Individual First Aid Kit

An IFAK is exactly what it sounds like, an individual first aid kit customized to suit the specific needs of the end user. There are a number of practical uses for an IFAK as follows:

Every tactical operator working in the field should have his/her own IFAK with all the necessary contents. These contents are the standard pre-hospital supplies for tactical combat casualty care (TCCC) set forth in the early 1990s as the result of a naval special warfare project. The contents of IFAKs for TCCC were determined according to evidence-based medicine and best practices.

The standards for TCCC were truly innovative and dramatically improved the survivability rate in of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. This enabling the U.S. to bring many of our heroes and loved ones back home.

An IFAK is exactly what it sounds like, an individual first aid kit customized to suit the specific needs of the end user. There are a number of practical uses for an IFAK medical kit as follows:

  1. when someone is injured, another operator or someone else can come to your aid, using your IFAK medical kit to save your life. Providing the appropriate first aid to prepare you for transport to a medical facility where the subject will receive the treatment needed.
  2. In the event that another operator and/or civilian bystander gets injured during an ongoing public safety scenario. Once you determine that the environment is safe, you can start treating the wounded tactical operator, law enforcement agent and/or civilian bystander with your IFAK medical kit and save their lives.
  3. If a military special operations operator is behind enemy lines and receives minor or major injuries, he can use his IFAK medical to treat himself.

Think about the fact that 90% of all combat injury-related deaths occur before the patient ever reaches the hospital. Therefore, the fate of the injured operator or civilian is in the hands of the first responder. Having the right IFAK medical is crucial to saving lives.

In creating your own IFAK, the two main objectives are to:

  1. Identify and treat casualties with preventable causes of death.
  2. Keep the injured alive long enough for them to reach the hospital.

The causes of death (in percentages) for the soldiers killed in Vietnam were:

31% died from traumatic brain injuries.

25% died from torso trauma.

7% died from blast trauma.

Iraq/Afghanistan preventable deaths:

85% died from hemorrhage.

14% were airway related deaths.

5% died of traumatic brain injuries.

Studies published from 2001 – 2012 show that the leading causes of preventable deaths are:

91% hemorrhage

7.9% airway obstruction

1.1% tension pneumothorax

In conclusion, if you don’t have the proper IFAK medical kit when you need it, you cannot save lives. The most important thing you can do is carry an IFAK medical kit with you at all times. It should be customized to meet your needs so that you can be most effective when using your kit according to your skills and knowledge.

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