How To Build A Trauma Kit – Updated With Video

  • Post category:Health & Sanitation
  • Post last modified:May 12, 2024
  • Post comments:2 Comments
  • Reading time:16 mins read
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In this article, I’ll show you how to build a trauma kit. What goes inside? Should you build one or buy one? Should you carry the kit?

Updated With Video: May 5, 2024 | Original Publication: March 19, 2023

What Is A Trauma Kit?

I recently published a guide on building a first-aid kit. A trauma kit is an advanced version to stop bleeding and treat major trauma. Trauma kits are tourniquets, compression bandages, etc. They are not for cuts and scrapes.

AKA, blow-out kit.

Should You Carry A Trauma Kit?

It may seem like a no-brainer, but logical and legal arguments exist against carrying a trauma kit, especially on your person.

It boils down to liability.

Will the fact that you carried a trauma kit affect the case a prosecutor might build against you? Will rendering medical aid to a downed victim of an active shooter or auto accident work against you if you worsen the situation?

What if you’re the one that stopped the threat? What if you had the ability and the gear, you’re trauma kit, and you did nothing to help preserve the now inactive shooter? What are your obligations and expectations as far as the law?

You can see how, as far as legal advice goes, carrying a trauma kit might be a bad idea in the eyes of some attorneys and prosecutors.

It’s a tough call.

We deal with the same dilemma with concealed carry. Does assisting with the potential risk of deadly force make us liable for trying to be good citizens? Quite possibly.

My thoughts? First, the same logic is used against firearms training. Should you avoid going to the range because it might make you look bad in court one day?

Look, if I left my trauma kit at home because I was worried about a lawsuit or going to prison in some unlikely active shooter incident, and my wife died in a car accident because I couldn’t stop the bleed? Yeah, I think having the ability to save a life trumps potential legal ramifications. For me, it does. You do you and make your own decisions.

With that said…

There’s always a but. Right? I’m not walking around dressed in camo with a ridiculous slogan stenciled on my holster like, “Let God sort them out,” “Free Body Piercings,” “Just the tip, I promise,” or “Bad Choices Make Good Stories.” Those sayings might sound cool, albeit a little immature, but they seem like a bad idea for a defendant in court. At least, it seems like a bad idea to me. I’m no attorney.

Stuff like that is ammunition to any prosecutor looking to give you a bad day. Just like the tacticool accessories we all love – they can come with a heavy price when trying to prove your innocence.

Your Trauma Kit Container

A trauma kit is the happiest inside a container, just like a first aid kit. This could be a bag, box, pouch, or whatever works best for you and your situation.

The key is quick access.

When someone’s bleeding out, the last thing you want is to have the life-saving gear you prepared buried deep inside a backpack or under the spare tire of a crowded car trunk.

First-Aid Packs And Bags

Rip-away pouch – The rip-away pouch is a favorite among many survivalists or preppers. It is also mine.

First Aid Kits With Trauma Kits

I have several packs (kits) as my first aid kit and a trauma kit/s. The two can live in harmony because the trauma kit knows it is the pack’s Alpha dog. The trauma kit is outside the pack, under the lid, or in a separate compartment.

I can’t speak for EMTs or paramedics, but I just heard one say he prefers individual parts of the trauma gear on his person. That allows them to grab what they need with one hand and without sorting through other gear. This is ideal since they need to be ready to save multiple lives.

What Goes Inside – How to Build A Trauma Kit

What Goes Inside A Trauma Kit?

Advanced Trauma Gear – Not Recommended

Advanced Trauma Gear - Not Recommended.

You need advanced training and experience in advanced trauma treatment like chest needle decompression (Needle thoracostomy) and advanced airway management, such as nasopharyngeal airway devices (NPA). They fall into that same realm as sutures – it looks easy enough on YouTube, but you’re an idiot if you try it in real life. Without proper and professional training, that is. I’d add experience as well.

Even using chest seals can be problematic. You can kill someone when you don’t know what you’re doing or when to do it.

US Army ALICE System
First-Aid Field Dressing on the U.S. Army (ALICE) All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment

The term “sucking chest wound” was thrown around a lot in my Army days, yet the only medical gear we were issued (Back then) was a single first aid field dressing that hung on one of our LBE (Load Bearing Equipment) straps.

Here’s a relevant Reddit sub I like:

With that said. Again.

I have all of that. I got a little carried away when medical supplies became part of my preparedness plan, and I fell into a YouTube trance or something. I keep telling myself that I’m going to take some advanced classes. Experience would be nice, but I’m having a hard time recruiting volunteers. 😜

Buy Or Build A Trauma Kit?

As with a first aid kit, building a trauma kit will probably be cheaper than buying a kit already put together. I’ve done both.

