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A Controversial View

Discussion in 'First Aid Station' started by DavyJ, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. DavyJ

    DavyJ Loaded Pockets

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    Hi there EDCers!

    Some of you may have noticed me thrashing around on here about FAK pouches and so forth. I am one of those guys that will worry at a decision - not unlike the proverbial dog with its favourite bone - and more often than not will talk myself out of a rash choice.

    And so it is with FAKs. After much (almost too much) thought on putting together a pouch/bag/kit to throw into my work bag, I have decided... to not bother carrying a FAK at all.

    Let me explain:

    I work in a small city - tiny by US standards, but small for New Zealand. Everything I need to carry out basic first aid is all around me every day. We don't have gun carry here so major sucking chest wounds and other similar nasties are exceptionally rare, and most often seen in specialised working areas like construction sites (and pretty darned rare there too). And emergency services are literally less than 5 minutes away.

    CPR? Needs no equipment. Mask not required. Compressions only (I think this is currently en vogue).

    Airways? If you're not properly trained you shouldn't be inserting anything down a casualty's throat.

    Broken bones needing a splint? You (the casualty) normally have two of most things - i.e you have built in splints. If you break both your legs/arms... well, I'm not going to moving you anywhere unless your life is in danger.

    Lacerations? Most of us are already wearing our dressings.


    In the 30 years since I trained as an Army medic I have attended (off-duty and later in civilian life) just one major emergency: I was first person on scene at one fatal traffic incident. Everything else has fallen into the category of boo boo.

    I feel that while it is nice to have all this fancy equipment, for me and my current environment the only real tool I need is a cutting edge. Improvisation is good enough for just about everything else.

    Of course, when I head out into the backcountry I will be taking a good FAK, but I see no need to tote it around every day at work. I'll still have a small selection of band-aids, tape and stuff in my bag somewhere (actually in my Fatty), though it is not exactly what you would call an organised kit.

    It'll be interesting to hear what other members here think of this. I would not be at all surprised if what I have said here is somewhat polarising.
     
  2. Narcosynthesis

    Narcosynthesis Loaded Pockets

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    When I carry a FAK I don't carry one for the huge life ending problems - as you said, things like CPR or the recovery position don't need equipment, and things like massive trauma or big wounds are going to be far out of my level of knowledge or requiring bulkier and more specialised equipment I don't want to carry daily for the 0.001% chance of needing it.

    What I do carry as a FAK are the little things for small problems - basic plasters, small bandages and the like suitable for cleaning up after the more minor, but far more regular minor injuries, a few paracetamol for when you get stuck with a headache somewhere inconvenient and so on. Minor scale maybe, but very handy to have none the less.

    If I ever come across something that is more serious than a small kit like mine, then it is serious enough to be calling in the professionals and using whatever is to hand to cope until they get there.
     
  3. JHGM

    JHGM Dinosaur Supervisor

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    I think perhaps your controversial view... isn't.

    Realistic is more like it.

    Good call.
     
  4. AK Adventurer

    AK Adventurer Ice, Ice, Tigre

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    Good for you! As long as your comfortable with your choice, thats all that matters. :cool:

    IMO, Jarhead hit it pretty much right on, IMO, you are using a very Realistic view/approach.

    I'm also in a pretty small town, and a Huge rural community around it; Quite the opposite scenario, Help here is usually a minimum 20 to 30 minutes away, or worse for where I live, and work a lot...

    Even so, Quite honestly, I've always found the concept rather pointless. Especially in on person or bag carry. Even anything I could carry in the truck. IMO if anything happens that is bad enough to need a FAK, then its bad enough a FAK isn't going to do any good for you, unless its the size of a small truck and you are( or have instant access to) a trained paramedic/ER doctor. So I just don't bother. If its small enough I can take care of it with a couple bandaids/small bandages, then its small enough to ignore for a few hours till I can get home.

    I Do carry a few doses of pain meds, but that more of normal maintenance on my chronic back/hip pain/arthritis, than it it first aid.
     
    Last edited by AK Adventurer, Mar 1, 2014
  5. Tacmedic79

    Tacmedic79 Loaded Pockets

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    As a paramedic I'm almost relieved to see this post. If you have training then by all means do as much as you can, but without it I've seen bad situations made much worse by "toys". In most bad calls all I actually need is a good set of extra hands willing to help when we need to move someone. You have an excellent point about improv also. Good post bro!
     
  6. Hi its me

    Hi its me Loaded Pockets

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    I have some gauze,celox and a 6 inch isreali battle bandage in my bag.Other than that it's just little stuff for really cuts,bites etc
     
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  7. DavyJ

    DavyJ Loaded Pockets

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    Interesting responses. I actually anticipated getting flamed to death, but once again I am impressed by the well-measured reasoning of the members here.

