IFAK (IMPROVED FIRST AID KIT)
This article covers the tools required to treat TRAUMA and why you may want to consider putting together an IFAK for your EDC.
Traditional IFAKs were INDIVIDUAL FIRST AID KITS. In the last few years, the Army officially changed the designation to IMPROVED First Aid Kits. Neither were really first aid kits in the traditional sense. Military IFAKs we’re designed with ONE GOAL in mind…to KEEP YOU ALIVE during the “Golden Hour” required to get you to higher level treatment. They accomplish this by doing two things.
1. Stopping major bleeding
2. Maintaining an airway for breathing
Those are the ONLY two things IFAKs are created to do, so before you run out and spend money on an IFAK, make sure you know what each item is for, how to use it and assess whether this is the first medical item you need. For example, if you do not have access to higher treatment options then the IFAK may all be for nothing. It may be better to invest in a high quality multi-purpose Expedition Level First aid kit BEFORE strapping an IFAK to your kit.
That said, I think an IFAK and/or it’s components are a must have for a variety of reasons.
⁃ It is no secret that violent crime perpetrated by gangs, political protestors and cartel members is on the increase. An IFAK can make THE difference when minutes count.
⁃ In the event that the Peanut Butter Hits The Fan, an IFAK may be the only source of trauma care available. Keep in mind, the injuries it’s meant to treat will require more skilled hands as soon as possible to prevent death.
⁃ Accidents on the road and at home may call for the same immediate care that gunshot and explosive wounds require (amputation, puncture wounds, etc).
A military issue IFAK will cost around $130, but keep in mind, it’s not the case, but the contents that matter, so you may be able to source and build your own version from the list below. The critical factor is knowing when and how to use the items in it. This can only be achieved through training, so we recommend a Red Cross or other community based class. These are often free or low cost and they will dramatically increase your confidence and ability to manage an emergency. The number of times I've been handed a first aid kit by someonw that has kept it under their seat, in their closet or on their boat with NO IDEA how to use it is astonishing. GET TRAINED before spending hundred of dollars on equipment.
The IFAK II Complete Kit Includes:
• 1 x Pouch, IFAK II (NSN: 6545-01-C91-9051)
• 1 x Insert, IFAK II (8465-01-F90-0700)
• 1 x Gerber Strap Cutter, Coyote Brown (NSN: 5110-01-578-4889)
• 2 x Pouch Tourniquet (NSN: 8465-01-F90-0701)
• 2 x North American Rescue CAT Tourniquet
• 1 x 4″ Hemorrhage Control Bandage (Israeli Bandage)
• 1 x Nasopharyngeal Airway
• 1 x pair of surgical rubber gloves
• 1 x North American Rescue Compressed Gauze
• 1 x mini roll of duct tape
• 1 x mini sharpie
• 1 x eye shield
The National Stock Number (NSN) is used to ensure quality control across the force, but they may help you source relatable items or substitutes. The most impoetant thing you can possess cannot be put in a pouch and that is training, so I cannot emphasis enough how important this is and where it should be on your priority list of skills.
I’ll cover the next two levels of first aid, SERIOUS and ROUTINE in an upcoming blog post. Until then, start planning and preparing for the worst case, so that any case is manageable.