I am just wondering if anyone has heard of or have participated in any of 5.11’s Always Be Ready training classes? The classes are a collaboration between USCCA and 5.11, the classes are held at local 5.11 stores and the classes are FREE.
I will be attending my first class coming up on the 17th which will cover first aid kits. I do already have several first aid kits laying around in different locations at home, work, in the truck and in my get home bag, but I always like to see what other folks have in theirs that I may wish to add to mine.
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There are no 5.11 stores in my area but sounds like a nice resource to get some additional insights.
I’d be interested to hear if they give you any bits of info outside the usual basic trauma kit stuff.
I will pass on any useful tidbits I can gleam from the class and post them here, Brother.
5.11 moved into College Station about a year ago and I have already spent my allowance for the next couple years.
I have IFAKs in my kitchen pantry, plate carrier, range bag, and both vehicle center consoles. I also carry one in my carry on bag (turned vehicle bag) when flying.
Basic IFAK ingredient list I use is:
- Israeli bandage aka Emergency Trauma Dressing, 4" or 6" depending on space, fold flat if needed
- TCCC approved Tourniquet, mostly NAR CAT (north american rescue, combat application tourniquet)
- Gauze, compressed 4"x6’ or whatever they come in, optionally a coagulant/hemostatic gauze like Quickclot or whatever
- Nitrile gloves
- EMT Sheers if they fit
- Generally also a pair of chest seals
- And also generally some little boo boo bandaids added in just so I don’t end up being like, yup, got a trauma kit…oh cut finger on something…anybody have a bandaid?
For EMT shears I swear by Leatherman Raptor. They’re expensive but are worth every penny. My wife is an RN and uses hers everyday
A few months back I went through the USCCA certification level 2 online coursework. I thought the first aid section was one of the better on line classes I’ve done. I’d recommend it for any members who haven’t done it yet.
Get the book too! And go to stopthebleed.org to get certified. Get certified in CPR as well and I’d say you’re set. Red Cross Training | Take a Class | Red Cross
I don’t know that I would ever count myself as set. A few decades ago I was certified as an EMT which I believe required 120 hours of in person hands on training and an additional 20 hours of observation at the local trauma hospital’s emergency room. We weren’t supposed to put hands on patients but there were a couple situations where the doctors had unruly patients and needed a hand. Because our instructor had a lot of connections we also had several bonus classes taught by trauma surgeons and psychologists as well as a couple days of doing vehicle extraction training with LEOs and the fire department.
Even after all that training and passing the test I would not say that I was ready to hop into a significant trauma situation on my own. Especially without access to all the equipment on a typical ambulance that we were trained to use.
For someone wanting fairly solid first aid skills I would recommend taking in person classes starting with a multi day hands on severe trauma/stop the bleed course. I would also highly recommend a 1 to 2 week wilderness first responder course. It gives a lot of hands on training and focuses on improvisation and stabilization training to keep patients alive for longer rescue periods with minimal equipment. My EMT training primarily focused on getting seriously injured patients to the hospital in 5 to 10 minutes. But in mass casualty and many other scenarios that isn’t very likely to happen.
Hands on practice really helps build the skills into memory. But even then you need refreshers every couple years to keep the skills intact and keep up on new treatment recommendations. I’m in need of some refreshers myself since it has been several years since I’ve had anything more than a first aid/CPR refresher class.
Always be ready!
Have a plan.
Practice your plan.
Get training to achieve your plan properly.
Know your limits and capabilities.
Remember the basics; Stop the bleeding. Keep them breathing.
Nothing around me is offered like that.
The wilderness first responder and severe trauma training organizations often travel to different locations throughout the year. But I do know a lot of people that end up traveling to those classes. They also aren’t cheap.
Wilderness first aid is a two day hands on class offered in more locations and I see hands on stop the bleed classes all over the place. They aren’t nearly as in depth as the other options but if the instructors are good they would be better than just doing the online option.
In my experience online options are better as regressive classes after you already have hands on experience or as mental prep classes before doing hands on training. But if the online option is all you have then I would recommend finding a volunteer victim to practice the different techniques on. It really helps commit the lessons into muscle memory. It’s the same as watching a firearm training video but not going to the range to practice what you learned. It’s a lot harder to do things well under pressure when you haven’t physically gone through the motions before or haven’t done them in a long time.
My brother, who was a fireman EMT who went to more shootings than anyone I know, recommended packing DUCT tape and superglue in my basic first aid kit.
Duct tape is definitely very useful.
I stopped generally ‘carrying’ or staging it simply because vehicles down here in The South get too hot, and leaving tape in them (most things end up there at some point) creates a gooey mess.
Maybe I should go back to trying to keep tape in some locations and just set a reminder to rotate it…
Those are good field expedient options. But if this is a pre-positioned med kit it’s better to go with the medically approved options, less chance of contamination or adhesive reactions.
I attended the class at my local 5.11 store this evening.
Great experience - the class was run by qualified instructor and covered all types of EMT kits. Explained what you should keep in you EDC kit and what to add to mid and big kits carried at home and car.
Even most of the information provided was already known to me, I really enjoyed the time spent at the class listening explanation how properly recognize wounds and correctly use the items carried in the EMT kit.
EDC - basic stuff to safe your life
- chest seal
Nothing more, nothing less
You need shears to get access to the wound, and depending of wound location you apply one of these:
- tourniquet if the wound in located on limb
- chest seal if the wound in located on chest area
- gauze if the wound in located on other parts of the body
For MID or BIG EMT kit, you add stuff that may be helpful to achieve the goal:
- additional tourniquets and chest seals (you may need more stuff if you are involved into car accident)
- squeezable bottle of hydrogen dioxide or just regular water (to clean the wound)
- medication that might be needed for you and Family (benadryl, EPIPEN, eye drops, Tylenol)
- hemostatic gauze
Mostly we should figure it out by yourself what is needed for MID and BIG kits. All depend on our needs, events and Family size.
Most important - check the quality of items used. I saw “Chinese” tourniquet which broke into pieces while applied into the arm… so instead of saving the life… just (theoretically) ended it.
I missed my local class last night. I came down sick and was not able to attend. Thanks Jerzy for sharing.