    I couldn't help but start to think that large FAKs were more the peccadillo of End-of-the-Worlders and other Catastrophists rather than the average EDCer. Obviously if you are a healthcare professional or work/play in high risk/warranted areas then it makes sense to have an appropriately well-stocked FAK.

    Ultimately I believe that if people get trained and have regular practice sessions to hone their skills, it will become apparent to them that a large FAK is not really that essential in the urban environment. If you're trained and feel the need/desire to carry a large FAK around... well, it's a free choice. If you are not trained then ask yourself in all honesty what you have it for.

    I'm not trying to have a dig at anyone. However, I would like to raise awareness a little on the subject of training versus equipment. I also think there is a danger that we may inadvertently encourage inexperienced people to buy inappropriate equipment because of the perceived excitement/glamour of it all.

    Again, thanks for the considered responses. It really is most refreshing.
     
  8. JHGM

    JHGM Dinosaur Supervisor

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    Sorry to disappoint you...

    :biggrin:
     
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  9. kertap75

    kertap75 EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I don't carry a FAK, just a couple of bandages and some otc meds. I have a kit in the car, one in the bathroom, and there is usually one within a few steps at work. When I was younger and didn't have my own car (and worked a different job where I could carry a bag) I had a FAK all the time. Having to depend on other people and public transportation made my life rather unpredictable. And leading a more active lifestyle bumps and bruises were more common. If I was still caring a bag every day I would probably still have a FAK of some kind in it mostly because a decent kit to fit my skill level could be built cheaply and takes up little space.
     
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  10. DannyX

    DannyX Loaded Pockets

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    My "work FAK" is limited to a 6-inch piece of band-aid cut from a 10-foot roll. Can be cut into usable small strips by the carpet knife I carry with me.
    The only thing really life-saving in a civilization scenario that could be put to use by an "amateur" IMO would be an Israeli bandage or something comparable.
     
  11. SAKplumber
    • In Omnia Paratus

    SAKplumber EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    None of my FAKs are grand enough that I can't use them with the skill I have.

    The EDC FAK is just for booboos, really, as I can get medical care within 15 minutes of my location at any point in the city for anything more serious. My 'non-city' FAK is really just a glorified Booboo kit since I lack the training to do much more than it can allow anyway.

    Carrying anything more is just plain carrying more. I don't carry stuff just for the sake of carrying it.
     
  12. kertap75

    kertap75 EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    ....I did learn one thing about medical care at work recently. Three times in the last 2 months I have seen people wait 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive (once I was the one waiting). One of my co-workers almost died because of it. The hospital is only 3 blocks away. Next time I have a real emergency I'll crawl to my car if I have to. No way in hell am I waiting like that again
     
  13. Knightrock
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Knightrock EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Good thought provoking thread
     
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  14. Mumbojumboo
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

    Mumbojumboo EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Every few years I buy a REI FAK and just throw it in whatever .........not much thought.
     
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  15. FL Woods Bum
    • In Omnia Paratus

    FL Woods Bum Your Grace!

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    I would never flame you DavyJ! ;)

    Unfortunately my life takes me from highly populated areas to sparsely populated areas quite often, so I prepare for the worst case scenario the best I can. I have spent quite a bit of time insuring that I can effectively use the items in my kit and when I am unsure about something I want to add to it I bend my sister's ear (she is a surgeon). I certainly do not attempt to play EMT on anyone else, my kit is for me when there is absolutely no other alternative to getting professional care.

    I can definitely see your view on having the basics with you in the environment you are in and I think if it works for you then it's the right choice. Each scenario is different and rarely will one choice work for everyone, which is why I am never harsh regarding other people's decisions.
     
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  16. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    Above anything else, this, because we are all free to go our own way.

    Also true. And while I admire EMTs and all the rest of you real life heroes, truly, I do, we are all responsible for our own safety and security. So, just like we are all free to go our own way, so too do we have a duty to be self-reliant because EMTs, LEOs and all the rest are not always going to get to you in time to help.

    Of course you shouldn't be performing procedures you are not competent to perform, but we should all be better trained to take care of our own dang selves.

    Anyone one who was seen my bag knows that I have some boo boo stuff in an Altoids tin (I have kids) but that I also have what I believe is the minimal amount of trauma gear I need for a bad day.

    As a NZ Army medic, you probably have enough training to carry and do more than you are, DavyJ. Plus, with that background, I know you know people can bleed out in less than 5 minutes, so why you would consider a 5 minute response time in you thinking about what you need to have on you perplexes me.

    I get that NZ is a very peaceful place where there are basically no guns so you would think that "major sucking chest wounds" would forever remain a very rare event, but evil exists even in the most peaceful places and people don't need guns do kill their fellow travelers.

