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  1. #1
    Senior Member sirtirithon's Avatar
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    Carrying a First Aid Kit while commuting

    I posted in the "How was todays commute?" thread yesterday about how I came across a young man who was unconcious laying on the sidewalk on my ride into work yesterday morning. He was severly beaten up,bloody, and had several brutal wounds. I won't go into details, but the visual is still haunting me. I was with my buddy who has been commuting with me the last few weeks and luckily he had a plastic bag in his trunkbag and we were able to use that to check the boys pulse (this was to act as a barrier against blood borne pathagens). It wasn't strong but it was there. I called 911 and we used our bicycle headlights on flash mode to help guide the EMT's to the scene. After stablizing him, they were able to get a few words out of him like his first name and age, and come to find out he was only 16 years old. I can't believe anybody would do that to a kid, or anyone for that matter. I am just so glad that we came across him and got him help otherwise who knows how that could have ended. The EMT's were even shocked at how bad of shape he was in. I'm not looking for a pat on the back or anything from sharing my story, but it got me to thinking how my meager pack of bandaids and cleansing wipes was really of no help in this situation. I could have really used some exam gloves for my protection during checking his pulse, possibly some gauze pads to help contain the bleeding, etc. Also, a CPR mouth barrier could come in handy. I know the current method doesn't even require mouth to mouth and just compressions but it might not hurt. Since the incident I have started compiling a small first aid kit that will allow me to really assist better as a first responder if I should happen across another person in need. I'm sure a lot of you are already carrying great first aid kits, and if so what have you decided on as far as contents?

  2. #2
    just ride
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    Wow, quite a day for you. Good job for being prepared to help. My first aid kit basically contains: gauze and non-stick pads, gloves, vet-wrap, band-aids, medical and duct tape, and gloves. But even more important is knowledge of 1st aid, which it is clear you have. Good job man.
    what is this 'road tax' you speak of?

  3. #3
    nashcommguy
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    First off, many, many kudos for your selfless actions and clear thinking it what must've been a horrific scenario. My prayers go out to the young man, whoever he is. You very well may have saved his life.

    My first aid kit contains all of the above w/some hydrogen peroxide. Living very rural a snake-bite kit is part of my first-aid kit as well. While it may seem like a bit silly, I saw a 6 ft rattler on my street last year. It was at night and he was 'warming' himself on the pavement. Needless to say I came to a slamming halt until he slithered away into the bushes. Got a SB kit the next day.

    Still, I'm really saddened about this kid. Hope he fully recovers.

  4. #4
    Hrumph! El Duderino X's Avatar
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    Good on you for helping out.

    Sounds like you have a good enough kit. My own is along these lines:

    Good kit - A couple pairs of nitrile gloves, sterile non-stick gauze pads (4"x4" would be the largest I'd carry), some hypafix (one of my favourite if not my very favourite small wound dressing product), an assortment of band-aids, tensor bandage, sling (great for so many different applications), a couple individual single-use mini-saline bottles, face mask w/valve, penlight, scissors.
    Off the top of my head that's about the absolute most I'd carry in a biking/commute-to-work first-aid kit.

    Could get a little more advanced with a few more items that would make it a...
    Better kit: All of the above plus: Sam splint, blood glucose monitor + test strips.

    Then there's overkill:
    Completely-over-the-top-and-ridiculously-unnecessary-for-commuting kit - All of the above plus some goodies from my personal home kit including hard collar, bag-valve mask, pulse-ox, OPAs...

    And to all the kids out there, remember, do not attempt advanced procedures or use equipment that you haven't been trained for, certified/licensed for. You don't want to hurt someone and it can be a mighty a litigious world out there. Some countries more than others.
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  5. #5
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    Wow great job in helping! Great use of the bag and the headlight blinky to make it easier for the EMTs to guide them.

    I have not put together a first aid kit at all and would either like to or buy a it made already.

    Once you get your kit together, can you post what you got?

    Things to consider adding:
    Liquid benedryl in case of reaction to a yellow jacket/bee sting
    Asprin (has many uses)

  6. #6
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    I don't think any first-aid that a commuter cyclist could carry is adequate for this kind of severe injury. Our local cycle paramedics carry full side and top panniers packed with gear.
    I just carry a basic road rash kit: antiseptic wipes, gauze pad and some plasters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    I don't think any first-aid that a commuter cyclist could carry is adequate for this kind of severe injury. Our local cycle paramedics carry full side and top panniers packed with gear.
    I just carry a basic road rash kit: antiseptic wipes, gauze pad and some plasters.
    Something is better then nothing.

  8. #8
    Senior Member kookaburra1701's Avatar
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    I am a paramedic - the only things that will really do anything are gloves and mask for you (to protect against exposure) and some bandages so you can apply pressure to bleeding if you need it. Maybe a space blanket. Anything else will be pointless if you can't get the patient to definitive care, which is why the first step in any emergency algorithm is to call 911. An American Heart Association CPR/First aid course would do a layperson much more than any amount of equipment.

    All I carry in my car are nitrile gloves, an equine first aid kit (better/bigger bandages than human stuff) and a fire extinguisher. The most important one is the fire extinguisher.
    2014 Specialized Dolce, 1987 Schwinn Tempo, 2012 Windsor Kensington 8

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ira B's Avatar
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    Because it is simply impractical to carry a comprehensive first aid kit you will almost surely have to improvise for anything worse than a minor boo boo.
    A cell phone to call emergency services is probably the best thing most of us can do for a more serious injury/accident. For very rural commuters or Mt. bikers you may be on your own for awhile or have to limp out to somewhere you can be found. In that case a bit more first and/or second aid may be in order.

