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Improved FAK, What else do I need?

Discussion in 'First Aid Station' started by FrozenMuffin, Nov 8, 2012.

    FrozenMuffin Loaded Pockets

    Greetings. I've been keeping up with this forum for quite a while and regularly find useful information but I've never posted. Now I finally need some input so I made an account.

    About six months ago I made a medium sized FAK to carry on an airsoft rig for big team games where people got hurt fairly often. Since then I've started carrying this kit on camping trips and hiking trips and am now known for having it. On the last camping trip I went on (with 20+ people) I discovered that it wasn't nearly as extensive as it should be. So I grabbed my unused Maxpedition remora and I've been adding to it for a couple weeks now.
    My question is, what am I missing? Is there anything I have that I don’t need? I have no professional medical training. My knowledge is limited to field experience and what I learned from my Dad, who was an EMT, Paramedic for 25 years.


    Small front pocket:
    1 abdominal pad. (This will be the first thing I grab in a heavy bleeding situation)

    Larger front pocket:
    2 needle probes
    Razor (In case hair is keeping a bandage from sticking to the wound area)
    Gerber Dime (fantastic FAK multi-tool)
    Triple Antibiotic Plus
    Anti-Itch Cream
    Burn Spray
    New Skin
    Q-Tips (good for cleaning out small cuts and scrapes)
    Roll of Dura-Pore tape
    Roll of Coband Tape

    Main Pocket:6 abdominal pads
    4 pairs of Nitrile gloves (supposed to be stronger than latex)
    10 3x3 Non-Adhesive gauze pads
    QuikClot (Never used it but I've heard it works)
    Butterfly Stitches
    10 Large Walgreen’s band-aids
    20 Normal sized band-aids
    Small Bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide (People say not to use it, but I have for years.)
    Assorted Meds (Ibu, Benadryl, Acetaminophen, Decongestant, Pepto, Tums, Anti-Diarrhea)
    1 ankle brace (I've used this several times for someone who rolled an ankle. It worked much better than a splint or simple wrap.)

    Let me know what you guys think. Thanks
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
    • In Omnia Paratus

    SurvivePenna EDC Junkie!!!!!

    I'm in a similar situation and will be taking a first aid class in early December to improve my skill level. Let me first say that IMHO your FAK looks pretty well rounded. When I plan and build my FAK here in the near furture in conjunction with my first aid class, I will focus heavily on Murphy's Law. Based on that I'm going to suggest a quality (waterproof) headlamp for poor lighting situations or night time. You will have your hands free and will not have to worry about light or having to hold a darn flashlight in your hand or mouth.

    EDIT : Another forum member (MedicInTraining) posted a very, very cool picture and i'm "borrowing" it to illustrate this point...


    Another suggestion would be some sort of triangular bandage/sling with a couple of safety pins. (They often come with it)

    Maybe an ace bandage ??

    And how about an instant cold pack for sprains ?? (in case you don't have access to ice. Remeber to follow the PRINCE approach :


    Oh..and one last thing : Welcome to EDCF !!!! :) Glad that you joined us...
    Last edited by SurvivePenna, Nov 8, 2012

    FrozenMuffin Loaded Pockets

    If you don't mind my asking, what kind of first aid class are you taking? I've been looking around and pretty much all I can find is Red Cross.

    I've been planning on adding some sort of light to the kit but haven't had the money. The last serious injury I tended to was a 6 inch gaping laceration on the underside of someone's bicep and I was in desperate need of a light. I was trying to see if he'd nicked the brachial artery and had to use my phone to see in the dark.
    Definitely not an experience I wish to repeat.

    I had an ace bandage included in my kit for a while but never used it. The ankle brace I use is a warp-around variety (not a slip on) and It doubles nicely as a knee brace if needed, paired with a roll of coband tape it works great.

    The instant cold pack and triangular bandages aren't bad ideas. Thanks for your input and thanks for a welcoming response. :D
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
    • In Omnia Paratus

    SurvivePenna EDC Junkie!!!!!

    This class is offered and payed for by my employer. It is a basic first aid class. As I understand it..you learn what you can do ...when to do it and what not to do. In other words - treating bleeding, injuries and managing symptoms until the EMT's arrive. Do you not want to attend a class at the Red Cross ?? I have already been taking CPR/AED training for many years..(Re-cert every two years). Although very important, I also wanted to learn some basic first aid.

    My plan is to build a solid FAK and to see where this basic firt aid class takes me. If I'm not happy or if I for some reason feel I need more training, then I will persue that when the time comes.

