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First aid item hierarchy (compactness vs usefulness)

Discussion in 'First Aid Station' started by Brewer, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. Brewer

    Brewer Loaded Pockets

    Jun 14, 2014
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    Hi everyone, I'm sure I'm not alone in having juggled different EDC first aid kits over the years, and I'm still tweaking. Obviously it's a difficult thing to pin down in any kind of scientific way, but I thought I'd have a crack at creating a hierarchy of first aid items considering available space.

    I realise different folks will have different priorities and scenarios in mind, but this is my version 1.0. I've listed some common FAK and personal comfort items, and given each a score out of 5 for both 'compactness' and 'usefulness', then added them together to give a total score out of 10 for each item.

    i'd love for this to be a starting point for discussion, so feel free to challenge my scoring or suggest additional items!

    C U T (Compactness/Usefulness/Total)
    5 5 10 Adhesive bandages
    5 4 9 Sanitising swabs
    5 4 9 Tweezers
    4 4 8 Painkillers
    5 3 8 Disposable gloves
    5 3 8 Safety pins
    5 3 8 Plastic bags
    3 4 7 Notepad, pencil, marker
    3 4 7 Tape, adhesive
    3 3 6 First aid booklet
    3 3 6 Eye pads
    3 3 6 Scissors
    3 3 6 Gauze swabs
    3 2 5 Antiseptic liquid
    3 2 5 Sting/itch cream
    4 1 5 Thermometer
    2 2 4 Crepe bandage
    2 2 4 Pad 10cm/4"
    2 2 4 Rescusc face shield
    1 3 4 Israeli bandage
    3 1 4 Antihistamine
    1 3 4 Triangular bandage
    3 1 4 Skin cream hydrocortisone
    2 2 4 Saline or distilled water
    1 2 3 Eye wash & bath
    1 2 3 Pad 20cm/6"
    1 2 3 Shock blanket
  2. Jean

    Jean Loaded Pockets

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Aspirin powder if you're an older guy. 3/5/8
  3. FiaOlleDog

    FiaOlleDog Loaded Pockets

    Oct 27, 2017
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    I like your approach @Brewer - sorting stuff for priority is a good thing, especially if space is limited and one can not take the full FAK, but need to split or leave stuff at home.

    What may be an additional criteria to add is the type of first-aid you expect, and how serious it would be. The later brought me to always carry my trauma kit to address the "3 minutes and 30 minute issues", mostly for stopping (external) bleeding and preventing the casualty from hypothermia. The FAK part is in a separate container and will be added for longer trips.

    Following your CUT rating, sorted most important on top (trauma pack, not FAK):

    On-person carry:
    • 5 3 8 disposable gloves - to take care of other persons (or others taking care of me), Nitril (no latex!) gloves help to remove the aversion to touch body parts when fluids (blood) all over them
    • 5 2 7 cotton bandana - on-person (trouser pocket) carry, can act as a make-shift bandage, etc.; keeping the above mentioned pair of Nitril gloves wrapped in it
    Bag/backpack carry:
    • 5 3 8 disposable gloves - two additional pairs, as a backup if one fails/rips or to enable a bystander
    • 4 4 8 URIEL bandage - for pressure dressing
    • 4 4 8 SWAT tourniquet - if space is limited, or
    • 3 5 8 CAT tourniquet - if more space is available
    • 4 3 7 folded gauze - to fill deep wounds
    • 5 2 7 some bandaids and alcohol swaps - for scratches and minor wounds
    • 3 3 6 mylar (space) blanket with an heating-pack
    • 2 3 5 medical scissors
    • 2 3 5 folded pack of HyFin chest seals
    Last edited by FiaOlleDog, Mar 18, 2019
    #3 FiaOlleDog, Mar 18, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
  4. madkins007

    madkins007 Loaded Pockets

    Oct 26, 2008
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    I'm kinda surprised by the 1-3-4 on the triangular bandage. The versatility of it should bump it up higher on your list- unless you already EDC a nice large bandana.
  5. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Loaded Pockets

    Nov 28, 2018
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    I missed this post, so sorry for being late to the party. Hopefully this won’t come across as confrontational, but you did ask for opinions on your ranking...:D This will be difficult to compare, because as you said, our intended use for the kit will greatly impact our ranking system. For instance, I can immediately tell from your ranking system that you are not expecting trauma. Your kit is focused on what I’d refer to as “snivel gear”, which is not a diss, it’s just a different goal than I have when I creat an aid kit. I say this, because anyone who ranks tweezers as more usefull than Israeli bandages, triangle bandages, or a space blanket clearly has no intention to use the kit on serious injuries. So here are some of my observations:

    I agree that bandaids are 5, 5, 10. They are extremely useful and compact. Trauma shears (I’m assuming scissors on your list) are a 3,4,7. Sanitizing swabs (I’m guessing you mean alcohol wipes or similar), are a 5,0,5...in other words, they’re compact, but I have zero use for them in a kit, so I don’t carry them. A space blanket is about 1/4 the size of an Israeli bandage, so I think it’s a bit unfair you gave them both a “1” for size. It gets a 3,4,7 from me. Israelis get a 1,4,5 from me, which is a low overall score due to their size in a kit, but I’ll never build a kit without them. I’ve had very good luck with them numerous times in the real world, so they’ve earned a place in my kits.

    I must say I’m confused by some of your ranking. You gave painkillers a 4,4,8 but gave antihistamines a 3,1,4... for starters, both should be a 5 for size. The individual dose packs, which are what people carry in first aid kits, are no larger than bandaids. How does one pill get a 4 in size and the other get a 3? And as for usefulness, the kind of painkillers your talking about are probably OTC, and the truth of the matter is, someone will survive just fine without Tylenol, but Benadryl is an absolute must for severe allergic reactions. Epinephrine only treats the symptoms. So again, your kit seems tailored to quality of life, whereas I orient mine more to keeping people alive. Those are just a few observations, I have many more, but I don’t want to bore everyone. But fun idea for a thread, and good food for thought!