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Top 5 Items: Hunter IFAK

Last week we talked about the 3 types of injuries you might face while hunting.

Being far away from medical help is the biggest reason why an emergency in a remote location is especially dangerous. Even a small injury can hold you back enough to turn a normal day into a life-threatening situation.

I’ve spent a lot of time living in arduous conditions and over time I’ve come to value some philosophies when it comes to gear.

Philosophy # 1

Lighter is better.

Anyone experienced in rough living has probably heard the term (or something similar), “Ounces = Pounds. Pounds = Pain.”

Hiking 5 miles into dark timber to shoot an elk then hiking out 250 lbs. of meat over several trips back and forth, and you start looking for ways to reduce your load.

Experienced back packers are always looking to cut their base weight at every available opportunity, throwing away any unnecessary food packaging or cutting toothbrushes in half so they don’t have to carry the extra weight of a full handle.

One popular way to cut weight and reduce misery on the trail is to carry items that can be used for multiple purposes.

  1. Tourniquet

Proper bleeding control is still the most important consideration in any traumatic event. Especially in a remote location where it could take hours to extricate after an emergency. Many people prefer the Combat Application Tourniquet because it’s widely trusted by professionals and is simple to apply one handed.

My preferred TQ for austere environments, however, is the SWAT-T because of its ability to treat injuries other than those on extremities. It’s also light weight and packs well, making it ideal for the back country.

Not only will it work as effective tourniquet, but it’s also a multi-use item that can be converted into a pressure dressing, a chest seal, sling, splinting, hunting rabbits, or whatever else you can think of. This helps to drastically reduce the weight of your trauma kit so you can go farther and longer.

2. QuikClot Gauze

Used along with the SWAT-T as your pressure dressing, a roll of QuikClot gauze can be packed into the wound to control severe bleeding. This is especially important for junction wounds like in your neck, groin, or armpit, where a TQ won’t work.

3. Tape

A multi-use item that can be used for everything you can imagine. I’m sure I don’t need to say, most people can see the value of tape when you need it, but in a wilderness survival situation, it might literally save your life.

This is a handy item for taping down chest seals, securing splints, makeshift bandages and any of the thousands of things you will need tape for.

4. Survival Blanket

Prevention of hypothermia is always a constant concern when dealing with trauma casualties no matter what climate or local you’re hunting in. It’s important to have a way to keep the victim warm while help trudges their way up the mountain.

Survival blankets are inexpensive, lightweight, small enough to pack anywhere, and could literally mean the difference between life and death in the wild.

5. First Aid

Not every injury you get while hunting is going to be a showstopper. Most injuries are going to come from minor scrapes, nicks, cuts, and bruises.

The most used item in any medical kit is the bandaids, and minor wound care products. Keeping a stock in your personal kit and at your base camp will help keep your quality of life up and your happiness at a maximum.

Other items, like ibuprofen, and acetaminophen for stiff muscles, and sports wraps for sore joints help after long days and nights hauling the kill back to camp.

If you want to know how to use these items, check out Emergency Trauma Response. 100% online, free and will help you get started with understanding the basics.

Emergency Trauma Response Training Course

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3 Most Common Hunting Injuries

Hunting in the back country of the Colorado Rockies is tough, even for the most experienced hunters and people come from all over the world just to test themselves here.

The wilderness you are hiking through to get an animal is usually difficult to access, even on a good day. Being so far away from hospital means even a small injury could become potentially life threatening because of how long it could take to get to help.

A sprained ankle at the office isn’t considered a medical emergency, but a sprained ankle on a mountain top 8 miles from the nearest road might mean significant danger.

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Emergency Trauma: Where Do You Even Start?

One of the hardest things about trauma medicine is knowing where to begin. If you aren’t somebody who uses these skills on the regular, like an EMT or Paramedic, then you’re likely to be a little off your game. But that’s expected.

Emergencies are tense and scary and that can cause an unexperienced first responder to hesitate. But there are a few tricks that can help you make the right call when it matters most.

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Combat Gauze Vs. QuikClot

One of the things I say with regularity is how important it is to learn wound packing. But if you haven’t heard, here’s why:

Wound packing is an essential skill because a tourniquet (TQ) cannot be used to treat all life-threatening bleeding. Don’t get me wrong, TQs work great for arms and legs, but if you’re bleeding from anywhere else, such as your neck or groin, wound packing is the only thing that will save your life.

I’ve gotten some questions recently asking what I think is better, QuikClot, or Combat Gauze. There are a few differences that might help you understand what it is you’re carrying in your trauma kit.

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Time To Talk: Tactical Tampons

 

It seems to me that most rumors, if left uninvestigated for too long after being conceived, tend to die long slow, and painful deaths.

One of my favorite topics on this blog is investigating emergency trauma myths and whether they’re worth holding on to.

Some rumors (such as extremity elevation above the level of the heart to reduce bleeding) are actually found to be effective after being studied by health care researchers.

