not used for burn treatments because tissue can get damaged if they seal in heat. You can only apply this gauze after burns have completely cooled.
Carry these in your mass casualty kit to arrange the order of priority for patients. This helps to know who to transport for more professional help first.
Conclusion — So, What Should I Carry In My Trauma Kit?
Apparently, we have convincingly answered the question, “what should I carry in my trauma kit.” I’m not asking you to become a medical expert, but with this article, you should know what to recommend when people ask similar questions. What do you think I’ve missed? Use the comment box.