Following the Las Vegas shooting last month, I wrote about the need to keep an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) on hand if possible. Even if one can’t use it to best effect oneself, one can make it available to emergency personnel, whose own supplies may run low in a mass casualty event like that. Aesop added his own expert opinion on the subject. If you haven’t already read both articles, I recommend doing so before continuing with this one.
Regular readers will know that I’ve been friends with Kelly Grayson, a.k.a. Ambulance Driver, for many years. He’s a senior and widely respected paramedic and EMT, and is in demand as a speaker on the emergency medical conference circuit. When I met him again at Blogorado last month, I asked him to post his thoughts on the best IFAK components, for the benefit of all of us. He’s done so at his own blog, along with some very important considerations about when and how to use it. Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite.
YOU, as a bystander, are going to be judged very forgivingly on the actions you take, as long as you stay in your lane. You don’t have a duty to act, and nobody expects you to do trauma surgery in Shooting Bay #5 when Cletus violates more than his customary one of Colonel Cooper’s Four Rules of Gun Safety.
But in this era of YouTube instructional videos and online marketplaces that will allow you to purchase sophisticated medical equipment without so much as a certificate to demonstrate you know how to use them, you can put yourself into precarious legal footing rather easily.
Sure, you can watch a video on suturing and wound closure and practice a few times on a pickled pig’s foot, watch a video on intravenous cannulation and procure the proper supplies, buy a King airway and watch the instructional video, but if you start using that stuff in anything outside a TEOTWAWKI situation, you have stepped far outside the protective boundaries of the Good Samaritan Law, and are now practicing medicine without a license.
And you’re gonna get your ass sued, and rightfully so, because something will go wrong, and you don’t have enough education or training to know what you don’t know.
So I’ll boil it down to what you, a layperson, can do without running afoul of the tort (and maybe even the criminal justice) system: Putting stuff ON a victim, pretty much okay. Putting stuff IN a victim, not kosher.
There are some exceptions to that, like for example, wound packing in severe hemorrhage, but if you stay away from specialized invasive medical devices, your chances of getting sued lie somewhere between slim and none.
With that in mind, here’s what I recommend you carry in your range first aid kit, and this is the same basic equipment I give to all participants in my Shooter Self Care classes [see reviews of a previous class here].
There’s much more at the link. Highly recommended reading, particularly in these troubled and more dangerous times.
Thanks, AD, for stepping up to the plate with your advice. I’ll be following it.
The good old reasonable person standard makes a lot of sense here, as in so many other places.
Put a bandage on a wound or give someone not breathing CPR an you'll be fine.
Personally I could probably go a bit further and do needle chest decompression or a trakeotamy. I know how. That said the only way I would try either is if I was positive the person would die without me trying, like if we were way out in the woods or something.