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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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Medical Trauma: What is Shock?

Shock is a term that can be very broad in its description but can also be broken down into more precise definitions. Many people mistake the term “shock” to mean that dazed and confused state some victims go into after experiencing something emotionally traumatizing.

Emotional shock is still a concern for a medic but is not usually considered life-threatening in an emergency. For our study today, we’ll focus on medical forms of shock and hopefully approach it in a way that’s easy to understand.

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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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4 Ways to Carry and Stage Your Tourniquet

The quick and timely application of a tourniquet has saved many lives and all good medics ensure their gear is ready to go. Cutting down on steps and thinking ahead helps a bad situation go a little more smoothly. And every little bit counts.

Maybe you learned this lesson the hard way, or maybe you prefer to just listen to those of us who did.

Either way, setting up your TQ is a great idea and here are some things that will make your life easier:

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Battle Dressing Showdown: Israeli Style Vs. OLAES

Seems like I’ve been on a bit of a pressure bandage kick. Which is fine with me cause I can only write about tourniquets for so long before my eyes start to bleed.

If you didn’t already know, a pressure bandage is a stretchy material wrapped around the victim to provide constant firm pressure to the wound and wound packing gauze for bleeding control.

This is important to know because not all life-threatening injuries occur on the arms and legs where TQs do their best and only work.

There are plenty of different pressure dressings on the market and they vary widely in size, function, and style, but the two that are leading the pack are the Israeli style and the OLAES Modular Pressure Dressing.

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The Best Type of Flashlight for Emergency

It would be nice for emergencies to happen in the very best locations. A well-lit ER is a great place to have an emergency if you happen to be in one at the time. But Emergencies don’t happen like that. Usually it’s cold, wet, and dark, and with no help available.

Emergencies are especially scary because, you’re “it.” The casualty might be relying on you because no one else is willing or able. And if it’s dark and you don’t have help, it’s nice to be able to use your hands AND see what you’re doing.

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Trauma Gear: The 1 Item That’s Worth 5

Working as a Corpsman and EMT, I wasn’t given the choice of what medical gear I used. People with much more experience, training and education decided ahead of time what was acceptable and what wasn’t.

As a result, I only used gear that was issued and available to me and I never thought about if there might be a better option because it wouldn’t matter if there was. It would go against SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and that was always strictly forbidden.

Now that I’m free to explore and look into other life saving equipment, I’m given the opportunity to search out the answers for myself and question my reasons for doing what I do.

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Extending Your Resources: TOP 5 Multi-Use Trauma Gear

An emergency usually means you have little or no resources available to recover from a bad situation. Being able to extend the life of precious resources like trauma gear might become an essential skill set, and it happens to be one that medics pride themselves in.

Unless you're heading out to do errands in a fully stocked ambulance, you aren’t going to be able to carry all the things you might need for trauma control. And the situation only gets worse for multiple casualties.

Some things you just can’t get around, like carrying tourniquets for life threatening bleeds or seals for chest wall punctures. But if possible, carrying items that can be used for more then one type of injury is good for extending the number, and different kinds of emergency trauma you might encounter.

Here’s a list of items that can handle more than one job:

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