But most rumors (like, “your limb will amputated if a TQ is used”) are false, dangerous, and have killed many people over the years.

In this article we’ll be discussing why Tampons are a

 

terrible choice to stock in your trauma kit, and some items that will work much better for saving your own life, or the life of a loved one.

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The Incredible Story of the World’s 1st Illegal Underwater Surgery

Doc Lipes Performs an appendectomy on a Submarine by Artist John Falter

I don’t know how other branches instill passion in their medics, but in the US Navy it’s done by telling the legends of our craft. The heroes who’ve gone before us to set the example and show us what being a combat medic means.

One of these who inspired me early in my career was the story of Pharmacist’s Mate 1st Class Wheeler Lipes, who, while at sea and underwater in enemy territory, preformed an illegal surgery that saved the life of his shipmate.

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How to Spot Head Trauma

There isn’t a lot a medic can do for head trauma to make the situation better for the casualty.

There are still things to be done, such as preventing further harm to the casualty and managing the airway but knowing what massive brain damage looks like can help you make the right decisions.

One of those decisions is whether or not to spend time helping the casualty at all. A good medic realizes some injuries are too severe to recover from, and while the casualty is still alive and breathing, the medic’s time is better spent on casualties who have a better chance for survival.

This is called “Triage.”

It may seem cold and heartless, but these are the realities that must sometimes be realized in trauma medicine. Doing the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people means someone might get left in the lurch.

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The BEST Way Stop Bleeding W/o a Tourniquet

We can’t be prepared all the time. Even if you’re the kind of person who has every pocket full of life saving materials, you still need to shower at some point and when that day comes you may very well find yourself having to save a life without any gear at all.

Tourniquets are normally your best bet for controlling severe bleeding from an arm or a leg, but that leaves a large portion of the human body where a TQ won’t work.

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Daydreams Helped Me in Combat. The Science:

You might’ve gotten into trouble for it in school, but daydreaming can be great for your survival.

I learned this the hard way as a method of keeping myself present in the rocky hills of Afghanistan. While on patrol with my fireteam, it was easy for my mind to wander back to what must be happening in the normal world instead of focused on the dangers around me.

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How a Flannel Shirt Can Save Your Life

A few weeks ago, I made a video on the Mountain Man Medical YouTube channel about an Officer who was stabbed in the neck while attempting to apprehend a suspect.

After the altercation is complete, the body cam footage ends with the officer walking away to pack gauze into his own neck wound.

If you’ve been reading this blog in the past few weeks, you’ll already know why junctional wounds are uniquely dangerous, and why bleeding control is so difficult.

If you haven’t read these articles, I highly recommend that you do so you’ll better understand what I’m talking about here. They’re short reads, and I try to make them entertaining and educational.

After completing the video review of the injured Officer, I kept thinking about how important it is that everyone know how to pack a junctional wound. As I’ve said repeatedly in the last few posts, tourniquets, while important and effective, don’t fix everything.

I hear all the time from instructors about how important it is everyone to learns to self-apply a TQ to save your own life, but never anything about a technique for packing your own junctional wounds and/or improvising effective pressure dressings.

This is an unusual and potentially deadly blind spot in the normal training of medical skills for personal preparedness and protection.

I worry for the person who carries around a trauma kit for their own personal safety, confident they can control bleeding with their TQ, only to bleed out from a junction wound because they don’t know what to do.

Learning how to control your own junctional bleed is equally important as learning how to self-apply a tourniquet.

I started thinking of a way where an injured person suffering from a knife wound to the neck, might go about controlling bleeding until help arrives.

How to Improvise a Pressure Dressing with a Flannel Shirt

This method, like all improvised equipment, has its flaws. Improvised medical gear will never be better than commercially produced gear, and whenever possible I recommend you maintain your own supplies of pressure dressings like the Israeli Style or OLAES, so you don’t have to do any of this.

But the reality of emergencies is that they can occur when you are least prepared and knowing how to fix this problem might be handy when you need it most.

Here is a demonstration so you understand what I’m talking about here, but come back after you watch it and I’ll add some tips that might make the process easier.

Tip #1

This technique won’t work well if your shirt doesn’t have long enough sleeves. I wear a lot flannel (yeah, yeah, make your jokes) so this isn’t really an issue for me, since I’m usually wearing a long sleeve shirt. But if you don’t, this won’t be quite as simple.

That said, learning this technique means the material doesn’t have to be a shirt. Look around for something suitable to replace the shirt and you’re still accomplishing the goal. This is your shining opportunity to think outside the box.

Tip #2

You must practice. Self-application of a tourniquet must be practiced, and so must pressure dressings. Play around with it until you can do it without stumbling. It will probably take a few tries so don’t give up.

And if you happen to figure out a better way to do it, please don’t hesitate to share with the rest of the community so we can all benefit!

Tip #3

Yes, the shirt must be flannel. Flannel shirts are naturally imbued with the powers of Mountain Men, which is why it works so well as an improvised pressure dressing…