Practical Medical Gear | Stop Bleeding, Save Lives
No one wants to get shot, in the same way very few permit holders think about the aftermath of a shooting. In some states, there’s a bit about legal ramifications, but I’m not aware of any that give a crash course on stopping the bleed. Maybe there should be.
Surviving may be the easy part- but life as you knew it is over. This type of stuff makes people uneasy. While there are literally hundres of tutorials of
allegedly important things you need to know, there isn’t a lot about patching holes. It’s far easier to whine about hot versus cold chamber, and how dangerous some carry positions are. If such is true, all the better to know how to “self patch” what you might do to yourself.
Every reader on this site carries at least one tourniquet (abbreviated as “TQ”) on themselves, correct? Carrying it means nothing, by the way, you also need to know how to use it- the same as the firearm. Everyone has one though, correct? Probably not.
If you don’t have one, why the hell not? How much other crap do you manage to have, versus something that could indeed save you, or someone else? Look at it this way- your body holds about 5 quarts of blood. With a serious arterial bleed, you can lose consciousness in as little as 20 seconds. If you lose about half of your blood, well, you might indeed expire. Can you get the TQ on in 15 seconds? What about the people with you when stuff goes south?
Perhaps some training/knowledge is in order. Do you take medication that affects your bleeding? Are you wandering around spending your days
slurping coffee and all of the other things you “simply must have” to “function”? That’s not going to work out so well for you, either, should you take a serious injury.
The lack of a TQ could negate further
function, if that’s the endgame you have in mind. If you’ve not lost someone to gunfire, or assisted a wounded friend, it ain’t Hollywood. My magical CPR card and 8 hour class didn’t help me save 2 loved ones lost to heart attack, either.
My father expired from a gunshot wound, and I’ve had a good friend shotgunned, and was right there for both, front and center. No pep talk in the world prepares you for the sights, sounds, or smells. This stuff changes you. Would you want your children to see you bleed out after trying to protect them, when a $27 TQ and some training might have guaranteed them you’d be around longer? Probably not. It only takes two to four
minutes to bleed out from arterial damage.
When I started my career, things like body armor and a TQ earned you sidewise glances from your coworkers. Believe it or not, there are still those who believe that TQ usage equals limb loss/amputation. This is incredibly ignorant, and untrue. A TQ can remain in place for hours. The counter argument is also incredibly obvious- you’d rather be shot with no armor? If you’ve not experienced this- a hit while armored hurts like hell, but beats the alternative.
This type of mindset is stupidity on a scale that I cannot comprehend. Thank goodness times have changed. As to amputation, I’d learn to do things with 1 arm or leg, because we have some amazing technology out there. However, resurrection isn’t part of that technology.
To put it simply- the TQ is as vital as the spare mag, light, and knife.
I’ve attended crappy trauma classes, but have gotten into some far better stuff the last couple of years. In these classes we use CAT 7 TQ’s. I also have SWAT-T types in my kits as well, as they help kids and canines.
None of use are ever exempt from potential harm. Ever watch the news and hear about someone being hit by stray gunfire? It happens, people. CAT Tourniquets have the most saves in combat, period. If you have other types, and write for this site, please chime in and give your defense of that product. The more we discuss this stuff, the more likely people will at least have SOMETHING available. The SWAT-T isn’t great for self aid the way a CAT7 is, but the SWAT also makes a dandy pressure bandage. That’s what we call a “two fer”.
You need to understand how all of the major TQ’s work. There are basically 4 types, and they are CAT, RATS, SWAT-T, and SOF-T. The ability to use all equally well is right up there with the ability to use multiple firearms platforms, in the event yours goes down. If your buddy has different stuff
than you, maybe you want to be familiar with it, to protect him, if he can’t protect himself.
In the event I seem like a paranoiac, rest assured I’m not. I’m merely a realist who prefers action over wishful thinking. This is an opportunity to discuss various TQ types and potentially save someone. If you’ve got a trauma kit on you for potential gunplay, could it not be applied to victims of a car crash, which is way more probable? Yep.
Here’s a fun “what-if”- for whatever reason, you’re in a large store when an active shooter scenario erupts. This might be indeed helpful for all those types out there who tend to live in Fantasy Land. Let’s say that you stop the threat with your legal carry pistol, but get injured in the process (highly probable). Do you-
A-Become a hero because you had the sense to plan ahead for such an emergency, (self aid) or
B-Become another victim of “gun violence”, because you stopped the threat, but failed to stop the bleed?
People will still call you a hero, but you won’t hear it.If you foolishly think that you can hang on long enough untreated while authorities secure the scene, (who’s standing with a gun when they make entry? You?) and possibly THEN the medical people get in to search for victims, then go ahead and leave the spare mag, light, knife, and TQ at home, because you’re operating above we mere mortals.
This type of thinking is foolhardy, and dangerous. Have the training, then get trauma kits in the cars. Have everyone in the home get training, provided they’re old enough. If you’re the primary Defender in the home, what happens when you get hit? All that “go fast” gear, and no one can correctly use it?
After all, as primary Defender, you’re likely Primary Medic too, correct? Are you the Primary Driver in the home? What happens after the crash, when Primary Medic/Defender/Driver gets mashed up, and needs help? My children are adults now, and they’re out there, capable of helping others as well as themselves. Does that seem paranoid, or , is that the person you’d be happy to see in a bad situation? Our civil servants simply cannot follow you around, because you’re likely not that big of a deal. Self reliance will not ever go out of style, people.
A couple of minor things, and we’ll put a bow on this tutorial. Female hygeine products have no place in a trauma kit. They have a very specific use, but gunshot stuff isn’t it. This was likely in a movie somewhere, but just don’t do it. If you’ve got them in the car, great, preparation is key.
Glove color- for Petes sakes, yes, there are teams who may need black gloves so they don’t become bullet magnets, but are you a member on any of these teams? Probably not. Blue and white gloves allow you to see blood more easily when treating victims. Speaking of blue- CAT training TQ’s are blue. Buy trainers for training, and save your new stuff for real emergencies.
When you go to the range to practice, have your trauma kit there, unzipped, ready to go.Make pull tabs out of duct tape, for all your sterile stuff. If your hands are blood soaked, it’s not easy to tear packets open. All the more reason for at least 1 knife. If ever there was a place, shy of a potential Hot Zone to get shot in, it’s the flipping range. Good Lord, what do people do there? Are you ready? You are indeedpracticing, correct?
At this point, do a little soul searching. You’re probably thinking that you don’t need any of this. Training and equipment aren’t cheap. There are likely things that you do everyday that would equal the cost of a good class- choosing what to do without might give you the required funds.
Chances are pretty high that you’ve got some sort of hobby that could maim you pretty bad, and might require a TQ. TQ application is merely 1 facet of the whole training for trauma equation, and get the best civilian training that you can. There are many levels, based on need/profession.
Although this wasn’t likely the most cheerful thing you’ll read today, hopefully it got you thinking. So, what did we cover?
1-We need basic Trauma Training
2-We need to have a TQ, Minimally for self aid
3-We need to be familiar with all TQ types
4-We need trauma kits in the cars for everyone
5-All family members with knowledge is force multiplication
6-A reflective safety vest is good for the car, too, in emergencies.
7-Maybe you should have a snake bite kit with your gear, depending on where you live
8-If we carry guns, we need TQ’s, minimally
9-We can fade out in as little as 20 seconds, and expire within 2 to 4 minutes.
10-Help will not be there that quickly. You must help yourself.
Stay Safe, Train Often