    One thing that I definitely forgot to suggest was to get some moleskin/molefoam for those camping/hiking trips. :)
    • In Omnia Paratus

    ran23 Loaded Pockets

    You might check your local college. I took CPR and FA as a night class. All girls/nurses in my class.

    FrozenMuffin Loaded Pockets

    IMO alot of first aid situations are simply controlling the bleeding and making then comfortable until the pros arrive. Sounds like a good class!

    There's nothing wrong with a Red Cross class, seeing as they're readily available in my area and don't cost much, but I see people talking about various classes and wonder what else there is.
    I looked at a CPR/AED class a while back and I think it was only about $80
    A buddy of mine gave me something like molefoam on a backpacking trip last month for a spot on my shoulder where my pack was rubbing it raw and I've been looking for it since. It must only be at REI's and I don't have one within reasonable driving distance of where I live. :( So I stick to some sort of liquid bandage and that usually does the trick.

    gremlin078 Loaded Pockets

    Just me but I see too many ab pads and not much roll gauze. Considered a TQ?

    FrozenMuffin Loaded Pockets

    Typically I have alot more pads than is necessary in the interest of not having to restock all the time.
    A roll of gauze is a good idea though.
    As for the tourniquet, I have absolutely no idea how to use one and I think they can cause more damage than good if used by someone who doesn't know what they're doing. (Correct me if I'm wrong) I might add one after a first aid class.
    • In Omnia Paratus

    evolutionglitch Loaded Pockets

    ASPRIN! Its dead useful for heart attacks, head aches, bee stings, pimples, bug bites, stain removal, fresh cut flowers, mold and fungus destruction, recharging car batteries, treat dandruff, remove chlorine or dye from your hair, sun burn relief, etc. ADD IT! :p

    gremlin078 Loaded Pockets

    TQ use is expanding exponentially from the old days. Techniques/usage have evolved a lot in the past few years. Much current info can be found on this site actually. Just buy a good one. No homemade ones that cause those problems you describe.
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    • In Omnia Paratus

    VinnyP Loaded Pockets

    It's not that Hydrogen Peroxide doesn't work it's that it does more harm than good. It kills healthy cells. Get some Povi Iodine or Benzalkonium Chloride. I agree about adding a tourniquet, but yes you are absolutely right to get training, that goes even more for Quikclot. Red Cross is one option but they are a large organisation that moves very slowly and has a lot of pressures on what it does, that can mean it's training is not that highly thought of by some. It's still far better than none.

    Jay345 Loaded Pockets

    You have a good kit there. I've been in the medical business for close to 10 yrs now (EMT/nurse), and the more I do, the more I learn how much you can do with very little in the way of equipment. Unless you're trying to run an advanced life support unit out of your pack (not a good idea), you don't need much more than what you already have. +1 on the Aspirin and cold packs. Add a CPR mask and you're set!

    jegrundh Loaded Pockets

    The thing about hiking FAK's is that generally you're in the "wilderness" meaning 1 hour/1 mile from care. As a wilderness EMT (awesome awesome course to take btw) it seems like your kit is fairly well rounded, I'd make sure you have some baindaids that are latex free, I might think if maybe squeezing an Israeli combat bandage in there (damned useful). Also def. +1 to the ace bandage and +2 to the triangular bandages (cravats). Those bad-boys are used a lot for things like slings, improvised TQ (pen + bandage), etc. Depending on where you are going/weather I might throw a heat-sheets blanket in there if you have room. I'd probably ditch the Peroxide in favor of antiseptic (non-alcohol) wipes. Also I throw a couple of just general purpose wipes in there to clean up blood, etc. from surrounding tissues. I take it you probably have purelle somewhere in your bag, and elsewhere in my bag is where I keep my headlamp, flashlight, and fire making materials (don't want to be stranded on a mountain overnight with a hiker and not have a way to make fire). Also I generally bring a camp stove/some way to heat water so if the Pt. is suffering from hypothermia I can warm them up (a nalgene filled with hot water and wrapped in a sock does this well). Might put a couple single use packets of sunscreen and a little baby thing of bag-balm perhaps. One of the other things I usually have on me is my shemagh, it can basically be used as a HUGE bandana and so used easily as a sling or something simple like that. I don't usually bring my sam-splint (unless im with really accident prone people) because part of training I took is how to improvise splints. I'd def. look into taking a Wilderness First Responder course (WFR) as they are truly awesome in preparing you for stuff. Also I like to carry a glowstick and/or backup light source in case i need to leave my pt's side to grab firewood or something, the patient def. likes the reassurance of a marker (glowstick) and their own light.

