Brownells 75th Anniversary - A Shooting Heritage

When Help Isn't On The Way

By John Peterson

A critical part of preparing for emergencies is to make provisions for medical situations that can arise when government-provided services are unavailable, far away, or simply overwhelmed. Cuts, burns, sprains, fractures, sudden illness, and other minor or major injuries must be treated promptly to prevent complications. A well-stocked first aid kit is a vital item in your survival arsenal.

There is a great variety of kits available, in different sizes and equipped to treat injuries of various degrees of severity. My personal medical kit in my car is the Bighorn Sportsman Medical Kit from Adventure Medical. It’s a well-thought-out, enhanced first aid kit that’s just the right choice for dealing with a variety of hunting, fishing, or other outdoors medical needs, and it can serve as a great auto or home first aid kit. This kit covers most of the important bases with items for stopping bleeding, bandaging wounds, stabilizing fractures and sprains, and various medications.

Of special note among the 50+ different types of items in the kit, is the big selection bandages and dressings in different sizes, QuikClot for stopping severe bleeding, heavy duty shears used by EMTs, moleskin for fixing blisters, tape, nitrile protective gloves, petrolatum dressings for burns, a disposable thermometer, forceps for splinter and tick removal, 5 types of medications, and 3 types of antibiotics/antiseptics, and a CPR face shield. It even includes a booklet that I have found to be an excellent, detailed guide to wilderness and travel medicine.

Important for any good first aid kit is to have its contents logically arranged in well-marked, easy-to-find compartments. The Bighorn Sportsman kit has this, and its easy-to-see, bright orange nylon case slips neatly into your pack or even a large jacket pocket. The sturdy handles can be snap-linked to your pack or gear, so you can make sure this kit is always with you. What I also like about it is that it has extra room for additional medical items. I stuff my kit with some spare items and prescription medications.

I highly recommend adding at least one item for stopping life-threatening severe bleeding – a tourniquet. Hunting, range, and vehicle accidents have resulted in loss of life that could have been prevented if an effective method for halting severe bleeding were available. The SOF® Tactical Tourniquet by Tactical Medical Solutions emerged from field experience in the Global War on Terror. “SOF” stands for Special Operations Forces because it was designed by U.S. Army Special Forces medics who perfected it literally right out of the war zones.

The Tactical Tourniquet is very compact to carry, and it is wide enough to provide the best possible arterial compression to stop a severe bleed, even from an amputation. It can be applied one-handed, and the hardware for tightening it is both easy to use and made of aluminum to virtually eliminate the risk of breakage. A tourniquet can save a life, but if used improperly, it can cause permanent damage. Before you get into a situation where you might need to use this or any similar product, you should first get proper training in the use of tourniquets.