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Ok, so I explained what “EDC” means, but what’s an IFAK, you ask? “Individual First Aid Kit”, which means it’s a first aid kit that you built for your needs and carry for yourself. That doesn’t mean you wouldn’t use it to help a stranger in need but it’s not a bag full of medical supplies like a paramedic would carry on duty.
I was thinking a lot about my IFAK and changed it over and over again and I’m still not completely satisfied. The problem with this sort of kit is that it should be small enough to carry it on you all the time but it should hold enough supplies for times when shit hits the fan.
My focus with this kit was to provide everything I might need to close the gap between a terrible accident happening and the arrival of professional ambulance services. Even when response times for ambulances are really short over here there are situations where they might not arrive in time and someone providing first aid might save a life.
This focus leads to a situation where I often got laughed at by people who knew my passion for EDC but found that I carried big bandages and tourniquets won’t even carry a small bandaid. Therefore I changed that and do now carry bandaids. The simple reason why I didn’t before was because they are only made for wounds that will stop bleeding event without treatment. I instead carry stuff to treat wounds that won’t stop until the wounded has bled out completely. It’s a matter of focus if you prepare for situations that a very likely to happen but you will live through them without preparation and situations which you might never get into in your whole life but if you do, you won’t make it without the proper kit.
Another thing I always kept in mind is what I think I personally can handle. Therefore I only include items I really know how to use and I won’t do more harm then good even if I make a mistake. There are medical supplies that can inflict severe damage when used wrong so I always make sure to adjust my IFAK to my level of training.
As I said I’m not completely satisfied with my setup so I started to build my kit in levels. This way I can adapt to the situation. There are more items I want to have in my IFAK but they would make the pouch so big that I couldn’t carry it really every day. To deal with this dilemma I’m thinking about adding another level between the “EDC Pouch” and “Bigger kits”. A medium sized pouch to keep everything I miss in my EDC pouch but still doesn’t need a backback to carry.
Always on me pouch
This one is small enough to fit into every pair of pants I would wear outside of my home. It would even fit into swimwear if I wanted. It only holds the following:
- Pair of nitrile gloves
- Resuscitation cloth to shield me from diseases during CPR
- A bandaid
This pouch enables me to at least try to help someone. You can always improvise, apply direct pressure and so on but if you don’t protect yourself it might not be a good idea to help at all. And this is a situation I never want to encounter.
This is the one I almost always carry around. Sometimes in the cargo pockets of my pants, sometimes in a smock, sometimes in a bag or backpack – you get the idea.
- 2 pairs of nitrile gloves (because they tend to rip, especially if you try to put them on while you’re full of adrenaline)
- Resuscitation cloth: You get them from a pharmacy but they might have to order them
- Bandaids: Single packaged ones “extra strong” from Hansaplast
- Bandaids for blisters: Every brand from a supermarket or pharmacy will do
- Dextrose: Just some no name brand from the supermarket. I chose some that are separately packaged.
- Personal Israeli bandage: a sterile packed combination of wound dressing and bandage. Not the most efficient one but it’s small enough to have it in the pouch. It’s smaller than the standard Israeli bandage. You can get it at Israeli first aid
- SWAT-T Tourniquet: In fact a big flat rubberband you can use to stop bleeding even when a whole limb is ripped off. Also not the best one but the one which has by far the smallest packaging. I found it at Israeli first aid and Amazon
- Chest seals: Literally the biggest problem for my setup because their packaging is so big it won’t fit into anything reasonably sized. They are intended to dress wounds in the chest and has vents to help treat a pneumothorax. I use the NAR HyFin vented chest seals and got them from Meier Medizintechnik.
- Pair of emergency shears: Mostly to cut through clothing to reach a wound for treatment
- Pair of tweezers. I got really pointy ones from a pharmacy for removing splinters
- Dressing pad: A small no-name one just in case
- Alcohol pads: There are way better disinfectants around but they are better than nothing
- Steristrips / Leukostrips: small strips with a very strong adhesive. You can use them for longer cuts which need stitches. The strips might not be sufficient in the long run but the keep a wound closed until the patient gets to the hospital
Whenever I’m using a bigger bag or a backpack I like to add two items that wouldn’t fit into the pouch. They are bigger, better alternatives to what I have in the pouch and I might end up using both alternatives because wounds tend to come in quantities bigger than one.
- Uriel bandage: The ultimate bandage in my opinion. It packs small, has a flexible bandage, two dressings you can move around, can apply it to yourself using only one hand, it sticks to itself but nothing else. I might write a single post only about this little wonder in the future. I got mine from several dealers but you can get it on Amazon as well.
- SOFTT-W tourniquet: This and the C-A-T are the de-facto standards for tourniquets. I will write another post about tourniquets. I got mine from Israeli first aid but you can find it also on Amazon. Just make sure you get an original one and go for the “wide” version.
Whenever I think I might up with the need for more supplies I pack bigger first aid kits in addition to the above. Especially when I’m attending group events I’m always planning that someone might hurt themselves. Call me paranoid but I won’t be the one thinkig “If I had only…” when someone close to me get’s hurt real bad.
These kits aren’t fixed but are built for the occasion. I will return to describe some of these in other posts in the future.