The last couple posts have been about how to stop bleeding. Today I want to talk about some of the more specialized equipment in my emergency first aid kit (blowout kit).
The Gerber Multi pliers are just for anything, but the medical reason is to cut things off that are sticking out. Hard to think about but, sometimes something gets stuck in someone that needs attention. If you aren’t in a hospital, you really don’t want to pull it out. Wait and have the pros do that, but it may be stuck to something else, or sticking out a couple feet. The multi pliers are nice if I have to cut something off so I can transport someone.
The super glue I used overseas for small cuts. Yes it may scare, but that is better then getting some crazy disease or infection. It can also be used for deeper cuts that would generally need stitches. The sharpie is for writing notes on people like when you put a tourniquet on.
I also carry some specialized gear that needs some advanced training to use. I suggest you think about getting some advanced training. I carry an Asherman chest seal. It’s designed for a sucking chest wound. A sucking chest wound is a puncture to the chest that is allowing air to enter through the wound. It makes a sucking or gurgling sound so it’s normally easy to identify. The problem is that air coming into the chest cavity will collapse the lung and could cause death. This is a bandage designed to seal the hole and put a one-way valve in to let air out, but not in. I was first taught to make one of these with duct tape and an MRE wrapper. It took time and was hard to get right. Medics I talked to that have used one of these say they work great, and are surprisingly easy to use.
I was also trained to decompress a tension pneumothorax in boot camp. It is about the scariest thing out there. A tension pneumothorax is when air enters the chest cavity between the long and the chest wall. The air builds up and can collapse both lungs eventually killing the person. At first I was taught to push a pen into the chest under the person’s armpit. Now I have a nice needle to use and my training has advanced so now I would push the needle into the chest one rib above the nipple (don’t try this without advanced training). A medic that I knew said it was the scariest thing he had ever done. But that’s why I carry a needle in my kit. There use to be a couple web sites to buy the needles from, but they have all taken them off their sites.
Both of those things are for chest injuries. The last thing I carry is a Nasopharyngeal Airway. This is literally a tube that you shove up someone’s nose to allow them to breath if their jaw and mouth is destroyed and the person can’t breath. This one can be learned pretty easily and can save a life. A person can die in 3 minutes without air and the normal response time for a medic is 5 minutes.
My kit was designed from knowledge of battlefield medicine and what I can do. The number one cause of death on the battlefield is by far blood loss. Second are chest and lung injuries, and a close third is suffocating after a face injury. If you are going to build a blowout kit and get some knowledge, start around these three things.