Emergency Kit Essentials To Treat Serious Injuries In The Field

emergency medicine

Have you built your own emergency medical kit? Chances are you have some sort of first-aid kit in your car, home or bug-out bag, but do you have the right stuff to be versatile enough to treat any injuries? In this article I take a look at the necessities to an all-purpose emergency first-aid kit to address not just light wounds, but serious injuries.

First, if there is a medical specialist nearby I would suggest you leave any treatments to their doing or if you know how to do it yourself that is fine. In a worst case scenario there’s a likely chance you are not going to be with a medically trained friend, so you need to carry out treatments yourself. In that case, I advise people when building their own medical kit to ensure they have a field medical treatment guide in their kit.

Some experienced medics carry these in their kit just because of the ‘fog of war’ or chaos that occurs during an emergency event, it’s human that sometimes people forget things, especially under these circumstances.

Two guides I recommend to keep in your medical kit are the Pocket First-Aid Field Guide and Medicine for The Outdoors. While these are not a guide to everything medical, they do have all of the common injuries and sicknesses that can be experienced in the field. For a free source you can also check out the Ranger Medical Handbook. It also has some innovative treatments and methodologies and would make for good reading material for those interested.

But what about the contents of the kit? I look at the medical kit of a combat medic that I used to work with. It is not complete in any way and you may have your own additions but it covers the essentials of in-field emergency treatments.

The type of bag you should be using

When designing the pack, you’re going to want to chose a pack that has about five different sections. You can colour code these  sections just so you know what part of the bag you need to dig through to get to the right stuff. The time you save in knowing where stuff is is the difference between life and death. Your pack should also have molle dressing on the outside. The field medic bag I use now is from 5.11. It is a small 24-hour Rush back pack. These are exactly what you need when it comes to compartments, durability, molle and they are a common choice for military and law enforcement professions.

In combat medicine you have a one hour period, also known as the ‘golden hour’. It’s that 60 minute period immediately after a gunshot wound. If someone is treated before that hour is up you’re going to have much less chances of permanent injury or death.

Your first necessity is the bleeds kit. This is to stop bleeding and is one of the first things you should be doing in any gunshot or mass bleeding injury. The bleeds kit is to primarily stop bleeding so this should be carried in most accessible part of the bag.

Here’s what you can expect to see in a bleeds kit:

  • 2-3x hemostatic gauze. It’s a strong plug gauze to stop bleeding
  • 4x (FFDs) first field dressings. Bandaging. In the army most people would carry one of these on their right shoulder patch. It was so in any given scenario one could rip into someone else’s right shoulder pocket and grab an FFD in seconds to patch a gunshot wound.
  • 2x CATs (Combat Application Tourniquets). A one handed tourniquet to stem the flow of blood. CATs are useful for self-treatment (one handed).

The next section would be for breathing assistance. Because most people are trained to shoot at a centre of seen mass (centre of the biggest part of the body i.e: chest) there will be, in almost all cases, issues with breathing where a path path has struck a vital component to breathing. This would generally be the lungs so airway management post-injury is the next thing to stock for.

Airway and breathing treatment kit:

Next we need a method of replenishing lost fluids in our kit. This is generally the intravenous and canula system to introduce fluids into the system.

Lost fluids kit:

  • Saline/sodium chloride IV fluids
  • IV tubing
  • Various IV catheters
  • 4x bandages
  • syringes and cannulas

General Tools

Next there are a lot of other extras to carry, generally in the next big compartment behind your bleeds kit. These are things to assist with the prior mentioned sections or do address various other injuries that may occur.

They are:

Then there’s a list of medicinal things to keep as well for casualty treatment:

  • Paracetamol/ibuprofen
  • Antibiotics and morphine and maybe something to counter morphine sickness
  • A respiratory depressant
  • An Epi pen against anaphylactic reaction
  • Benadryl
  • Loperamide – anti diarrhea (should not use if there is scarce water)
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Psuedoephidrene

That’s the inside contents of the bag, but because there are molle pouches on the bag it gives other quick-response medical items an easy-to-access place on the outside of the bag. But make sure they are secure in the molle straps. You can easily zip tie some bandages to the molle as well

Items on the outside of the bag would include:

  • Medical shears (thick cutting scissors to remove clothing)
  • Permanent marker (circle snake bites, write gunshot time on body)
  • Zip ties
  • FFDs and a CAT

This isn’t a complete list of everything you need to treat an emergency injury outdoors, but it is a standard equipment list to effectively treat a casualty form mass bleeding, burns, gunshot wounds and other serious injuries.

If you have any extra things that you carry, for myself and the readers, post it in the comment section below.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic!