Here’s a Look Inside the First Aid Kit of an Army Medic
by Chuck Hudson
Note from Daisy: What’s in the “perfect” first aid kit? There are so many different kits out there all claiming to be there claiming to be the very best that it can get a little confusing. So I asked my good friend, Chuck Hudson, to share some lists with us. Chuck is a former Army Medic and Scout leader, and he loves to share his wisdom. Below you can find two very comprehensive lists to help you create your own “perfect kit.”
Me, I’m an old medic. I played with the Infantry for years. One thing my beloved grunts taught me was KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. I was also an old Scout Master. For the most part, Scouts do NOT have a lot of money. So today we are going to talk about simple specialized first aid kits. My scouts each carried a basic personal first aid kit. No, it would not take care of a rifle round to the upper chest. But it would take care of 90% of the injuries that could KILL you in a poop has hit the fan situation.
Infection is the primary killer in a bad situation. Remember that in an SHTF situation, a simple blister – we’ve all had one – could actually be the death of you. Left untreated the risk of septicemia rises exponentially.
The Personal First Aid Kit
This is the basic Boy Scout personal first aid kit and is perfect for your everyday carry.
- Two 4-by-4-inch sterile gauze pads
- One small roll of adhesive tape
- One 3-by-6-inch piece of moleskin
- One small bar of soap or travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer
- One small tube of antibiotic ointment
- One pair of scissors
- One pair of non-latex disposable gloves
- One CPR breathing barrier
- Pencil and paper
- 6 band-aids
- 1 tube of Locktite Gel Super Glue
- 4 feet of duct tape (Wrapped around the pencil)
Why duct tape? It’s perfect to remove those little bitty cactus spines, makes a great pressure bandage, and a wrap for a sprained ankle or splint.
Nothing very special here. Just a basic everyday kit that will fit in a pocket or purse.
Advanced first aid kit
If you are part of a small group, you’ll want a larger kit for the squad. If each person has a basic kit, there is no reason to duplicate those items in the larger group kit.
- 2 1-inch roller bandages
- Tourniquet – I prefer the SOF-T
- 1 2-inch roller bandage
- 1 roll of 1-inch adhesive tape
- 1 roll of 2-inch adhesive tape
- 10 alcohol swabs
- 12 assorted adhesive bandages
- 2 elastic bandages, 3 to 6 inches wide
- 12 3-by-3-inch sterile pads
- 4 Postpartum Sanitary pads
- Antiseptic towelettes
- 2 triangular bandages, 40-inch (for slings or head dressings)
- 2 3-by-4-inch nonadherent sterile dressings (Telfa)
- Israeli bandage or H-bandage (Pressure dressing)
- 3 packages of butterfly closure bandages
- Tincture of Benzoin
- Petroleum jelly
- Surgical or plain personal water-based lubricant
- Safety pins
- BP Cuff (The one linked to comes with a stethoscope)
- Aloe vera gel for sunburn
- 2 pairs of latex gloves
- Mouth-barrier device
- Small bottle antihistamines (Benadryl)
- Small bottle acetaminophen for pain and fever
- Small bottle ibuprofen for inflammation, muscle aches, pain, and fever
- Small bottle of Imodium for diarrhea
- Saline solution
- Bulb syringe for flushing wounds
- Calamine lotion
- SAM Splint
- HALO Chest Seal
- Nasopharyngeal airway set
- Mylar thermal blanket
- Bottle of Hibiclens (Chlorhexidine) Or Povidone Iodine. (You can get both Povidone and Hibiclens by the gallon)
- Trauma shears
- #15 Scalpel (it has a rounded shape great for deep cutting and lancing boils)
- #11 Scalpel ( it has a pointed tip and is a bit more useful for removing stickers and such. It’s ok for small lancing, too)
- Clamp kit (hemostats)
- Penlight flashlight or LED headlamp
It can get real pricey buying each item by itself. What we did in our Scout troop is that we bought a large first aid refill kit and broke it apart for the individual kits and the main first aid kit. Then we bought separately the items not in it.
This kit will fit in the bottom of a small backpack. It contains the items to handle everything from a blister to a Scout tripping and falling during a game of Capture the Flag, getting wrapped up in a barbed wire fence, and at the same time falling and impaling his leg on a piece of rebar. ( Yes this happened. Spring Camporee 2012)
Make sure to have a good guidebook.
One thing that is not on the list but needs to be is a good book. There are hundreds. I am still working on my own that is a compilation of my classes distilled into a handbook. But it isn’t ready yet.
The one that I can recommend is The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Help is NOT on the Way By Joseph Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP, I have the 1st edition and it is AWESOME!
Keep your first aid kit simple!
First aid kits can be as simple or as complex as one can make them. Keep them simple. Keep them fresh. Keep up to date on them. Most importantly HAVE ONE!
Take classes on how to use them. Not all injuries happen on a beautiful spring day 68 degrees and sunny. Some happen during the worst times or the worst weather. Practice using it in different conditions.
The life you save with it may be the most important to you.