    (In summary, I'd add: Ace bandage, 2+ triangular bandages, latex-free bandaids, Israeli combat bandage, antiseptic wipes, headlamp/glowstick, fire making materials. I'd drop the Hydrogen peroxide because of weight/size to usefulness ratio).
    • In Omnia Paratus

    MedicInTraining Loaded Pockets

    Hey FrozenMuffin!

    Looks like a super well rounded FAK but I have some suggestions to make it even better. I'm assuming that the purpose of this FAK is when you're camping or hiking or +1 hour away from help (as jegrundh suggests).

    • Smaller Non-stick Dressings/Pads --> you really don't need 7 abdominal pads (if they're the ones I'm thinking of and are for super heavy bleeding), 2 or 3 should be fine for most bleeds (remember pressure is what's going to stop the bleeding not pads alone). I would grab some more non-stick pads in 10cmx10cm and 20cmx20cm for smaller wounds. They're also good for cleaning.
    • Saline (NaCl 0.9%) Wash --> you should be able to get these from your pharmacy or if you're dad is still an EMT he might be able to grab you some. They're great for cleaning around a wound and also giving the wound an initial clean
    • Hydrogen Peroxide --> use it at your own risk, it'll sting like a bitch but so will most antiseptics. It's better than having nothing so good job!
    • Alcohol Swabs --> if you're going to be using those needle probes you'll want to be able to clean the skin before hand plus they're good for the super tiny scratches that don't warrant hydrogen peroxide or saline or chlorhexidine (another useful antiseptic that is available in 20ml tubes with most EMS)
    • CPR Mask --> they're teaching 'compressions, compressions, compressions' in most First Aid Courses nowadays because lay people seem to be deterred by the mouth to mouth but if it's someone you're camping with or know then it's probably a good idea to have one (worst case scenario kind of thing)
    • Instant Ice Pack --> these are invaluable for all your hiking related injuries. RICE is an absolute necessary piece of knowledge for any sports related injuries. I do not think a SAM Splint is something you need when you're untrained- cardboard and an ACE bandage do just as good a job!
    • Burn Gel Bandages --> rather than a spray maybe look into a product such as Burnaid Dressings- they're like bandages that have been soaked in the same stuff the spray uses except they're thicker and also provide a great barrier protection (remember the number one issue with burns after pain is the fact that they open the body up to all sorts of infection)
    • Bandages --> I don't care if they're ACE bandages or gauze bandages but these are super useful. If you've got to apply pressure and you need your hands for another job you can wrap it up tightly with the bandages briefly to free up your hands. Plus they're good for sprains and strains and strapping icepacks to problem areas.
    • Triangular Bandage --> I would have at least one of these if not two. You can use these for slings but you can also use them for tourniquets. At the end of the day a TQ can save a life and the worst that it'll do is endanger tissue and limbs but if you're putting one on you've already got a reasonable idea that they are already endanger or that your patients life is endangered by bleeding. You can make a TQ using a triangular bandage and either shears or a stick or any long object to create a windlass tourniquet- youtube it to see how. Save the space and the money you'd use on a real tourniquet if you don't feel confident using one but have something as a back up in a :censored: situation.
    • Mylar (Thermal) Blanket --> not so much of an issue where I live but if you're hiking there's always the chance of hypothermia occurring in the injured and uninjured patient. One of these can save a life and they don't cost much!
    • Bandaids of different sizes --> self explanatory
    • Alcohol based hand gel --> for cleaning your hands after treating your patient- your safety is paramount!
    • HEADLAMP --> so the picture referenced is of me in a 1mx1m fake mine shaft treating a fake patient with a head wound- I would have absolutely absolutely killed to have had a headlamp that day rather than putting my gross torch in my mouth! But at the end of the day some light source was better than none! You can pick up headlamps pretty cheaply from websites such as deal extreme and meritline if money is an issue!
    NB: I'm training to be a Paramedic but at the end of the day these are just my personal opinions based on personal experience and the contents of my own first aid kit. It is not professional medical advice in any way shape or form!

    Have a good day :3

    Edit to add: Don't forget a garbage bag! Absolutely essential to clean up after yourself especially if you're out hiking! Good to have a yellow one to determine clinical waste from normal waste!
    mooshisho likes this.