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What If You Don’t Have a Tourniquet or Trauma Kit? Part 1: Bleeding

It’s impossible to be prepared at all times. We’re likely to be caught off guard and without important gear when an emergency happens. This is why training skills is so important.

Skills are weightless and with us all the time if an edge is honed every now and then. Skills sharpen or dull depending on how often they are used. Gear is great, but you also need to know what to do if you don’t have any, or, you use up everything you have.

This will be a multiple article discussion about what to do in the event you don’t have any gear with you. All you have is your mind, a bad situation, and an injured person in danger.

Severe Bleeding

This is first because blood loss is the injury that will kill your casualty the quickest, but the simplest to prevent. If you’ve been following the Mountain Man Medical YouTube channel or reading any of the articles on this web site, then you already know a tourniquet (TQ) is the first choice for treating life-threatening wounds to arms and legs.

TQs are easy to use and fast to apply with very little training, and are clearly the optimal choice. But what if you don’t have one… or there are more casualties and/or wounds then you have tourniquets for?

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Biased, but Accurate: Why Medical Kits Are Better Than Guns for Self-protection

Let me start off this article by acknowledging my biased opinion.

I run a blog and YouTube channel dedicated to emergency trauma management for a website that sells trauma kits, so it would seem I have a vested interest in supporting medical kits over firearms when it comes to personal protection.

That said, I feel my opinion is justified because the points I have are good ones and might change your mind on which you should buy first.

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ASP 2020 Bullets & Bibles National Conference

Mountain Man Medical recently sponsored the annual Active Self Protection National Conference in Kansas.

The event runs 3 days during which attendees have the opportunity to attend various classroom and range training sessions taught by various instructors in the Active Self Protection team and family.

The event was hosted at the “Living Water Ranch” outside of Manhattan Kansas
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Handling Emergencies Like a Pro: Part 1

The hardest part about emergency trauma care is managing the chaos that tends to invade every situation. Basic first aid is surprisingly simple, but the nature of it being an emergency rachets up the stress and quickly makes those simple things surprisingly difficult.

So, since the hard part of emergencies is really just about managing high levels of stress, how can we be more effective first responders?

Professionals are no different then you, they just have better methods of managing the stress. Let’s look at some of the ways to prevent being overwhelmed when everything and everyone around you seems to be falling apart.

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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.

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Rangers Lead the Way with Innovative War Medicine

75th Ranger Regiment Medic
Photo: U.S. Army

History was made by Staff Sergeant Charles Bowen and Sergeant Ty Able one long night in Afghanistan when they utilized a brand-new procedure developed by the Army to keep our nations warriors in the fight.

The Ranger O Low Titer (or ROLO as the troops know it), uses a live donor to supply combat medics with a fresh supply of blood on the battlefield.

Bowen and Able were conducting operations with their unit, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, in the Wardak province of Afghanistan in the summer of 2019.

Work for the medics began after the Rangers were attempting to dislodge a barricaded shooter. Three soldiers were injured by an explosion and the two units of blood every Ranger medic carries was quickly used up treating the casualties.

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The SWAT-T is the Best Backup Tourniquet

Having a commercial, purpose-made tourniquet ready to go in an emergency is essential for keeping someone alive. Trying to build your own on the spot takes time you don’t have and won’t be nearly as effective as something like the CAT.

And no, your belt is not an acceptable substitute of a quality tourniquet. I run into people all the time that say they would just use their belt to control a life-threatening bleed because they haven’t stopped to think about how it might actually be done.

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3 Degrees: How to Treat Burns

File:House fire using gasoline.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

If you’re just jumping into this article, go check out the last article I wrote explaining the degrees of burns and some of the risk factors associated with them. This way, you’ll better understand what I’m talking about in this next in the series about how to treat this type of emergency.

I'll start this off with saying burns are nothing to screw around with. Not only can they be very dangerous, but burns are very painful.

In my circle of friends and family I am the community medic and I get calls asking about one thing or another. Whenever I get questions about burns, I always recommend the victim gets seen at a hospital.

This ensures they are treated for their injury and keep it from getting worse, but perhaps more motivating is that the burn victim will be able to get some relief from the pain.

Burns are extremely painful. Even a mild sunburn is uncomfortable, so any injury causing a serious burn is likely to be excruciating. Go to the hospital so the victims pain is managed to acceptable levels.

How to Treat a Burn

Put out the Fire

One of the risks of treating a burn is becoming a burn victim yourself by not making sure the fire is out before touching the casualty. Scene Safety is a very important aspect to emergency medicine. Don’t become another victim in your attempt to take care of the casualty.

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3 Degrees: Understanding Burn Injuries

Molotov cocktail - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

According to the CDC, over 1 million people a year are reported to have burns that require medical attention. These burns can come from a lot of different factors, from thermal burns like exposure to a heat source, or from chemicals.

With the rioting and looting going on in America today, the Molotov Cocktail is seeing a come back and understanding how to care for a burn patient might be important.

Let’ s first examine the 3 classifications of burns.

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A Successful Rescue

This is a follow up to the article, Why You Shouldn’t Try to Rescue Someone in Danger. If you haven’t read it, go check it out and this will make more sense.

To help your memory, here are the 3 main points of why it’s a good idea to leave a rescue to the professionals:

  1. You aren’t trained
  2. You don't have a team helping you
  3. You might do more harm than good

Emergencies are dangerous situations. Not only for the victim, but also for the rescuers. This is why we have rescue experts like firefighters, police officers, and search and rescue teams who train often on how to be successful.

But, if you don’t have a choice and need to attempt a rescue before help arrives, here are some things to consider so you increase your chances for success.

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