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Posted: 5/8/2002 11:32:10 PM EDT
I see a lot of good looking first aid kits on Cheaper Than Dirt, Sportsman's Guide, etc., those M3 and M5 kits I guess, and I was wondering what would be good kits for home and for our cars? Space is limited in the cars.

Some people on other boards said those M3 and M5 kits are a rip off, because you can buy the bag and all the innards separately for less money than the complete kits, but I'm not inclined to go running around looking for stuff. Maybe a little web searching, but not too much.

So, what should I get?
Link Posted: 5/8/2002 11:43:23 PM EDT

And... In the past I've put together First Aid Kits designed around particular activities such as mountaineering, hiking, hunting.  Now that I'd like a good all around First Aid Kit (SHTF style) I'm somewhat at a loss.  Everything I come up with would barely fit in a seabag much less a small portable space.  

Recommendations?  Obviously all First Aid Kits should be modified around personal needs (allergies, diabetics etc).  Give me (us) a good place to start.

Good question mattja.  Thanks!
Link Posted: 5/8/2002 11:55:17 PM EDT
Here's the M3 bag at Tapco. $59.99


Used by combat trained medics. Over 125 items. Size 9.5"x6"x7". Includes peroxide, calamine lotion, boric acid, plaster cast, purified cotton, field dressing, variety of gauze, elastic bandages, sterile pads, surgi pads, muslin bandage, eye pads, band-aids, ice pack, EMT shears, sutures, first aid instructions, safety pins, soap, pill bottle, latex gloves, syringe irrigation, syringe with needle, 3-way stop-cock, betadine solution, ibuprofen, 1st aid cream, triple antibiotic, adhesive tape, alcohol wipes, clean wipes, lubricating jelly.
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They also have a larger bag.



With more than 200 items, this is the complete solution for just about any medical emergency — broken bones, stitches, even surgery. Comes with a small first aid manual to assist you. Originally designed with US Emergency Response Teams, it is packed in a roomy OD nylon backpack that is 18" x 10" x 6" with shoulder straps and ALICE clips. This pack has many outside pockets and a main zippered compartment to keep everything available and ready for the next emergency. Are YOU ready?
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Are these any good?

Steath, there are some links on Assaultweb.net regarding first aid kits too. I'm going over there to search.

BTW, I heard certain fish antibiotics are compounded in a fashion that is 100% safe for humans. Something to consider for the SHTF first aid kit, but not for general home use, of course. I mean, why take a risk when you can just go see the doc?
Link Posted: 5/9/2002 12:02:40 AM EDT
First aid kits are tailored to the medic (if ya ask me).  I keep a bunch of field dressings and cravats, a couple of eye dressings, some petroleum gauze, a couple of abdominal dressings, a few bandaids (assorted sizes), neosporin (or rubbing alcohol or smirnoff blue label) to kill those germs, a couple pairs of hemostats, a big pair-o-scissors, some razor blades, a few pairs of rubber gloves, an IV bag with a few 16 guage needles, and a padded splint.  I also keep a pack of cigarettes in my aid bag.  Sure they're stale as hell, but the casualty won't be concerned with how stale they are.  Just my two cents.
Link Posted: 5/9/2002 12:21:08 AM EDT
Morphine would be nice.
Link Posted: 5/9/2002 6:31:23 AM EDT
No matter what kit you buy throw in some female napkins and cut a bed sheet into 16 x 16 squares. These 2 things work very well for big wounds.
Link Posted: 5/9/2002 8:18:18 AM EDT
Add a couple of Asherman Chest Seals in a SHTF kit. (I got mine FREE by circling the numbers in various EMS magazines.) They are designed by a Navy Medic, and are (IMNSHO) the  BEST for sucking chest wounds...


