Most people have a standard, off-the-shelf first aid kit around the house. It’s what is often referred to as a “boo-boo kit” – great for typical cuts and scrapes – but it is woefully insufficient for major trauma. That’s why we strongly recommend that you have a trauma kit available. This is a special purpose kit that is aimed at stopping the bleeding and other life-threatening effects of a serious wound – especially a gunshot wound. It is compact enough to make it easily available when and where it is needed, and inexpensive enough that cost should not be a major issue.
The kit we’re using here as an example is a trauma kit used by a church security team. The kit is a component of our Mass Casualty Kit, made up of 4 of these kits, identically configured, plus a 5th one with a few more advanced items. Listed below are the kit contents, including approximate price and Amazon link (links open in a separate tab). In training and in use, these kits are simply referred to as “Green Kit” or “Red Kit”. There are also three other medical kits, including a suitcase-size ALS kit with Oxygen, that are part of our medical response program, but we will cover them at a later time. Each of these kits will be displayed and discussed in an upcoming meeting.
First, let’s see what they look like:
Green Kit – Front side
Green Kit – Rear side showing MOLLE attachment system. For our purposes, this is not used.
Green Kit – Opened up showing contents. Our kits are loosely packed – you could (and should) add another Israeli bandage or other trauma dressings.
Red Kit contents. Same as Green Kit, plus NPA, Chest Seal twin pack, additional compresses.
Mass Casualty Kit, with 4 standard kits (“Green Kit”) and one advanced kit (“Red Kit”). These are kept in a Dewalt tool bag.
Pouch with EMT shears $13 – Note: The pouch comes with elastic pieces that connect the two sides so that it will not spill the contents when opened while attached to a vertical surface – we want the kit to open flat, so we cut those off. The original design is for use on a belt or MOLLE webbing, but for our use, the kit would be laying flat on the ground.
Tourniquet $12 – Note that tourniquets are a “last resort” measure, and they are very seldom needed – but when they are needed, nothing else will do. Direct pressure will stop the bleeding on the vast majority of wounds.
Israeli Bandage, 6″ $7.40 – Standard sizes are 4″ and 6″. Either will work fine, but we prefer the 6″ since that will easily fit into the pouch we use. For instructions on how to use this, see this video.
Nitrile gloves (2 pair) – Having a box of these that are sized to fit your hand is highly recommended.
Pen and/or pencil with Notepad or 3×5 cards – Use for writing down the exact time that a tourniquet was applied, along with patient name, age, and notes.
“Red Kit” additions
Nasopharyngeal Airway (NPA) with Surgilube, twin pack $12 – Caution – For use ONLY by those who have been trained in its use.
Chest Seal, twin pack $16 – Should have two in order to treat both entrance and exit wounds.
Suggested additional items, depending on available space in kit
Additional Israeli bandage
Celox Z-fold gauze
Ziplock bag of non-sterile 4×4 gauze
Sterile compress and Kling-wrap
Some often-repeated wisdom that bears saying again – Equipment is of little use if you don’t know how to use it. Get training. Don’t exceed your training – it’s easy to do more harm than good. Knowledge is king.