When I was in the army, I had the required Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) on my hip just below my kit.  I also carried an extra one in my car.  After all, I was well versed in every piece of medical equipment in that small canvas bag so it made sense that I had it ready for use.  Tourniquet, needle decompression, occlusive dressings–I could apply them with confidence and speed.  I imagined that if I came across a nasty car accident, I had the tools to supplement my current skills.  If the injury was beyond my technical medical abilities, there was nothing I would be able to do anyway. If it didn’t need the kind of immediate medical attention I was prepared to give, then they could probably stand to wait for the ambulance.

That line of thinking made sense to me, at first.

After I got out, I kept my IFAK in my car.  I would go on to witness several car accidents, some serious but most quite minor, amounting in little more than a stunned driver and some cuts and bruises.  How often did I apply a tourniquet in the civilian world?  Never.  When did I pack a puncture wound with combat gauze?  Never.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t carry those things. Having the training and equipment to prepare yourself to control bleeding, be it in a car accident, mass shooting or accident in the home, ought to be a priority in everyone’s mindsWith that said, Jessie Milaski, former Ranger Medic from 3rd Battalion and current civilian paramedic, had some more options for me.