What is an IFAK?
The modern IFAK or “Individual First Aid Kit” finds its roots in the small kits that were issued to military servicemen to prevent illness and minor injuries while deployed.
These days, the best IFAK medical kits come in a variety of setups and form-factors, but what they tend to have in common is that they contain trauma gear to address immediate life-threatening situations including: bleeding out (exsanguination), breathing and airway problems, hypothermia and more.
The IFAK is more than just a pack of bandages. Though there is not a specific list of items that are included in an IFAK, there are a few staples that a solid kit will contain.
WHAT'S IN AN IFAK KIT
Tourniquet: Tourniquets come in a variety of shapes and sizes. What’s important is finding one that fits your needs and knowing how to properly apply it. Whether you favor the RATS, CATS, Soft T or another, make sure you have this critical item in your IFAK.
Chest Seals: Chest Seals are designed with vents that allow air to escape the chest cavity during exhalation but prevents airflow from entering through the injury site during inhalation and thus prevent collapse of the lungs.
NPA: This product is recommended for use as a nasal airway adjunct in semi-conscious or unconscious patients with an intact gag reflex.
- Hemostatics: a hemostatic bleeding control dressing combines surgical gauze with Kaolin, an inorganic material that accelerates the body’s natural clotting process and stops venous and arterial bleeding within minutes of application.
Bleeding is the most common preventable cause of death on the battlefield and at home. The National “Stop The Bleed” initiative in the United States aims to prevent unnecessary deaths by building awareness and encouraging civilians to get the training, equipment and knowledge to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives .
WHY YOU NEED AN IFAK
Whether you are on the job, at home or on the road, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. When a life-threatening emergency occurs, the first person on the scene is likely to be a civilian. Someone can bleed out in a matter of just a few minutes which makes it imperative for you to carry the trauma supplies and to know the basics so you can keep the victim stable until EMS arrives. Most EMT’s and paramedics will carry a basic IFAK on their person or in their vehicle at all times.
If you are an adventurer, it’s important to have the right gear and training, especially when you are in remote locations, whether that be hiking, off-roading or on an industrial site. If you are a hunter or participate in shooting sports, find an IFAK that is tailored to your risk-profile and get the proper training to know how to use your equipment properly.
It’s important to find the best IFAK kit that fits into your lifestyle so that you will keep it close by and available when it is needed. My Medic carries a wide variety of first aid and trauma kits so you can find a kit that will fit your needs.