I’m not a medical professional of any kind (sort of the opposite in a lot of ways), but as has been well publicised throughout the tactical world by this point, we all really should have at least some knowledge with regard to looking after your buddies, because purely ‘taking care’ of the bad guys isn’t enough.
The sexy side of medical training however is not always reality, proper tourniquet application is important but has a lot of facets to it that I’d not dream of providing advice on to strangers via the internet. You cannot ever possibly be ready for every medical emergency, the number of things that can go wrong with the body are simply too great and varied. Ambulances are not small vehicles and even they only carry a small amount of kit compared to the number of things that exist in the world to potentially treat a person in some way or other.
Reality is the injuries you’re most likely to encounter on the range/trail/hill/skirmish field are cuts, scrapes and burns plus other little trivia like broken digits and sprains etc. If you’re reading this, there’s an extremely high chance your hobbies involve lots of very small explosions and sharp/fast moving things as well as people moving quickly over uneven terrains.
To help deal with these sorts of realities I opted for the Camping FAK from Lifesystems, you can read the full content list on their site. Whether there are cheaper ways to get similar results by buying stuff individual I don’t know for sure, but I didn’t stumble across any. If you’re a person with little or no medical training you’re probably not going to do any more harm with the stuff in this kit (which is the most important thing) and almost all of it only really requires ripping the packet opening and whacking the contents on to the casualty. Worst case scenario they have to suffer a little bit for 30 seconds while you read the plastic for instructions. This isn’t me saying “don’t seek out medical training”, however, I’ve had that handed to me on a plate at different points over the years and I appreciate that not everyone can afford or even get access to that sort of instruction.
The actual contents of the Lifesystems kit seem of good quality, relevant to most commonly occuring situations and for the most part you won’t have to perform any upkeep on the kit to maintain it in a serviceable state for a good few years. The scissors seem a bit ‘underpowered’ and the paracetamol/ibuprofen will no doubt go past their expiry before you’d need them and take up a lot of space given that they’re rather unimportant. However the inclusions of oft-overlooked, but vital, items like nitrile gloves really removes the guess work from building up a kit yourself if you’re not well versed in the subject.
The supplied red pouch is surprisingly really very good, made of a lightweight but sturdy and water resistant nylon similar to that found in some super-light tactical gear. The zip is of equal quality with chunky rubber tabs on the pulls and the internal organisation with segregated and labelled storage is intelligent and intuitive.
I’ve split this particular kit between my car and a nice MilSpecMonkey Tac-Organiser pouch which is attached to a multicam pack for carrying around at longer/larger airsoft games. Given the amount of pyro that gets chucked around in airsoft and the propensity for BB Warriors to carry around ******** unnecessary fixed blades, it makes a lot of sense for everyone to have these sorts of emergency items to hand. I’ve ‘upgraded’ the airsoft kit with a simple TQ, a larger military field dressing and some bits like chemlights and notepad/pen also largely from MSM; meanwhile the car kit has other things like a space blanket, very simple rescue tool etc (all mounted to a FirstSpear bandoleer style panel).
When it comes to general first aid, just remember your Dr ABCs and fuck any BS complex, updated versions that you’ll get taught differently on every medical training course you attend (guaranteed). I know for a fact that I don’t practice this stuff anywhere near often enough to remember the little changes and iterations if somebody’s gushing blood. If something serious like that does happen I will revert to the iteration I had drilled in to my head over and over at recruit training; because I’m a human being.
Get knowledge where you can, prepare yourself with equipment to a reasonable level in a fashion that’s grounded in your personal reality.