Medical knowledge and medical supplies are used far more frequently than defensive tools in the United States. When I was much younger I had several things occur that helped me understand the benefits of understanding trauma care and remaining current with my training.
After watching an individual bleed out in front of me and being able to do nothing, and intervening and saving the life of two people trapped in a bad car wreck, I made the decision to learn as much medical knowledge as I could. This led me to search for solid instruction from real medical professionals.
At first, I was limited to learning from my friends in local Emergency Rooms, between them and EMT friends I was able to learn quite a bit. Of course, with time that knowledge became outdated and as a result I have over the years taken training regularly.
It is important to note that I am not a medical professional, I simply have enough experience and training to stop some major bleeds, assess the bleed, perform CPR, assess- insert and use any one of the top three utilized tourniquets, use a Halo Chest Seal, nasopharyngeal airway, and even suture or staple depending on need.
Obviously, it is my intent to never have to use any of this again. However, I also understand that medical knowledge is much more necessary in daily life than most people understand. Additionally, I have taught and continue to work with others from very young through the elderly in this and other areas.
In 2015 27.6 million people were treated in an emergency department for injuries. 2.8 million were hospitalized due to injuries and 214,000 people died from injuries in the United States. (Injury prevention and control, 2017) These numbers are fact, they are compiled from raw data and regardless your feelings on the CDC they keep very detailed records.
Now, firearms are used between 200,000 and 3 million times every year in self-defense, with most legitimate studies showing that a firearm is used closer to 3 million times. (Leshner, 2013) (For the naysayers understand that this is based on several agencies who did not want to release this data because it showed that the benefits outweighed the negatives.) The book referenced costs $38 and is worth reading if you have the chance.
Here is an excerpt, “studies…have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.” Another quote is as follows, “The estimate of 3 million defensive uses per year is based on an extrapolation from a small number of responses taken from more than 19 national surveys.
The former estimate of 108,000 is difficult to interpret because respondents were not asked specifically about defensive gun use.” It should be noted that the book/study does its best to discount any use of firearms in defense, however, at no point does data support their assertions. Rather, the data clearly support the use of firearms in defense.
There is a simple reason for including the data that is available, it is not meant to build sides in an endlessly pointless political battle. The reason is that without data and facts one cannot know for certain what works and what does not.
In this case training in medical knowledge, specifically EMT or Trauma Care basics at a minimum is necessary to be well rounded as a solid individual practicing their natural rights. To this end, there are several solid schools in the United States.
When it comes to self-defense and the surrounding needs that accompany this, it is essential to have as much solid education and hands-on experience as possible. I would suggest the following for their training and reputable approach. All of the listed have embedded links directing you to them.
- Gunsite Academy (founded by Jeff Cooper)
- The Firearms Academy of Seattle (Marty Hays)
- Active Response Training
- Your local community college likely offers EMT/Trauma medicine classes which can be applied!
There are other schools around the United States today, however, not all of them offer classes at the same level that you will get in the above-mentioned locations. Certainly, there is a surplus of experienced Army (and marine/navy and even air force) Medics as a result of the 17-year war we have been involved in.
What I suggest when it comes to medical and firearms training is getting training from individuals who can prove their abilities and have a legitimate background in the area. There are several large schools that offer basic/intermediate instruction for firearms using the timeshare approach to teaching.
This means that while you get some benefit, the reality is you are cycled in and out as quickly as feasible and then sent endless emails and phone calls to beg you to upgrade your membership or sell it to your friends. A solid school and approach does not need to be sold.
So far we have established that having modern, basic medical training is an essential life-saving component of being prepared and carrying a concealed firearm for self-defense. What is important now is understanding that trauma based medical care has advanced greatly in the last 20 years alone and what worked even a decade ago or what you learned in medical school or a first aid class 5 years ago may no longer apply.
For instance, just in the past few years using tourniquets and what and how they are made has changed drastically. Make sure you get up to date training from individuals who understand and use these approaches.
Once you receive solid training you will need to put together a simple easily carried trauma kit for your personal use. This kit should be small, and, should include the following items these are the most important.
- Tourniquet, there are several types the SOFTT-W, SWAT-T and the CAT style tourniquets. While I personally use and practice with a CAT tourniquet the others have their place based on need and intent. Stopping the bleed is a term you will hear a lot in modern classes. This tool is used for extremities.
- Israeli Bandage or similar product, again the intent is to stop the bleed. This is used for non-extremities, bleeds that are on the trunk of your body or head is where this one will be used most.
- Bandages, both gauze 4×4 and 2×2 and standard Band-Aid bandages for smaller issues. Infection is a serious possibility and to avoid this you want to wash the wound with clean water and bandage it.
- Sheers, medical grade sheers are absolutely necessary.
- Sterile individually wrapped nitrile gloves. Make sure you get the non-allergenic ones.
- Small bottle of sterile water for wound washing.
- Hypo-Allergenic medical adhesive tape
- CPR mask, you can get small disposable versions that work very well for an EDC kit. It is essential to have CPR supplies and KNOW how to apply CPR properly. Again, what was taught even 10 years ago is NOT what is being taught now.
The above are the very basics that are necessary for a trauma kit. All of this can be easily stored in a small package that can be worn on the belt, tucked in a pocket or purse easily. Some individuals I know often carry just the tourniquet and Israeli bandage based on space available.
This works when needed. For myself personally, I have a full trauma kit with everything from antibiotics through surgical needs. In addition to the large kit I have vehicle kits and then personal kits for each member of our family.
When it comes to my family their safety is something I take very seriously. I know that we are the only ones who can prevent problems or solve them as they occur, and that responders are quite often too late which is why deaths from injuries are quite high.
For myself and my family, prevention is worth far more than a “cure”. I teach them what I know and we all test our knowledge regularly so as to prevent stagnation. Active involvement with our environment is the easiest way to prevent issues from happening.
As with the other articles, please let me know if you see something that is missed and if so comment below. I learn daily and cannot learn if I do not know where I am making mistakes. Additionally, it should be noted again I am not a medical professional, I am simply a dad who trains and trained and practices to prevent issues in my and my families lives!
Thank you for reading and make sure to check out the links in the article for some great products, by purchasing through the links you support this site and allow the owner and individuals writing like myself to continue to put out solid material for your educational benefit.
Free the mind and the body will follow
Injury prevention and control (2017). Key Data and Statistics|WISQARS|Injury Center|CDC. [online] Cdc.gov. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/overview/key_data.html [Accessed 9 Aug. 2018].
Leshner, A. (2013). Priorities for research to reduce the threat of firearm-related violence. 1st ed. Washington DC: The National Academies Press.
Jesse, again a great job! I have my own range setup for pistols & rifles, but the rifle portion is only 150 to 175 yards, max. Something that dawned on me recently is I have never taken my IFAK or Trauma Kit out there. Really stupid on my part as my family often uses the range. I’ve been more concerned with prevention than Mr Murphy, not any more! I have a ton of medical supplies, so there is no excuse for my lack of attention to this vital area of concern. Thanks for this article.
John. Always good to be reminded…it wasnt long ago I was being reminded to carry my medical kit!