Link Posted: 5/9/2002 10:30:26 AM EDT
as some have said, there is a lot of tailoring to the person and the environment. to me preparing a good med kit is very similar to preparing a BOB. depending on your skills, where you are, what you'll be doing, the contents could vary. also, don't get bogged down in packing gear that you or no one around you is likely to know how to use.

however, i think there are some basic concepts that apply to every kit and that could be a good place for you to start.

also, for general use by an average person or family, i think the m3 is a nice bag. the size and shape are adequate to accommidate a large range of supplies while being compact enough to be easily stored or moved.

maybe just find a used m3 kit, or an empty m3 bag and add stuff from the wal mart or lcoal pharmacy, or from what you already have at home.

assortment of bandaids, roll gauze, gauze pads, ace type wraps, tape, scissors, tweezers, hemostat, small magnifying glass, antibiotic cream (or similar), small flash light. instant cold pack, alcohol wipes, hydrogen peroxide. triangular bandage, small first aid refernce book it neede.

those are some basic items that anyone should be able to use properly and that could probably cover 90% of general kid or family type "accidents".

let me know i that helps any....

Link Posted: 5/15/2002 7:39:39 PM EDT
Thanks a lot for the tips guys. That Asherman Chest Seal looks very useful.

Did any of you see The Three Kings? What was that tube with a value that got stuck into Mark Wahlberg's chest? Is that a variation of the Asherman Chest Seal?
Link Posted: 5/15/2002 9:51:03 PM EDT
The device used on Three Kings was basically just a large syringe with a pressure release valve on it. This is to allow built up air to escape the thoracic (chest) cavity. If not released the pressure builds up until the wounded person cannot breath...I think the term is called tension pnuemothorax.

There is no one way to treat a sucking chest wound. I keep just your basic plastic wrap for the purpose. Put a piece over the center of the wound and tape it down on 3 corners. When the person inhales it will be pulled down creating a seal and keeping air from entering the chest through the wound. When he/she exhales the seal will be released allowing any air to escape. You can also use a gloved hand for this purpose if necessary. Place your palm tightly over the wound upon inhalation and remove it for exhaling. There are all sorts of variations to the theme, but achieve the same desired results.

For my kit, I use a small ALICE pack. I have lots of gear and this bag hauls it all fine. The items I keep are plenty of 4x7" battle dressings, gauze, bandages, eye dressings, cravats, tape, scissors, small light, blood pressure kit, airways, cpr mask, thick exam gloves, saline, peroxide, alcohol, bee sting and snake bite kit, material for soft splints, trauma dressings (large type), candy for diabetics, stethescope, band-aids, burn creme, cold packs, aspirin, Tylenol, and some Benadryl for allergies and such. I have lots of other stuff, but those things are what I usually have to reach for.

I am not certified in using IV's but I know how should I ever find myself in a situation where it was do or die. I would not recommend this in any other situation though other than an absolute last resort. Non qualified people could get in lots of trouble for doing this if something went wrong. Leave the IV's and other invasions of the body to paramedics and nurses.

For anyone interested in first aid I would highly recommend that you take a First Responder or EMT course. This is what most fire departments and rescue squads train their members in. Paramedic is more advanced but costs more to take and lasts about 2 years. But any first aid course is terrific. The skills you learn may someday save a life...maybe even a family member. Now track down a class and enroll in it! Now!
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 2:19:31 AM EDT
I suggest the following:

Don't use something where everything is packed on top of each other - my biggest complaint is having to dump the entire contents in order to find something fast.  When you need this stuff, often you don't have time to go through a stuffed bag neatly.

Buy a large tacklebox or toolbox with trays and put your suppies in there.  But watch out that you don't get something with a bunch of tiny sections and permanent dividers. However dividers can be surgically removed.  

My latest version is a double-sided parts box with semi-clear sides.  One layer on each side, but you can see it all at once.  Some of the stuff like a stethoscope and a blood pressure cuff will not fit in this - it's not deep enough - but you get the idea.

I know you say there's not much room in the cars.  But of all the things you put in the car, this is one of the most important.

For several years, I would take almost a medicine chest with me on trips, and didn't use it.