Doom and Bloom First Aid Kit Medium Grab-N-Go

After publishing How To Build A Basic First Aid Kit, I bought the First Aid Kit Medium Grab N Go® from Doom and Bloom. It’s high quality and a little pricy, but I have no regrets. Anyone who’s seen my first aid kits and supplies understands I needed another, like a hole in my head. I’ve also purchased the First Aid Kit Severe Trauma Wound GRAB N GO, the First Aid Belt Gunshot Kit GRAB N GO, and a few extra tourniquets from Doom and Bloom.

TIP: If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and have money in the account that you need to spend before the end of the year, many medical supplies will qualify, including the Doom and Bloom kit I just purchased.

I’ve also built several trauma kits. I bought the container and the individual pieces. It’s fun, you save money, and it helps with the learning aspect.

Where To Buy Supplies To Build A Trauma Kit

The best advice I can give, whether building a trauma kit or buying one, is to choose quality over price. There are many knockoffs, and you want something that won’t fail you in the middle of a high-stress situation.

Notice that most of the links I use for the major components are from North American Rescue – not Amazon. That’s because they have a great reputation and I trust their products. I DO NOT have an affiliation with them or use affiliate links for their products. I’ve also used and trust Doom and Bloom, and Medical Gear Outfitters. I used to recommend H&H Medical but haven’t seen or heard anything from them in two years.

Wrapping Up

Even with the legal stigma against carrying a trauma kit, I still carry it. For me, the benefit outweighs the risk, just like concealed carry does. That’s me. You have to decide for yourself which is best.

I hope this article helped a little. If so, consider subscribing to my free Substack. It’s something new I’m trying to build and improve on.

Call To Action / Next Step

If you missed it, see my article, How To Build A Basic First Aid Kit.

Building YOUR Realistic Preparedness Action Plan

Stay safe. Stay prepared.
God Bless. Hawkins out.

Featured image credit: Image by OMNA Inc from Pixabay.

Brian Hawkins

Father, grandfather, Veteran, animal lover, law-abiding taxpayer, homeowner, trucker, and a United States Citizen. Oh, and I'm also a prepper, survivalist, responsible gun owner, and hiker.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Zulu 3-6

    Most states have a law called Good Samaritan Acts. These protect the average citizen who helps an injured person. As long as you don’t exceed any training you have, or perform acts that are reckless (like heart surgery with a pen knife on the roadside or dumping dirt in a wound), most of those laws kill any potential lawsuit early. If they are filed at all. Joe or Jane Lunchbox has to do something incredibly stupid. In which case a civil lawsuit is not your primary concern.

    I am an ex-paramedic, ex-wilderness first aid instructor, retired military (two war vet), and retired cop. I still know a lot of stuff. I do know how to suture, use chest seals, needle decompression, start IVs, airway management (including cricothyrotomy) and more. Does that mean I would use all those techniques when professional pre-hospital care and modern medical facilities are in full operation? Nope. Maybe a chest seal for a sucking chest wound. Because I am no longer licensed, I have to keep my first aid to strangers basic. In a serious SHFT situation, I might expand some of my provided treatment, but only if professional medical care is not available. But still, would I necessarily use all of my skills? Such as inserting an endotracheal tube. Unless I expected to bag the patient until they decided to start breathing a few hours later, I might have to triage and pass on that. I sure don’t own a vent, nor do I own all of the cardiac drugs that would likely be needed too. I live in an urban area and right now a paramedic rig is a 911 call away. Of course, that may change and my first aid options may change also.

    I carry blowout kits in my cars, my range bag, tac vest, and on my person in the form of a safari-type vest. Izzies, scissors, chest seals, a TQ or two, and even a few Band-Aids (mainly for myself). All of my blowout kits have a few Band-Aids. All also have small flashlights, pens, and notebooks. My safari vest also has a headlamp. I do not carry a stethoscope in anything except my major kits.

    I agree fully with your selection of medical gear providers. I would probably blow your mind if you saw the “trauma kit” I keep in my home. More like a “battalion aid station kit.” 🙂

  2. Brian Hawkins

    Thanks, Zulu 3-6. First, let me just say that you just left one of those comments bloggers live for. It was well thought out and helpful for everyone who reads it.

    Thank you for bringing up the Good Samaritan Laws. I’m aware of them but didn’t think to bring it up or look deeper into it. For anyone reading this, SAFE Project Good Samaritan Laws: State-By-State Analysis has links to the various State laws.

    I feel more confident than ever that my recommendations for what not to carry when someone with your experience and training doesn’t even always carry it.

    You know you got me looking at safari vests, right? LOL

    PS: I carry lots of band-aids too. I get a little carried away when up there on my high horse. 😉

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