Here’s a video that gives a pretty good example of a comprehensive medical kit designed for a group. It comes from Analytical Survival on YouTube, which is a channel chock full of smart things to do in a grid-down world. We highly recommend spending some time there to broaden your knowledge on a wide range of skills (H/T DanMorgan76).
A few things to think about:
- Training trumps gear every time (please repeat this ten times out loud). A wise shooting instructor once told his pupils, “every bullet that leaves your gun has a lawyer attached to it.” That holds true for cool-guy medical gear. Whether or not you have the training, every advanced procedure you do has a lawyer attached to it. If you are not trained in that procedure or not operating under the proper medical control, there will be a team of lawyers attached to it, and they will prang you into oblivion if it goes wrong. I know that we are all about grid-down on this site, but always keep this in mind as you stock your supplies and kit. The Good Samaritan Law gets pretty gray pretty fast on advanced procedures being performed without online medical control. Analytical Survival’s “about” page hints at a history of experience with his kit, so I’m not too worried about him doing something silly.
- The mission will always drive the gear. What he developed feels a lot less about being in a war and a lot more about providing a broad range of medical care in primitive / remote conditions. If you plan on being around lots of explosions, shrapnel, and bullets, then your medical kit is going to be very different than if you are going to fight Ebola in West Africa, or be the neighborhood boo-boo fixer. As we move along here at Hogwarts, we’ll work to get some recommendations of what to stock in medical kits in different environments and for different roles, including estimated costs for items based on published prices. We are highlighting this one as an example of solid, broad-based thinking, but not saying everyone needs to go out and stock this kit.
- You can feel the cost blasting through the roof as he goes through his kit item by item. A good kit is going to set you back, but if you take a long view of it, you’ll get there eventually. Your gun safe didn’t fill up overnight, and neither will your medical kit. It’s all about priorities.
Below is a printable form of an M5 medic pack packing list downloaded from a US Army web site. It is similar to the packing list found on pages 33-35 (1-18 through 1-20) in the SOF Medical Handbook. You’ll see that it is a more general medical kit than trauma kit. What we have highlighted in integumentary pink are items that are considered advanced. Everything in white is stuff you can get without having to jump through bureaucratic hoops. Print it out and see what you have, don’t have, and also identify what you do have that’s not on the list. That can be a start for prioritizing acquisitions for your own kit.
A couple of ways to prioritize what to get:
- By basic functions: Airway, breathing, circulation, disability, exposure (ABCDE)
- Also ask yourself, “What do I know how to do?” If the answer is “Apply a band-aid and an ice pack” then get the gear that enables you to do that. If you are a CRNA, then stocking (legally, of course) all the supplies for field anesthesia might be something you can do. Don’t get things you don’t know how to use thinking you can just learn them on the fly. That’s a great way to hurt somebody. Start basic, and stay basic until you know how to do more. Do No Harm. Right?
- By the “Rule of Threes.” As in, you’ll be dead in:
- Three minutes without air
- Three hours without shelter
- Three days without water
- Three weeks without food
We recommend the first method, since a femoral artery bleed can kill you in minutes. Good luck!
Here’s the MS Excel file of the list.