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A lot of commercial trauma kits include a pair of chest seals, yet most people do not fully understand when, why, and how they should be used. As we include more advanced components like these in our Emergency Medical Kits we feel it is our duty to help educate our customers on the proper use of these products to help you and yours Get Home Alive. This article is not intended to replace actual training. *Chest Seals are also sometimes referred to as “Occlusive Dressings”
When to use Chest Seals: Chest seals should be used when an open chest injury occurs, meaning the chest wall is penetrated, leaving the chest cavity open to the atmosphere. Most commonly caused from penetrating trauma like a gunshot wound or knife.
How do you know which is the right choice when dealing with a traumatic injury?
You will know that a tourniquet is needed to stop the blood flow if: -There is an amputation of a major limb. -The blood is bright red and spurting. -There is obvious massive blood loss. -If after applying direct pressure the bleeding does not stop.
Remember that a tourniquet can only be applied to a limb, should be placed 2-3 inches above the wound site directly to the skin if possible, and can be extremely painful to the patient. Also be aware that even a small amount of blood can look like a lot and be deceiving. A second tourniquet above the first is sometimes needed.
Direct pressure is the most commonly used bleeding control technique, it can be even more effective when used in conjunction with sterile/hemostatic gauze dressings and pressure bandages. Pressure bandages are great tools to use when you need your hands for other things besides holding direct pressure.
Direct Pressure should be considered when: -Massive bleeding occurs where a tourniquet can not be applied. -Blood is oozing and not spurting, if not an arterial bleed the blood will be a darker color because it is not oxygenated. -Bleeding is not massive. If when applying direct pressure your gauze dressings are quickly being soaked through consider the use of a tourniquet.
We are often shown in social media that the tourniquet is the end all be all and is the only piece of medical equipment that we should be carrying. While it is a great piece of equipment remember that it is a tool that has its limitations. You should understand the importance of both a tourniquet and direct pressure to be effective in responding to a medical emergency.
So you finally pulled the trigger and purchased a quality medical kit for yourself and hopefully even got some training. At a minimum you should go take a First Aid & CPR Course, which is offered at many locations. You should go through your kit so that you know the layout of the contents, this way you are not fumbling around looking for an item during the emergency. You also need to familiarize yourself with the contents and have an extra set of items (at least an Israeli Bandage and Tourniquet) to practice with. If you have done all of that here are some tips that will make deploying your medical gear faster.
I was recently asked what some tangible steps are that people can take to start building the "Survival Mindset". It is easy to go online and buy awesome gear, but when it comes to a real survival situation your gear is not the most important factor. Your mindset and attitude are, and they will determine whether you live or die. That is why we push Living The Creed, it is more important than the products that we sell.
The core to cultivating the survival mindset is to be mentally strong. Now how do you do that?
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