A holistic approach to preparation is important. I believe that being able to deal with common fatal injuries is as important as carrying a firearm or knowing what to do in the event of a fire. So I recommend that you have access to a trauma kit with the equipment to treat common injuries, as well as an understanding of how to use the equipment on a patient.
Mountain Man Medical trauma kits are affordable, customizable, and offer access to a free online training course, which is invaluable.
What to include in the Trauma Kit
The equipment you include in your trauma kit will vary based on a few factors, such as where you will be taking or staging the kit and for what purpose you intend to use it.
For example, you probably won’t have the same equipment in a kit you carry with you every day as the kit you stage in your vehicle or garage. The kit you carry might contain only the essentials such as a tourniquet, chest seals, gauze and/or a compression dressing, while the one staged may include multiples of these items and possibly things like space blankets, splints, ties, products over-the-counter painkillers and ointments, etc.
If you plan to use the kit on the range, you must include the equipment needed to treat gunshot wounds. If you’re forced to choose between a tourniquet and a splint in your GSW kit, you might want to forego the splint. But including a splint and space blanket in your camping trauma kit makes a lot of sense in this application.
The rising rate of opioid overdose deaths
Surprisingly, leaders and the mainstream media downplay the serious social problems caused by a staggeringly high number of deaths from synthetic opioid overdoses. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), synthetic opioids were involved in 6 percent of the 41,502 overdose deaths in 2012. In 2015, of the 52,404 overdose deaths, 18 percent were from opioids. In 2019, opioids accounted for 51% of 70,630 overdose deaths, and then 66% of 106,699 deaths in 2021.
So not only are overdose deaths on the rise, but synthetic opioids account for a huge percentage. Naloxone, better known as Narcan, has been around for years and is a commonly used drug to reverse the effects of opioids in overdose patients. Until now, Food and Drug Association (FDA) regulations required someone to have a prescription for the drug. This year the FDA changed that requirement, allowing anyone to buy it.
Even with FDA approval, Narcan is still not available to buy over the counter. You can register on the manufacturer’s website to be notified when it is available for purchase without a prescription. In preparation, does it make sense for you to include Narcan in your trauma kit?
Should you bring Narcan?
I am not a medical professional and my opinion on the matter is based on my research and experiences with Narcan while responding to my fair share of overdoses during my time as a patrol cop in a busy Southern California town. These are just my conclusions which you can use however you like while making your decision on the drug.
People you know
If I had a loved one who used drugs, especially opioids, or worked with addicts, I would include Narcan in my daily carry kit. Not only would it be in an everyday carry kit, but I would have Narcan in my vehicle and at home. If I were building a medkit for an organization like a church or school, for example, I would include Narcan.
People you don’t know
It’s wise to assess the situation before jumping in and using deadly force to defend a third party. We should be equally careful when deciding who, and under what circumstances, to administer Narcan. I don’t say this because Narcan is a dangerous drug. It’s actually easy to administer and is generally safe, with few side effects or interactions.
I advise a certain caution because the person to whom you administer the Narcan could wake up confused and aggressive. You’ll need to consider things like, how far away is the medical response, and are there other people with the overdose? They may try to stop you from calling the police or paramedics and become hostile themselves.
There is also a risk of accidental exposure to fentanyl or being poked by an infected syringe.
You may decide it’s worth it, but the possibility that the person or associates could be violent and be careful with needles is something you should prepare for.
The actual risks of accidental exposure
Fentanyl is probably the best-known synthetic opioid, and while it has legitimate uses, street use is extremely lethal. There are many stories of first responders being unintentionally exposed to fentanyl. Unfortunately, there is some misconception about the lethality of accidental exposure to fentanyl and intentional ingestion of fentanyl.
One would have to coat one’s body with fentanyl powder on the street to risk overdose. Even if someone were to breathe in some fentanyl powder, they would not be at high risk of overdosing.
Not that we shouldn’t be cautious when handling fentanyl. And if you are exposed, you should definitely contact the paramedics. However, it’s important to note that overdoses result from injecting, snorting, or smoking the powder, not accidental exposures.
This PrepMedic video does a good job of explaining why many of first responders’ “near-fatal” exposures to fentanyl aren’t overdoses, but more likely a psychosomatic reaction.
Will you bring Narcan?
If you have the space, Narcan might be something that is better to have and never need than to need and not have. That said, Narcan does expire, so you need to be careful. Your city may have a free Narcan program, like this one in Colorado or this one in Columbus, OH. If not, it will run you close to $200 for a 2-dose pack if the price stays the same.
Intervening in a medical situation is an individual choice you have to make based on as much information as you can get. Protecting life is sometimes dangerous. We must not ignore the risks or overestimate them.
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