Then one time at a campground around the 9,500 foot level, my son's friend dumped his bike on loose gravel.  If it hadn't been for an abundance of compresses, tape, disinfectant scrub, brush, triple antibiotic, etc., we would have had to go right back down the hill and spend hours driving to medical attention.

Instead, we were able to attend to the situation immediately.  It made the habit of carrying plenty very worthwhile.

Don't forget to carry plenty of water.  I use the 2 1/2 gal dispenser jugs but don't open a vent hole, so that it doesn't leak on the road.  You can just tilt it back up and let the air go in the spout.

Sunscreen, too.

And protect your kit against dust.  I found a clear heavy large plastic bag for this,  but a garbage bag would work.  When you get on a dirt road, the dust goes everywhere

Link Posted: 5/16/2002 3:49:15 AM EDT
I second the tackle box, I had the good luck to purchase an EMS kit from an LEO cruiser. A few items not mentioned are space blankets , and an "Extractor" snake bite kit (works like a reverse syringe/suction pump and it is also good on most insect bites) , air ways can be good too. A book on how to use most this stuff helps as does a first aid course and a cpr course. All the stuff in the world is useless if you don't know how to use it. Here is the link to sawyer's extractor, this kit is standard issue to most EMT's , etc.

Link Posted: 5/16/2002 5:04:03 AM EDT
I was a combat medic in VietNam..most of treatments I preformed were either based on trauma or disease. The first, always was predicated on getting a Medevac ASAP or at least by the next morning..The second by follow ups in a medical facility of some sort. I also treated civilians for a variety of dieseases and injury..there was for the most part little if any follow up.
My point being you cannot invision every scenario and if you could the gear would bog you down and you will need Medical School training...
So every first aid kit needs a cell phone or radio...and a GPS and training in anything you intend on using.
Fortunatlely in our state we have a "good Samaritan" law which mandates you
render what aid you can and you cant be sued for rendering that aid.
The greatest trauma and most likely one will come upon is an automobile accident. Others will be activity specific..Hunting (gunshot, snakebite, broken bones,heart attack,etc.) SCUBA spontaneous pnuemothorax, decompression sickness, marine life injuries, cuts and abrasions..The activity plus the geographic specifics should help to dictate kit requirements.
Kits that one carries in the field and what one carries in the truck will differ so you might also want to also consider a portable litter of some sort.
Also an oz of prevention...water purification, hygene also cannot be ignored.
long term SHTF scenarios ..nuclear/bio/chem I suggest lip balm so you dont chaff your butt kissing it adios....
In other words you cant plan for every possibility...Murphy says so...you would have to tow a large metropolitan hospital behind you and have the expertise to go with it...
So dont forget commo...and a GPS so you can give instructions to rescuers.
Meantime...make sure patient is breathing, not bleeding...and treat for shock.
Brush up on your CPR skills as these would be essential...get some basic bandaging techiques fist aid skills..
For complete SHTF scenarios...if we are talking full out global thermonuclear war or an invasion of aliens (of either persuasion) or societal meltdown..again stick to the basics..but prevension is the best course which in this case means to avoid any confrontation that will get your or your party needlessly injured...if you have to fight well then give er...the truth is in the case where no long term medical help or surgery or anti biotics specific to organisms is available or long in coming...you will probably die..depending upon your physical condition and the will of the good Lord. I would also recommend a small bible..in your kit.
Will you leave your wounded buddy who is too heavy to carry or stick with him/her till help or the enemy arrives?...is your mission a military one or merely self preservation...if its military then you must drive on..if not then you are faced with a moral dillema...leave them your space blanket..now you have none...
Basically plan your kit according to your needs but not so specific that you are bogged down in details..
just my opinon...
Link Posted: 5/16/2002 5:29:38 AM EDT
Thanks a lot for the tips guys. That Asherman Chest Seal looks very useful.

Did any of you see The Three Kings? What was that tube with a value that got stuck into Mark Wahlberg's chest? Is that a variation of the Asherman Chest Seal?
View Quote

The device in Three Kings is simply a needle thoracostomy with a valve on the end.  
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