pig-monkey.com

You are currently viewing all posts tagged with medical.

PPE Kits

I began carrying an N95 respirator in my bag every day around 2007. The masks can be easily added to any first aid kit without much of a weight or size penalty, and offer respiratory protection far superior to that of a bandanna or a surgical mask. While useful during an influenza pandemic, my motivation for carrying the mask was centered more around urban disaster. Any time there are buildings coming down, I assume there will be asbestos, concrete dust, and similar contaminants in the air that I don’t in my lungs.

Most discussion of the extended use and reuse of respirators centers around contagions and the influenza use-case. While it seems safe enough to assume that the masks have an unlimited functional shelf life if stored properly, I’ve not found any information related to visual inspection of the masks for proper use. My own respirators get cycled every two or three years, but there is still a lot of room for abrasion in the pack, which I assume diminishes the protection the masks offer.

I had not thought much about this until last year. The respirator was something I carried but didn’t use. After a decade of carry, my first time actually needing to take the respirator out of my pack was this past October during the Napa and Sonoma fires.

After using the masks I had on hand during the fires (and unsuccessfully attempting to barter my surplus for chocolate), I began to better store the replacement batch for next time.

PPE Kit

By keeping the respirator in a 5” x 4” aLOKSAK I’m ensured that no damage is done to during storage. The airtight seal offered by the bag means that the inside of the mask stays clean, at least until the first time I take it out in a contaminated setting. By added a pair of nitrile gloves to the bag, I create a compact, wallet-sized PPE kit. The same thing can be purchased, but all the prebuilt kits I’ve seen are too bulky for me to want to carry. My PPE kits can easily be slid in with the medical supplies in various my first aid and disaster kits. Pair that with EDC eye protection and you have a decently comprehensive solution.

The only appreciable thickness comes from the vent on the respirator, but I’ve found that vented respirators are key. A properly fitted respirator without a vent hampers my ability to perform physically, which isn’t a great trade-off in any situation where I find myself needing to wear a respirator.

PPE Kit with Every Day Carry

This post was published on . It was tagged with gear, medical.

A Place for the SWAT-T

My dislike of the SWAT Tourniquet stems from its difficulty to self-apply one-handed. That eliminated it from the running when evaluating pocket tourniquets, but the PHLster Flatpack has made that category of tool less relevant. Now that I can easily and comfortably carry a primary tourniquet (specifically, a SOFTT-W) on-body, I’ve rethought what I should be carrying in my pack.

In the past I’ve carried a SOFTT-W as part of a small blow-out kit. The kit is in a Triple Seven Gear Micro Kit pouch, which fits easily into whatever pack I’m using. If I’m already carrying a SOFTT-W on my belt, is carrying a second one the best use of the available weight and space? The SWAT tourniquet does have a few things going for it. It works well as a tourniquet, as long as you have two hands to apply it. The width of the SWAT-T allows it to occlude blood flow at a relatively low pressure, and its elasticity can help it to compensate for muscle relaxation. It can function as part of a pressure dressing, or be used to improve an improvised splint, swathe, or sling. And it burns well.

SWAT-T

I decided to replace the SOFTT-W in my blow-out kit with a SWAT-T. With a SOFTT-W in the PHLster Flatpack on my belt, I’m confident in my ability to quickly administer self-aid. Having the SWAT-T in my bag gives me additional options, whether I need to use it as a second tourniquet or as something else.

This post was published on . It was tagged with gear, medical, edc.

Pocket Tourniquets

The tourniquet market is dominated by the SOFTT-W and CAT tourniquets, and for good reason. I prefer the SOFTT-W. There is always one in my bag. Some people can make the SOFTT-W or CAT work for everyday on-body carry, whether through ankle holsters or always wearing cargo pants. Neither tourniquet, however, is something that I can fit into my on-body EDC. To solve that problem, I have to look at what Jonathan Willis refers to as secondary tourniquets.

Pocket Tourniquets

The SWAT-T is likely the most popular offering in the secondary tourniquet market. It tries to function as both a tourniquet and an emergency bandage, and ends up being mediocre in both roles. In its role as a tourniquet its largest failure is its difficultly to apply one-handed. If I can’t self-apply a tourniquet with one hand during training, the tourniquet is pretty much useless to me. I’ve heard some people claim the ability to apply the SWAT-T with a single hand (with the assistance of a wall to hold it in place), but I’ve never figured it out.

At first glance, the TK4 appears like it could be a promising solution. It is an elastic strap, roughly 36” long by 2” wide, with 2” metal hooks on either end. It folds to a compact size and easily fits in a pocket. Unfortunately the hooks are only 1” wide, which doesn’t work so well with the 2” wide strap. In my trials the strap would often pop out of the hook when attempting to start the wraps. I find it much more effective if used as an improvised tourniquet, with two overhand knots and a pen as a windlass, which is a terrible thing to say about any product that bills itself as a tourniquet.

The TK4-L is identical to the TK4, except one of the hooks is replaced by something akin to a gateless carabiner. This carabiner is shaped such that the elastic strap will actually fit inside of it and not pop out. The result is a product that is compact, not too difficult to apply, and effective.

