Everybody wants to be a gunfighter. Guns are cool, guns are fun, guns look good on instagram, but let’s be honest….. for the average joe, guns are useless. As Joe Blow civilian, (and in many cases even as Pvt Joe Snuffy, military extraordinaire), the odds of you getting in a gunfight are extraordinarily low.
Don’t get me wrong, I carry every day, and I believe carrying a gun is something everyone with training and competence should do. If you need one, it’s absolutely the only tool for the job, but statistically speaking, the odds are fortunately in your favor.
You know what happens all the time though, and often multiple times in the life of a single individual?
Car wrecks. Accidents. Non-gunshot induced trauma. Gunshot induced trauma due to negligence/general bad luck. Breakdowns on the interstate….. see where I’m going with this? Americans virtually live in their vehicles. I’ll often drive 30-100 miles in a single day simply running errands between my hometown and my current residence, or take 1600 mile road trips to various states for training or family events. Every time I drive, I pass some sort of simple collision. The odds for an individual never being involved in an automobile based collision or even simple breakdown are not so good, and if you’re reading this, you could probably bore anyone with anecdotes about incidents that you’ve witnessed or perhaps even helped resolve.
As such, a vehicle based kit for just such emergencies is a prudent thing to maintain, and can often be put together fairly inexpensively. In the following text I’m going to describe the kit that I keep, with brief explanations for each. Feel free to contact me for questions about individual items.
This stuff lives in my truck at all times, right behind my drivers seat for easy access. All items were scrounged from around my house, (total cost maybe $50 for new purchases), and many items can be found cheaply from places like Harbor Freight.
First up we will start with the lifesaving stuff, the med gear. Med gear can be used for a wide variety of trauma, including accidental gunshot wounds or ricochets while attending training or at the range, intentional gunshot wounds should the worst case scenario occur, or for treating victims of automobile accidents while actual medics are on the way. All medical items are kept in a bright orange Plano “marine” box, which I picked up for about $7. Keeping your items in a bright and obvious location can help not only you find your own equipment, but can help other people locate it if you’re busy helping out a victim. Additionally, a well sealed case keeps your gear in good condition.
As far as packing, the only hard and fast rules I maintain are to keep the TQs close to the top where they’re able to be quickly grabbed, and I try to keep all “like” items together, (bandages, etc…).
1- Two tourniquets, on CAT and one SOF-T
2-NPA tube. Not an item that I’ll likely be using, but having it is an option should I need it, and it takes up little room.
3-Trauma shears for cutting away clothing to help assess and treat wounds
4-Hyfin chest seal. If two are needed, you can use the packaging as well as the tape.
5-Gloves. You don’t know who you’re going to be treating or what they may or may not have. Gloves keep you safe, and keep the victim safe as well by limiting contaminants both ways.
6-CPR mask. See number 5 for the reasons. Sure, you can administer CPR without a mask, but I don’t know what you have and I’m not locking lips if I don’t have to.
7/8/9/10-Various sizes and types of bandages and gauze. These are probably your most important items for stopping blood loss, in addition to the TQs.
11-Sharpie marker. The Sharpie allows you to time stamp TQs that you apply, and write pertinent information on your own skin, in lieu of having to grab a notebook and burn time.
12-Medical tape. Medical tape is a good all purpose adhesive for various wound treatments and bandages, as well as chest seals should you have to use them. Additionally, medical tape can be places on your own clothing or the victims clothing for note taking with your Sharpie, should you need to write down contact information or anything else.
General Purpose Emergency Kit:
These items work to keep you out of trouble in case of a break down, whether on the highway or away from civilization. These items can be supplemented with additional survival type gear if you live or work in a more off the grid location.
1-Bug spray. If you’re stuck on a back road and waiting for help, this is a self explanatory item.
2-Jumper cables. Probably the most important part of your kit.
3-VS17 full panel. This can aid in signalling if you’re stuck somewhere and waiting for help. In a pinch, it also can be used for shelter, rain protection, or (limited) warmth.
4-Mechanix gloves. A good set of gloves can be used for just about any situation, including maintaining warmth, working on your vehicle, or doing camp style chores should you be truly stuck in the back woods.
5-Tape. A full roll of tape can be used to help construct shelter, tape up things that are leaking, (that shouldn’t be), or any variety of other issues. Tape can also be used to supplement your main medical kit.
6-Ear protection. I keep these as a backup for my range gear. Additionally, ear protection can come in handy if you’re stuck at a noisy truck stop somewhere trying to sleep through the night while waiting for help.
7-Wind up powered flashlight/phone charger. This is an easy bypass to get around having to maintain batteries in the non-climate controlled vehicle. You’ll always have at least one light, and if your phone dies while you’re stuck somewhere, you can top it off to call for help.
8-Small hack saw. Good tool for many purposes. Works for small pieces of firewood as well as other fixes that might be required, (cutting tubing to length, etc…)
9-Orange safety vest. Keeps you visible and more “safe” should you be working on your vehicle on the side of the road, and also aids in recovery if you’re waiting on rescue somewhere.
10-Moar tape. Seriously, tape is good stuff.
In addition to the pictured items, I keep a few other things strewn about in my vehicle at all times. Namely, a cheap but sharp knife, multitool, matches and a lighter, as well as my vehicle jack and spare tire. I also keep an extra quart of motor oil for my vehicle. Theoretically you could also use motor oil on a fire to aid in signalling should you be stuck inna woods. Keep in mind, all of these items live in the vehicle permanently, and should be augmented/supplemented by your EDC and temperature/location specific equipment.
Hopefully this helps give you a starting point for your own kit, should you not already have one. Remember, training is essential. Without training, all of this equipment is worthless.