At some point in your journey through the armed lifestyle, you’re going to realize that there is more than one way to be your own first responder. We carry a gun because we know there won’t be a cop around when we need one, but guess what? There won’t be an EMT around when you need one, either.
Deal with it. Here’s how.
- Assess the threat.
Have you seen a gunshot wound on a human being? How about a car accident? Ever rolled up to store and seen paramedics wheeling out a heart attack victim? What happens around you should drive your trauma gear choices. Also, assess what’s important to you. I carry a tourniquet with me for the same reasons why I carry a gun with me: I don’t want to be in a situation where I could save the life of a family member and be unable to do so. Yes, the odds of having to use my gear are infinitely small. The stakes, however, are infinitely high.
- Get the training.
CPR classes are available everywhere. Take one. A few minutes on Google will show you where there are trauma medicine classes in your neighborhood, including the excellent “Stop The Bleed” program put on by the Department of Homeland Security.
- Carry the gear.
You’re not going to find a pistol lying around when you need one the most, and an effective tourniquet just doesn’t appear out of nowhere. There have been more than a few tourniquet designs pop up in the last few years, but the ones to look for are the ones that have been approved by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care, the CAT (Combat Application Tourniquet), and the SOFT-T (SOF Tactical Tourniquet).
Here’s my solution to these three questions:
Clockwise from upper left:
Blue Force Gear Ten Speed MP7 Mag Pouch – Holds the tourniquet securely, and goes on my belt right behind the spare mag.
SOFT—T Tourniquet. Proven to to work, and it’s just as easy to carry as a RATS or a SWAT-T.
Bandana – From wiping away blood to stuffing wounds to making tourniquets, a bandana is massively useful. It’s the multitoool of first aid. Carry one.
Triangular Bandage – Everything I said about the bandanna, plus it can wrap sprains, etc. Even more useful.
Duct tape – When is it NOT useful? That tape plus the plastic from the bandage equals chest seal. Problem solved.
Celox/QuikClot – The days of “It’ll burn the patient!” are over. Carry it and use it. The bandage version of these is better, and I’m working on a way to carry that with me instead.
All of this except the tourniquet and the bandana fit inside a coin purse, which then goes in my back pocket. The bandana goes in the other back pocket, and the tourniquet goes on my belt, right behind my spare magazine.
The coin purse kit is based on this idea from the late, great firearms trainer Paul Gomez. What I like about that coin purse kit is that I can carry it ANYWHERE, because it looks like I’m just carrying a wallet and a bandana with me.
Because I am.
The final takeaway? Take four hours of your time and learn how to save a life. If you can carry a coin purse on you, you can carry a trauma kit on you. And stay aware of what’s really going on around you. It all begins with that.