TK4 and TK4-L

  • CAT and TK4-L
  • TK4-L and SOFTT-W

The RATS is made from a heavy duty, bungee-type strap and a unique buckle which locks the strap in place. The strap is around 45” in length but only 0.5” wide. With any tourniquet, you want a wide strap to avoid causing tissue and nerve damage. The idea with the RATS is that you get the desired width by performing parallel wraps, distributing the pressure over an area closer to 2” in width. This requires some care to be taken when applying the tourniquet, and it makes it less useful on larger limbs. On my leg I only get 3 wraps with the RATS.

RATS Tourniquet

Of these 4 secondary tourniquets that I’ve experimented with, the RATS is the most durable and, with the exception of the issue of parallel wrapping, the easiest to self-apply. However, the TK4-L folds up better for pocket carry, and its 2” wide strap inspires more confidence. I feel better carrying it and have been doing so for the past month and a half. It sits in my left rear pocket, with the carabiner hooked over the top of the pocket so that it can be easily grabbed without any fishing around.

Choosing a secondary tourniquet is an exercise in trade-offs. Without a windlass, pressure is achieved through tight wraps only. They certainly cannot replace a primary tourniquet, but may supplement it in areas where size or weight present limiting constraints. Given the choice between carrying no tourniquet on my body or carrying one that works but is less than ideal, I’ll choose the latter. Coupled with an H&H Mini Compression Bandage and a package of z-folded QuickClot Combat Gauze, you can build a compact blow-out kit that is easy to distribute across your body.

This post was published on . It was tagged with medical, gear, edc.

H&H Mini Compresion Bandage

The H&H Mini Compression Bandage is a small, pocketable emergency dressing. It consists of an elastic strap 32” in length, with a plastic hook on one end that will be familiar to anyone who has used an Israeli Bandage, and a strip of hook material on the other end. The end of the bandage with the hook material features a 4” x 5.75” absorbent gauze pad. To apply the bandage, the gauze is placed over the wound, and the elastic is wrapped around the limb. The hook material secures the initial wrap. The final wrap is secured via the plastic hook, just like on an Israeli. Unlike an Israeli or OLAES Bandage, the bandage features no device to aid in applying pressure to the wound, except for the tight wraps of the elastic material.

  • H&H Mini Compression Bandage: Ends
  • H&H Mini Compression Bandage: Absorbent Pad

Functionally the H&H Mini is inferior to its larger cousins, but, as the name implies, it is small. As it comes from the factory, it is vacuumed packed into a package that is 4” x 3” x 0.5”. Compare that to an Israeli Bandage, which is around 4” x 2.75” x 1.5”, or the 4.75” x 3” x 2” of the OLAES (5.5” x 4” x 1.5” for the new flat pack variant). Even the flat packed North America Rescue Emergency Trauma Dressing is 4” x 3” 1.5”. Most pocket trauma kits will forgo an emergency bandage, in favor of something like a SWAT-T (4” x 3” x 0.75”) which attempts to be both an emergency bandage and tourniquet. The H&H Mini is the first bandage I’ve found that is actually pocket sized, largely due to its thin profile.

Emergency Bandages

To achieve this small size it sacrifices a bulky absorbent pad and any form of mechanical pressure — both of which I’m willing to give up for something I can have in my pocket. But it also sacrifices length. At 32” long it is significantly shorter than the Israeli (84”), OLAES (42”), or NAR ETD (55”). This means you’ll get less wraps around a limb with the H&H Mini. Less wraps, particularly on a larger limb, may compromise the functionality of the bandage, since the H&H Mini is dependent on wraps to apply pressure and make up for its thin absorbent dressing. On the thigh of a smaller person like myself, I don’t think it will be an issue, but on a large person it will likely be a problem.

I’ll continue to always carry an OLAES or Israeli Bandage in whatever bag I have with me, but I’m happy to have found an occasional supplement in the H&H Mini. When going to a venue where I cannot carry a bag, or do not want to, I’ve found that I can easily slip the H&H Mini into a back pocket and not be bothered by it. This gives me some limited capabilities, which is better than leaving my full kit behind and having nothing. Supplementing the bandage with z-folded QuickClot Combat Gauze and a small tourniquet (like a SWAT-T or one of its competitors) makes for a very compact kit that can be slid into a pocket or two and, with training, ensure some measure of life-saving capability.

Minimalist Trauma Kit

H&H Mini Compression Bandage

Size (Packaged)
4” x 3” x 0.5”
Size (Flat)
32” x 4”
Weight (Including Packaging)
1.6 oz

Israeli Bandage

Size (Packaged)
4” x 2.75” x 1.5”
Size (Flat)
84” x 4”
Weight (Including Packaging)
2.5 oz

OLAES

Size (Packaged)
4.75” x 3” x 2”
Size (Flat)
42” x 4”
Weight (Including Packaging)
3 oz

This post was published on . It was tagged with medical, gear.