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#65827 - 05/15/06 11:46 PM Rethink PFAK ???
tfisher Offline

Registered: 01/29/01
Posts: 186
Loc: Illinois, USA
I have noticed some of my Search and Rescue students seem to get a false sense of security once they have prepared their personal first aid kit (PFAK). They seem to believe every medical situation can be addressed in the little kits. Most of the items in the kit are to take care of small everyday problems of cuts, blisters, headaches, and upset stomachs.

So my question is should we rethink our PFAK somewhat to aid in our survival or keeping the medical problem in check so it does not become more of a problem or trigger the domino effect of a true survival situation.

For instance consider the following survival scenario: A common reason or a trigger to a survival situation is an injury to our mobility, or in other words an injury to feet, legs or hips such that it removes your ability to walk. A hiker that is trekking through a very remote area that falls and fractures their foot or leg. This could be a serious survival situation. Now the hiker with no ability for mobility has to make shelter, fire and have water enough to survive. Now I know that all of the ETS readers will pick apart my simple scenario here and create ingenious remedies and solutions. But my question and point is; should we look at statistics of what medically creates survival situations and equip ourselves for those incidents instead of 2 gauze 2 x 2ís 3 aspirins, 2 adhesive bandages? I realize we must be realistic as well we canít carry an emergency room in our packs either. Your Thoughts please!
If you want the job done right call "Tactical Trackers"

#65828 - 05/16/06 03:26 AM Re: Rethink PFAK ???
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Dislocated my kneecap once upon a time on my family land. Not 600m from the house. That's part of what brought me to ETS the first time.

I was lucky enough to have my knife with me, a bandana, and a do-rag. Tore the teeth out of that poor Gerber using it to saw down a sapling to splint it with, and another to make a crude crutch out of. It I'd been anywheres else, given the weather, I'd have been buzzard chow.

Lessons learned are many. They can be summed up as, be ready to improvise and don't quit. Don't try to be a hero and pop it back into place, deal with it as is as much as you can.

That being said, I'm thinking I'm going to add a better FAK to my bigger kits.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#65829 - 05/16/06 05:45 AM Re: Rethink PFAK ???
Raspy Offline

Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 351
Loc: Centre Hall Pa
A PFAK by its very nature is small. Your only option is really only to be able to treat minor injuries. When you start traveling then you need to carry larger or supplimental kits to deal with greater levels of injury. These other kits should be geared to meet the most expected types of injuries. As you said even these have limits. Shy of a fully equiped and staffed ER you can't cover all situations. It just doesn't fit. So you gear up for the most likely events and then try to improvise the rest.
When in danger or in doubt
run in circles scream and shout

And always remember TANSTAAFL

#65830 - 05/16/06 05:49 AM Re: Rethink PFAK ???
duckear Offline

Registered: 03/01/04
Posts: 477
I disagree that an immobilizing injury is a leading cause of "survival" situations. I think becoming lost and inadequate clothing for the weather is #1.

That said, the best, practical equipment for fracture management is two SAM splints and the knowledge of how to rig them. With two, you can splint anything short of a femur fracture.

#65831 - 05/16/06 06:37 AM Re: Rethink PFAK ???
Leigh_Ratcliffe Offline

Registered: 03/31/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: United Kingdom.
I think that the first thing you need to do is stomp on that false sense of security.Then it an absolute that you always travel in pairs taking the proper gear with you. No Gear, No Partner, No Go! (NG,NP,NG)
I don't do dumb & helpless.

#65832 - 05/16/06 07:04 AM Re: Rethink PFAK ???
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA
I think that the first thing you need to do is stomp on that false sense of security.

This seems like a reasonable approach. Try to build traning scenarios that expose the weaknesses in their equipment and force them to improvise.


Edited by JohnN (05/16/06 07:04 AM)

#65833 - 05/16/06 11:15 AM Re: Rethink PFAK ???
JIM Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 1032
Loc: The Netherlands
A PSK, FAK, BOB, whatever kit you make should be designed to take care of small problems and make it easier for you to improvise a solution for a large problem. Nothing more and nothing less. The perfect survival kit would be the world, packed in a tin/bag. But since we can't do that, there's always a level of improvisation and engenuity required.

Edited by JIM (05/16/06 01:24 PM)
''It's time for Plan B...'' ''We have a Plan B?'' ''No, but it's time for one.'' -Stargate SG-1

#65834 - 05/16/06 01:18 PM Re: Rethink PFAK ???
norad45 Offline

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 1506
I agree entirely. That's why the only first aid supplies I carry while hunting are (theoretically anyway) there to deal with major emergencies. Aspirin for heart attack, Benadryl for severe allergic reaction, etc. I'm adding some sort of trauma pad, and I also like the idea of a ready-made splint.

#65835 - 05/16/06 01:21 PM Re: Rethink PFAK ???
BrianTexas Offline
Ordinary Average Guy

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 304
Loc: North Central Texas, USA
You've brought up a good series of questions. I'm am building my kits for the first time and have quickly learned that commercial PSKs and FAKs are good starts but not sufficient in many circumstances. The reality is that risk analysis, situational awareness and training will always be more important than mere gear.

The first lesson that I've learned is that no PSK, BOB or FAK can cover all circumstances. But that's not their purpose. The intent is to solve the small and medium stuff and improvise for larger issues. However, risk abounds in this world; the only no-risk place that I know of is heaven and I'm not ready to check-in to my cloud.
Also known as BrianEagle. I just remembered my old password!

#65836 - 05/16/06 01:23 PM Re: Rethink PFAK ???
BrianTexas Offline
Ordinary Average Guy

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 304
Loc: North Central Texas, USA
It's OK, Ironraven. The buzzard would have pulled out your minimum FAK and eaten the antiacids to help get you down. Afterwards it would have found the bandana and wiped the crumbs from its mouth. <img src="/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Also known as BrianEagle. I just remembered my old password!

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