First Aid Kits

At this year’s Sayoc Sama Sama 2011 I had the opportunity to be part of the Medical Team on site.  The team was composed individuals with a wide range of experiences and skill sets.  We also were privileged to have Tuhon Tom Kier offer his guidance and insight.  The group reviewed the existing procedures laid out in our Secondary Security Protocols and tailored our plans of action to fit the event specifics.  One aspect of medical preparedness that came up was the composition and accessibility of first aid kits.  I am lucky to have Guro Travis Downing and Guro Joey Pena as instructors, both of whom have shared a wealth of knowledge regarding our kits and corresponding medical management.  Based on the instruction I have received, here is a breakdown of basic essentials that any of us should have at home, in our cars or even on our persons.

– Trauma Shears

– Flashlight with extra batteries

– Matches for light or sterilization

All first aid begins with assessment, so the ability to access and see the person’s condition is critical.  Removing clothing, straps or even seatbelts quickly may be necessary not only see, hear and feel but prepare a body for a potentially higher level of intervention such as an Automated Electronic Defibrillator.

– Rolled Gauze, Kerlex, multiple various sizes

– Sterile Gauze Squares, multiple 3×3 or 4×4 sizes

– Non-adherent and/or occlusive dressings that won’t pull and make wounds worse when changing or assessing

– Plastic (Surgical), Paper or Cloth Medical Tape

– Ace bandage

– Duct Tape

Managing severe bleeding, along with the ABC’s of CPR should be a top priority.  Direct pressure is an effective intervention, and absorbant materials can be used to cover, protect, stuff wounds or maintain external pressure.  The tape is important to secure and protect wounds, but also to immobilize wounds, cervical spine and/or limbs.  One of the hospital educators where I work also suggested Kotex female hygiene pads because they can absorb a great deal of fluid, and I’ve heard Guro Travis mention tampons for the same reason in puncture wounds.

– CPR Mask

For many of us, our daily interactions with family and co-workers include populations more susceptible to respiratory or cardiovascular insult.  Current CPR guidelines set forth by the American Heart Association designate fast and efficient chest compressions for adults, and CPR masks may facilitate oxygenation of blood during extended periods of CPR and can act as a safety barrier for the rescuer.  While adult collapses are often associated with cardiovascular failure, pediatric cases are frequently related to respiratory issues.

– Neosporin or other First Aid Antibiotics

– Burn and/or itch creams such as Aloe Vera, Hydrocortisone or Calomine

– Alcohol Pads

– Rubbing alcohol

– Hand sanitizer and/or soap

– Water and/or Saline Solution

– Bleach

Infection is a primary concern any time skin has been compromised, even by sunburn.  Cleaning sites and introducing antibiotic ointments may help protect wounds until higher levels of care are provided.  Remember that the mechanical action of soap and water is far superior to simpy applying alcohol based agents like Purell.  Iodine contains cleansing properties, however for individuals allergic to shellfish they are more prone to react to iodine products.

– Chemical cold and heat packs

– Emergency blanket

– Cotton Swabs for cleaning wounds or even touching foreign objects out of eyes

– Tongue depressor

– Nitrile Gloves

– Surgical Mask or N95 Mask

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is necessary to minimize exposure to either party.  Some sources also suggest gowns and goggles.  Nitrile (non-latex) gloves are readily found, as latex allergies and reactions are becoming more abundant.  In general, individuals with latex allergies are also allergic to bananas and avocados.  N95 masks are used in the hospital setting but can be purchased anywhere to help prevent airborne pathogens such as H1N1.

– Aspirin 325mg Tablets

– Benadryl 25 mg Tablets

– Ibuprofin (anti-inflammation)

– decongestant

– anti-diarrheal

Only physicians may prescribe medications, however the use of over-the-counter aspirin has been documented as an early intervention measure for individuals suffering myocardial infarction.  One 325mg tablet is often directed outside of healthcare settings to be ingested en route.  Allergic reactions can be allieved slightly by 50mg Benadryl, however epinephrine is most effective for anaphylaxis.  Epi-pens are only available in the US by prescription.

– Sterile straight blades or razor

– Paper & pencil

– Safety pins

– Thermometer

– Tweezers

– Stethescope mostly to assess lung sounds and for blood pressure measuring

– Blood Pressure Cuff (blood pressure measurement/monitoring)

– Glucometer (diabetic blood sugar monitoring)

– Sugar or glucose

– Epi-Pen (anaphylaxis)

– Nitroglycerin (myocardial infarction)

For those individuals and families that have unique needs, it is imperative to keep relevant supplies and prescription medications on hand.

– Tourniquets

– Backboard

– C-Collar

– Oral Airways

– IV Supplies and Fluids

In more extreme cases, medically trained and prepared persons should consider augmenting standard first aid kits with supplies based on their level of training.  Remember that no amount of supplies can replace proper training and skill.  In LA County the King LT-D airways have replaced Combitubes in ambulances, allowing the establishment of airways when intubation is not possible.  IV supplies should contain a variety of gauge sizes, not only for intravenous access but also in draining air or fluids.

First aid kits should stay current and checked regularly.  In line with our own training, it would make sense to also train the selection and use of various items just like any supply or tool selection.  We will be starting to implement small scenarios into our training here at IEFMA, that will address assessing someone’s condition, securing a perimeter and extracting (for higher levels of care).  Kits should also be stored at home, in cars and on person.  Furthermore your family should be familiar not only with where to find your first aid kits, but when and how to use them.

Sayoc Kali is a comprehensive system that incorporates medical management into our training.  ALL Sayoc students and instructors are expected to act as first responders until primary medics, medical teams or higher levels of care intervene.  In addition to roles outlined in our Medical Protocols, Sayoc students carry Immediate Response Kits (IRKs) on our training rigs.  These individual packs are designed to provide essential supplies to cover non-critical injuries in routine training.  Mirroring the training rig itself, Sayoc IRKs were developed to familiarize students with the tools needed in a given situation, and facilitate the access and proper selection (deployment) of materials should an event occur.  It is important to note that Sayoc IRKs hold enough for each practitioner only, so that if an injury does occur medics know to use that individual’s IRK.

Sayoc Immediate Response Kits can be purchased online at

For all IEFMA students: what areas or aspects of first aid do you feel needs the most education?  Sayoc Atienza students, for next class go through your IRK or first aid kits (pre-bought or homemade) and familiarize yourself with their contents.  If you do not know what something is, or how to use it please bring it to class and we will discuss.

Additional References:

The Red Cross:

The Mayo Clinic

For a more detailed example of combat medic loadouts:

Click to access ModernWarriorsCombatLoadReport.pdf

Where There Is No Doctor

Click to access doctor_whole_book.pdf


~ by Joseph Marana on 07.24.2011.

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