7 First Aid Tips for Survival Kits

A tourniquet for first aid

An example of a tourniquet being applied to a leg.


First Aid Tip #4: Tourniquet

A tourniquet can help stop bleeding in an arm or a leg when apressure dressing and QuikClot sponge does not stop it. The tourniquet cuts off blood flow that steals oxygen from getting to the limb and prevents toxins from leaving the limb.

A pop-up tourniquet pouch

Another option is to use a pop-up tourniquet pouch, like this one from Blackhawk!. Load it with a tourniquet (not included) for quick access. Click the image for more information.

This is not good for an extended period of time but if it prevents death through blood loss, the complications can be dealt with at a hospital.

The “SOF Tactical Tourniquet” was designed by Ross. The tourniquet is made out of a wide heavy duty nylon strap that relies on a metal clip to hold the strap in place to avoid slippage that can occur with tourniquets that use a Velcro fastener. The tourniquet has a handle machined from a solid piece of aircraft aluminum with a dual locking mechanism once the handle is twisted to the desired tightness.

The right cargo pocket of the Blackhawk tactical pants holds the SOF Tactical Tourniquet, folded in a ready-to-use configuration.

First Aid Tip #5: Trauma Shears

Trauma shears are an important tool for self aid in order to quickly and safely cut away clothing from bleeding areas so you can assess the wound and treat it before losing too much blood.

Trauma shears are designed to cut through clothing of all types like denim and leather. They can also cut through seat belts and the side of boots.

Paul Howe, a combat Special Forces veteran, believes in self-treating wounds to free up fellow team members to secure the target. Once the area is secure the team will come back to help. In Paul’s book, Leadership and Training for the Fight, he reviews how this medical self-treatment is part of a “fight through” mentality where you do not dwell on dying but instead focus on what you are doing to ensure your survival.

Kevlar gloves

These kevlar gloves, made with leather, are cut resistant. They’re another option if you can’t find nitrile gloves or want something more durable. Click the image for more information.

The left cargo pocket of the Blackhawk tactical pants hold a pair of 7.5-inch or smaller stainless steel trauma shears held in place by the elastic which ensures the shears do not restrict your leg movement and can be comfortably carried throughout the day without noticing them.

First Aid Tip #6: Medical Gloves

Gloves are needed to safeguard yourself against HIV or other blood-borne pathogens and to protect your patient from infection. In an extreme emergency the gloves can be cut open and taped down as a chest seal.

Nitrile gloves are made of durable synthetic latex that is three times more puncture resistant than rubber. Nitrile has a low resistance to friction making it easy to slide on the gloves. Two pairs of extra large Nitrile gloves are carried securely in the right cargo pocket in an elastic band inside the pocket.