    Today in China, 28 people were killed and 113 were seriously injured (at last count) by a mob of knife wielding crazies. I wonder how many of the victims had any ability whatsoever to render self or buddy aid? Not many, I guess, and that's really too bad.

    I'm not an expert on NZ, but I'm pretty sure y'all have knives and people, so...

    Furthermore, car accidents happen every day. Just because you've only been at the scene of one in 30 years, doesn't mean the next one you come across or are personally involved in isn't going to happen today.
     
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  17. DavyJ

    DavyJ Loaded Pockets

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    A correction: I was trained as a British Army Medic. I appreciate and respect your views on this, and thank you for them.

    What exactly are you saying though? Yes, a CAT is a nice bit of kit but I wear a belt most days, and so do a lot of other people wandering around the streets. In this sense I am already carrying a vital piece of equipment. Do I need two?

    The 5 minute response time was pointed out because in general I just need to keep someone alive for 5 minutes, i.e. until the ambo gets here, and I can do that without any special equipment whatsoever.

    Everything else from the China news onward is not an argument for carrying a first aid kit. What it is, however, is an argument for getting properly trained. And this, I think, is at the heart of why I started this thread. Without training a first aid/trauma kit is an invitation to do more harm. With training, in an urban environment, you don't really need to carry an extensive kit.

    I divide first aid situations into two categories.

    1. Life threatening.
    2. Everything else.

    I had to assume, in coming to these forums, that all the people carrying stuff like celox were doing so because they were either in service or were Americans and thus covering the likelihood of gunshot injuries - given that gun carry is largely prevalent across the US. Please note I am not bashing the US on this. And if there is an alternative explanation for carrying celox and similar items then please take the time to educate me. I would appreciate that.

    And bear in mind I am talking about urban settings here. If you are out wild pig hunting - it's done in New Zealand with dogs and knives, I guess some of you do the same? - or other hunting type trips then that kind of FAK gear is going to be good sensible idea.

    As I have stated before, I am not trying to tell anyone what to do, and neither am I denying free choice. I am simply stating my opinions on what I think is a sensible and realistic approach to first aid in an urban environment.

    Incidentally, I have been at the scene of 2 car accidents, but the other one was when my car was totalled by an inattentive driver while I was sat waiting for the lights to change. To give an idea, my spare (in the boot/trunk) ended up going through his engine compartment and embedded in the compartment bulkhead. Needless to say I wasn't in the best condition to render first aid to anyone. How the other driver totally escaped injury remains a mystery. Overall I was less than impressed by the incident.

    At the other scene one driver was killed on impact and the other was still alive but died before the emergency teams could get there because his vehicle was so crushed that I couldn't access him to render aid plus the trauma was extensive and probably beyond my ability to stabilise in any meaningful way. That still stings all these years later, but you live with it.
     
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  18. Hi its me

    Hi its me Loaded Pockets

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    I carry celox incase i get an major cut,it never occured to me to use it for gunshot wounds,i have an israeli battle bandage for cuts/gunshot wounds.


    "The 5 minute response time was pointed out because in general I just need to keep someone alive for 5 minutes, i.e. until the ambo gets here, and I can do that without any special equipment whatsoever."

    In response to this please read post number 12 from Kertap75,waiting for the ambulance or the "proffesionals" can get you killed.
     
    Last edited by Hi its me, Mar 1, 2014
  19. DavyJ

    DavyJ Loaded Pockets

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    I saw that and was aware of it. An important part of any good training for first response is situational awareness. If I was living in Shanghai, for instance, I wouldn't be expecting the emergency services to arriving any time soon (from personal experience of living there), if at all. In my current city it would be extremely unusual to have more than a 5 minute wait. I actually work about 400m from the nearest Emergency Centre - so my statement stands if it is understood in the context of situational awareness.

    Look, we can play the "what if" game all day long. I find it largely unproductive and often ends with more and more unlikely scenarios being trotted out.

    There comes a point when it is reasonable to say "I have everything I need to act". For me this speaks more to my knowledge and skills and less to any gear I carry - I'd say about 90 -10 split. As I am urban most of the time I don't need much at all. Which is just as well as I am certainly not going to shoulder a full medical pack for my lunchtime foray to the supermarket (800m away) on the off chance there might be a major incident along the way. If something really unusual did happen I would make do with what I could lay my hands on at the time.

    From a situational perspective, in its simplest form, the further you are from professional aid the greater the need for improved and extended skills and equipment

    You cannot be prepared for everything, but you can be well-prepared for the kind of situations that are more common in our daily lives in general.

    Take away message: Get trained. Forget about the equipment.
    I know it's not sexy but...
     
  20. Jonb74

    Jonb74 Loaded Pockets

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    I carry a few Band-Aids, antiseptic wipes, pain reliever and that's about it. I have two small boys so FAK is stuff to take care of their boo boos :)
     
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