I am not a trained medic. While I’ve taken first-aid and CPR classes, I do not have the education or the experience to save people in life-or-death situations. But I can help … and as a firearms instructor and a range safety officer, I know that I should at least be prepared with the basics, should anything occur while engaging in training activities.
Besides a few “slide bites” and hurt feelings, I, thankfully, haven’t witnessed too many injuries on the shooting range. And while I have always had first-aid necessities with me, I didn’t have them ON me. And it was an alarming incident that happened to my friend that shocked me into reality: An accident can happen anywhere to anyone. I knew I needed to step up my game.
Here’s what my friend Naomi Moss, a fellow instructor, competitive shooter and The Well Armed Woman chapter leader, said about the freak accident that recently happened to her:
“While attending a class in Phoenix, shooting steel, a piece of copper jacket ricocheted off the steel and went into my hand,” she wrote. “As [the instructor] was getting ready to wrap that wound, my husband took off my watch, and then I got a squirter! IT HIT MY RADIAL ARTERY! So [that meant] tourniquet, ambulance ride and surgery. I have 90% damage to two tendons and 90% to a nerve going to my thumb.”
I’m sure that Naomi and her family were very grateful for the fast, calm actions of those on the range. But it made me wonder: Would I have been prepared? Would I have been able to help? The incident made Naomi think about these things, as well. She stated, “I want to encourage you to WEAR your IFAK and tourniquet when on the range … this is a total FREAK accident, and no matter how I look at it, not anybody’s fault. Nobody could have predicted it.”
An IFAK (individual first-aid kit) is truly a must in this industry. Any number of things could happen while training, and it’s imperative that you have the foundational, lifesaving pieces that could make all the difference in the world while 911 is called and help is sent. Thankfully, I discovered Blue Force Gear’s Micro Trauma Kit NOW! (Micro TKN). This small, made-in-the-USA trauma kit is specifically designed to hold essential, lifesaving medical supplies on a belt, and it truly has just about everything someone might need to save a life … in one small pouch.
Be sure to purchase and keep a tourniquet on you, and then attach the Micro TKN to your belt whenever you are on the shooting range. I like to affix mine to the outer belt on my Blade-Tech competition belt. Then I never even have to take it off! Accessing the first-aid supplies involves pulling the rubberized, quick-pull tabs from either the left or the right side. The outer pouch on the IFAK also features a laser cut cross with several signal indicators — black, red or reflective glow-in- the-dark — so you can choose what works best for your situation.
You can purchase the handy Micro TKN pouch alone, but the filled version contains specially selected, low-bulk items that fit securely in the pouch, including:
- QuickClot combat gauze
- 2 HyFin vent chest seals
- Cleer Medical trauma bandage
- Decompression needle
- Frog Tape
- Nasopharyngeal airway
- Heavy duty medical gloves
Beyond keeping this IFAK on my person, I am also seeking out additional training and instruction with each of the supplies so I feel confident using them in an emergency situation. Does this make me an expert? No. Does this make me a medic? Absolutely not. But it could make me the person that bought enough time for a friend, a fellow shooter, a student or even a family member. That’s an investment that’s worth every penny to me.