When I went down to Blacksburg after the Virginia Tech tragedy one of the things I heard quite a bit was that the SWAT Medics did a LOT of good providing medical care to victims and that the Rescue/EMS service was nearly overwhelmed. What I learned was just how important it is for every officer to be able to:
- provide emergency first aid to himself, and
- provide emergency first aid to others.
The supplies needed to provide such aid are often disputed but the need for those supplies to be pre-packaged in easily stored and carried systems isn't. Tac-Pack Emergency First Aid supply kits provide a simple solution.
I, and the trusted experienced officers I know, have long been a proponent of carrying basic trauma supplies for self-aid, buddy-aid and/or victim aid. The reality that we all have to deal with is that, especially in the case of a response to any terrorist act in the United States, we cannot afford to be out of the fight, and we certainly cannot afford to take a fellow fighter out of the action to take care of us. First and foremost we should be able to render ourselves aid to any reasonable level. Further, we should be able to treat our battle buddies as the need arises and circumstances permit. Finally, and this was demonstrated as noted above at VA Tech, we should be able to begin immediate treatment to victims as circumstances permit.
What do we need to render that treatment? There are a few standard items and a few things that are nice to have. In my response vest's utility pouch there are currently two pressure bandages and one tourniquet. That's pretty basic and minimal equipment for treating a gunshot wound. Any emergency first-aid pouch should have at least these two items or other materials from which to fashion them. The Tac-Pack kits we're looking at today do have those items.
First on our list is the Tac-Pack (made by the full company name of Tactical Medical Packs, LLC.). The pack contains:
- Latex-free gloves
- Roll bandage
- Abdominal Pad
- N-95 Respirator Mask
- Triangular bandage
- Occlusion Dressing
- CPR Microshield
Now here's the part I really like. I've pulled out one of the still-packaged pressure bandages from my vest. It measures 4.75" x 4.75" x 2". That's pretty compact. The Tac-Pack, with everything listed above inside it and vacuum sealed, measures 6" x 4.25" x 1". Doing the math, the pressure bandage pouch is just over 45 cubic inches. The Tac-Pack by comparison is 25.5 cubic inches. Well, I know what just replaced that ONE pressure bandage in my utility pouch on my response vest. Just for the record the Tac-Pack weighs 2.5 ounces.
The second pack is the Tac-Pack QC. The Tac-Pack QC contains all of the stuff listed above but also adds in a Quik-Clot 1st Response unit. The Quik-Clot 1st Response unit is a prepackaged sponge loaded with Quik-Clot material that has been engineered to be effective without being quite so hot (the promotional material says 105 degrees). Now my conversations with tactical medics has revealed mixed opinions about the value of Quik-Clot. Some say that, since it has to be removed by a doctor in an emergency room, we shouldn't be eager to use it. Others say that, if all other efforts to stop life-threatening hemorrhage (heaving bleeding) have failed then it's of great value. My outlook is that I'd rather have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
As near as I can measure, the addition of the Quik-Clot 1st Responder unit to the Tac-Pack adds about .25" of width. That's still only 27 cubic inches total volume. That means, where I was carrying two pressure bandages in my utility pouch before, I can carry four Tac-Packs and only be adding 7 cubic inches... not bad: about the same size, plenty more supplies. The Tac-Pack QC's weight does go up with the addition of the Quick-Clot unit. It goes up to a whopping 4 ounces - a quarter pound. I had to weigh it to be sure. I can't tell the difference between the two holding one in either hand.
"What's not to like?" I heard someone think, "The price?"
Pricing on the Tac-Pack is more than reasonable as is the Tac-Pack QC. The standard Tac-Pack is priced at $27.50 retail. The Tac-Pack QC at $37.50. Those are retail prices and I imagine they can be had a little cheaper if bought in bulk. That's probably why they're currently being carried by agents of the United States Secret Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration & Customs Enforcement and others.
If you're not carrying basic trauma first aid supplies on your response vest, or in your hunting vest, or... hell, in your BDU/ACU cargo pocket... check them out. More information is available on their website.