So where is yours? ” Right here and always ready” is the only right answer here. I’ve seen a trend in the last few years of people actually using an Individual First Aid Kit more as a fashion accessory rather than a means of saving theirs or someone else’s life.

Time and time again I see people in class arriving with huge pouches or backpacks, bearing fancy patches indicating the supposed medical application of the contents, only to discover they are used as lunch boxes at most. A person spends $2000 on a gun, $2000 on fancy gear, uniforms and whatnot, but bleeds out to death when hit by a ricochet because he couldn’t find $5 for an Emergency bandage or $12 for a tourniquet. Oh the irony…

Well I don’t handle guns that much, do I still need to carry this with me?

This does not only apply to those who use firearms. A handy, compact and well thought through IFAK should be at your disposal always. How much do you actually value your life? Worldwide more people die each year in car and household accidents than firearms related violence. Airsoft players tell me they don’t see a reason for that excessive weight because there is no chance of sustaining a “military type wound” in what they are doing. Six years ago a friend of mine fell 4 stories down an unsecured lift-shaft while playing Airsoft. He sustained compound fractures of both legs, open arm fracture, 3 broken ribs, and a punctured lung causing a life threatening tension pneumothorax. Luckily for him, he had his IFAK on him.

I always have my IFAK with me. I’ve been carrying the same one for 10 years! Old Faithful. 

Medical science is one of the fastest developing discourses in the world. This “Old Faithful” group carrying old gauze and bandages certainly deserves some credit since any gauze is better than no gauze; but it’s important we keep up with the science of emergency medicine when peoples lives will be on the line. So if out of sentiment to old faithful, or any other reason for that matter, you’re still carrying items that would better fit in a museum than in an emergency situation it’s time to refresh.

I’m not trained to use this, so why should I have it?

Well answer number one, GET TRAINED! Attending TCCC (Tactical Combat Casualty Care) or basic First Aid courses should be one of your highest priorities. These will help you gain the skills necessary to help yourself and others if need be. Learning casualty care is no easy endeavor and it does take a few years of hard work to become a medic. However, as a first responder your job will be to sustain life until proper medical care can be administered, and with even basic training you will have a good chance of success. As with anything, the more you learn and practice the better.