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Top 5 First Aid Apps for Your Smart Phone

When I was a kid, I tragically suffered through long, boring car rides. Nothing to do but watch the landscape crawl by and fight with siblings.

During those times my mind would often wander to how amazing it would be, to live in the future where I would be able to watch shows on a personal little TV. One that floats in front of my face, of course, since it's the future.

While we’re still far from the floating TV I imagined, we carry far more useful items in our pockets. Smart phones have created a lot of social problems in the world, but there is no denying the value of having an “all-knowing” device in our pockets, ready at moment’s notice.

Not all of us have the time, or inclination, to regularly attend medical training to keep those skills sharp and ready to go when a life is on the line. Smart phones allow us to have the ability to expand our readiness.

Below are ways to supplement your training and keep important, potentially life saving information at your thumbs. These are the top-rated apps on Google Play Store and what I think of them after playing around with each.

5. First Aids and Emergency techniques

Google Play Store Rating: 4.6

Pros:

  1. None

Cons:

  1. Not intuitive or set up in a way that makes it easy to find the right topic in an emergency.
  2. Lots of ads. Some that pop up in the middle of looking at important information.
  3. Doesn’t seem designed with emergency use in mind.
  4. No descriptive pictures

Doc’s Rating: 1

This app is not well thought out and is clunky to use and not very informative. Not only is there no emergency section so you can use it when someone is bleeding to death, it offers nothing in the way of pictures to describe what’s being discussed.

The multiple adds were frustrating with some popping up in the middle of my attempt to find a section talking about severe blood loss, which I never found by the way.

Hard to read text and annoying pop-up ads prevent use.

4. First Aid Guide OffLine

Google Play Store Rating: 4.4

Pros:

  1. None

Cons:

  1. Bad Tourniquet advice under “What not to do” section of Hemorrhage.
  2. Confusing description of how to Improvise a TQ
  3. Says to remove the Tourniquet if bleeding is controlled!
  4. Contains ads
  5. Uses precise medical terms like “Asphyxia” that most people won’t know.

Doc’s Rating: 1.5

Slightly better than the pervious app, this one likes to use expensive words that are likely to go over the head of anyone who isn’t an expert on medical trauma. The information in the app appears to be outdated as many of the techniques described have long ago been discarded. Use this one with the understanding it could be wrong.

Bad advice, and ads make this the wrong app for you.

3. First Aid Kit: First Aid and Emergency Techniques (Smart First Aid)

Google Play Store Rating: 4.9

Pros:

  1. Easy to use interface. Finding the right section is intuitive and quick
  2. Includes Videos about injuries, (but not good ones)

Cons:

  1. Includes ads
  2. No “Severe Bleeding” section
  3. Not designed for quick emergency use.

Doc’s Rating: 2

This app is easy to use, but appears to be more centered on non-emergency first aid. To get a higher rating from me would require some effort put into emergency trauma. When you need information in a life-or-death scenario, you need it immediately. Basic first aid, like how to stop a nosebleed, can wait a few minutes while you look it up on Google, making this app useless in my opinion.

Looks great, but very little substance to be worth your time.

2. American Red Cross

Google Play Store Rating: 4.4

Pros:

  1. No Ads
  2. Easy intuitive Lay out
  3. Can call 911 from the App
  4. Helpful pictures

Cons:

  1. Some instructions not written well
  2. Doesn’t show how to apply a TQ

First Aid Canadian Red Cross: Same as American Red Cross

IFRC: Same as Red Cross

Doc’s Rating: 4

This is a great app, and held the top spot for quite a while until unseated by the next contestant for the number one spot. The app is well designed with an intuitive layout making it easy and quick to use. It does offer a couple of poorly done videos, but at least the pictures are decent to show examples.

This is a pretty good app. Well thought out.

1. FirstAIDFast

Play Store Rating: 4.6

Pros:

  1. Great instructional videos with every topic
  2. Easy to use lay out that would work well in an emergency
  3. Call 911 right from the App
  4. Find a hospital on the App

Cons:

  1. Must have an Email Account attached to it.
  2. No description of how to apply a tourniquet
  3. Might not be able to find a hospital or call an ambulance in the US

Doc’s Rating: 4.5

This is the best apps I’ve seen, easy. It’s not made for only the US, so there could be things that don’t apply to your location. The app is easy to use and it’s quick to find the right topic you’re searching for. The use of great quality, 30 second videos also stands out here to show exactly what you need to do. This app is worth a look and the best one I’ve personally tested.

Get a FREE course on emergency trauma medicine on the Mountain Man Medical. No obligations, hidden charges or other shenanigans.

First Aid Fast is the best app I tested. Definitely worth a look.
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I Was Wrong… This Belt Will Work as a Tourniquet

There’s a commonly thrown around myth that belts can make for a good, improvised tourniquet in the middle of an emergency if it’s all you have.

I understand that this seems like it would work, but close examination of how tourniquets work, human anatomy, and the construction of belts, shows that this isn’t the case.

Almost all belts make for crappy tourniquets, and if you want to know all the reasons why, check out my YouTube video talking about just that.

However, now I’m forced to eat my words after discovering a belt designed to serve this function well.

Continue reading I Was Wrong… This Belt Will Work as a Tourniquet
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What’s Better? CAT Vs. SOF-T Wide

Trying to decide what the best tourniquet is for you? The Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) is often viewed as the best device for controlling life-threatening bleeds and is trusted by medical professions all around the world. The SOF-T Wide is also just as trusted, but not quite so widely used. This doesn’t mean it’s inferior.

The CAT has the benefit of being the first to the market and was picked up by the US and British militaries for combat applications and so it enjoys great data supporting its effectiveness.

The SOF-T Wide came onto the scene a short time later, but since it was approved by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC) after the CAT, it isn’t as widely recognized, but still deserves your consideration in my opinion.

I have used both TQ’s in real world applications and I have some opinions that might help you decide which is the right TQ for you.

Continue reading What’s Better? CAT Vs. SOF-T Wide
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Handling Emergencies Like a Pro: Part 2

Firefighter - Wikipedia
Emergency Professionals like Fire Fighters are widely respected for being able to stay calm when things get hairy. It's not impossible for you to do the same.

In Part 1 of Handling Emergencies Like a Pro, we talked about how to make a quick plan on the way to the casualty. Professionals do this all the time and it’s a great way to get past a lot of the indecision. But, to come up with a workable plan, you need to be trained.

Any high-level professional will tell you they are constantly training. Developing and maintaining skills takes a big stress load off your shoulders by allowing you to focus on the bigger, more dynamic picture. Since you have applied a Tourniquet (TQ)so many times in training, you aren’t thinking about each and every step when you do. Instead you’re thinking ahead about the next problem.

Continue reading Handling Emergencies Like a Pro: Part 2
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Why the SWAT-T is Good for Civilians, but Not the Military

I know I already touched on this topic a few weeks ago, but I wanted to go a little more in depth on why I believe the SWAT-T is a great back up.

When I became a part of Mountain Man Medical earlier this year, I knew I was about to learn a lot. Not only was I going to brush up on old trauma skills, but I was going to learn about how to publish articles and videos. Being a knuckledragger with a low-level IQ means it’s tenacity that wins the day over speed. Eventually, I’ll learn a new thing if I apply myself.

What I was unprepared for was how many rumors and myths I’ve encountered surrounding basic trauma medicine. The medical world is constantly changing and evolving. New techniques are always being studied, developed, improved on, thrown away, or otherwise changed so something once thought of as the gospel truth, is now widely frowned upon in modern medicine.

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How Long Can You Leave A Tourniquet Before Amputation?

Tourniquets are a frequent topic of discussion on the Mountain Man Medical YouTube channel and I’ve been seeing a lot of rumors. Most of these rumors come from the old ways of doing things.

All medicine is constantly changing, year to year and sometimes month to month as scientists and doctors search for the best way to keep a person alive, and trauma is no exception.

If you haven’t had any medical training for a few years you might not be up to date on the latest techniques for managing trauma. One of the most common myths I see pop up is this:

“Tourniquets are a last resort. If you apply a TQ, the victims injured limb will be amputated.”

Not only is this wrong, but it’s very dangerous.

Continue reading How Long Can You Leave A Tourniquet Before Amputation?