    I carry about a dozen paper towels in a ziplock sandwich bag in my tool pouch. These can be used to wipe greasy hands or cover a wound. The baggie can also be used in a pinch to valve a sucking chest wound.
    I also carry a spare tube in another baggy wrapped in a large bandanna with a rubber band(to protect the tube from damage) that can be used for a pressure bandage/ constriction band ect for larger wounds or unexpected amputations. (NEVER apply a constriction band or tourniquet unless you have been trained to do so) The large bandanna can be used to make a sling or battle type dressing, pack a very large wound ect.
    Water bottle for emergency eye wash/ wound flushing.
    Splinting is probably best left to EMS but a Mt. biker may find the need to splint. A tire pump can easily be extended to just the right length to splint an arm or lower leg.
    Learn CPR and take a first aid class. There is not much worse than watching someones life slip away before your very eyes and not being able to do a darn thing about it. ( you will have nightmares for the rest of your life ) Knowing first/second aid can make the difference in a lot of situations but you have to also accept your limitations.
    Yep, THAT Ira

  10. #10
    Senior Member oban_kobi's Avatar
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    I carry cloth tape, nitrile gloves, an elastic bandage, several gauze pads, a barrier, and a pack of quick clot, which is a chemical clotting agent, along with benadryl and a couple wipes/antiseptics and smaller bandages. I focus on carrying things for life threatening injuries, as anything else can generally wait. It all fits in a small saddlebag. Duct tape and knives are elsewhere in my commute bag. I carry a larger pack when off on my own in the middle of nowhere.

    Very worth it when you get smacked by a car and bust your chin open on the pavement. I started carrying large gauze pads after that. O_O

    Kookaburra, I strongly approve of your love of Pinkie.
    This is super seriously.

  11. #11
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    A first aid kit while biking is a good Idea.

  12. #12
    Senior Member sirtirithon's Avatar
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    I have been through 3 first aid courses in the last 6 years because I work for the government and it is required so I am fairly up to date on first aid treatments and CPR.

  13. #13
    Senior Member kookaburra1701's Avatar
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    Oh, something for everyone who has gauze - putting down a non-adherent pad onto an open wound (especially if it has some bacitracin on it) before putting the gauze on will save your patient much agony in the future. In the ER I work in we use Telfa. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...keywords=telfa
    2014 Specialized Dolce, 1987 Schwinn Tempo, 2012 Windsor Kensington 8

  14. #14
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    1) Good job on stopping to help.
    2) The cellphone is the best tool you can carry, it can summon the people with more tools and training.
    3) A pretty extensive discussion on the subject can be found here: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...First-Aid-Kits

  15. #15
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    ^^^ great link No Motor.

    Awesome video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dboVSTCkuw

  16. #16
    GATC
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    I don't tend to carry any 1st aid gear (but 2 of my coworkers tote a lot of it), but I do always have latex gloves, more for roadside mechanic work but would serve for medical use if needed.

    edit-> looking at that link reminds me a of a friend who got hit by a car while commuting and got a compound fracture of his femur, and he was worried about the bone pieces cutting his femoral artery. I don't know what to pack for that; he just clamped his hand on his upper thigh until EMTs came. I guess if you had tourniquets you could ask someone to help apply it.

    Would you use a tourniquet if you didn't know an artery was cut?
    Last edited by HardyWeinberg; 07-08-12 at 06:28 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member kookaburra1701's Avatar
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    Looking through the other thread, some useful, OTC medications to have on hand:
    diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
    caffeine pills
    4 baby aspirin (especially if you are a male over 40 with a history of heart disease in your family)

    These could also be nice to have:
    an antacid
    immodium

    I am allergic to bees, so I always carry Benadryl, caffiene pills, my rescue inhaler, and an epipen in my saddle bag. The last two items on the list are Rx only in the US.

    If you really want to Boy Scout it up and be prepared for massive bleeding, take along some feminine sanitary napkins, super size. They make great trauma dressings, and don't stick to hair. That's what we used on horses in pony club, but they're not sterile.
    2014 Specialized Dolce, 1987 Schwinn Tempo, 2012 Windsor Kensington 8

  18. #18
    Senior Member Ira B's Avatar
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    Forgot to mention. On several occasions I have stopped to render aid at car accidents and urgently needed a temporary wound dressing. Usually cars will stop to gawk and offer help and about 50% of the people are women. If you ask,"does anyone have a kotex pad" you will probably have more sterile dressings handed to you than you could ever need.
    Yep, THAT Ira

  19. #19
    Senior Member kookaburra1701's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ira B View Post
    Usually cars will stop to gawk and offer help and about 50% of the people are women.
    You don't say?!
    2014 Specialized Dolce, 1987 Schwinn Tempo, 2012 Windsor Kensington 8

  20. #20
    Senior Member Ira B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kookaburra1701 View Post
    You don't say?!

    I do say, but you may want to double check before asking them for a kotex.
    Yep, THAT Ira

  21. #21
    Hrumph! El Duderino X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kookaburra1701 View Post
    Oh, something for everyone who has gauze - putting down a non-adherent pad onto an open wound (especially if it has some bacitracin on it) before putting the gauze on will save your patient much agony in the future. In the ER I work in we use Telfa. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...keywords=telfa
    Non-stick telfa + hypafix
    Jive won't get you no zen!
    - unknown
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  22. #22
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I figure that I can't really carry enough to be ready for anything anyway. I've banged myself up pretty badly in the past and have never really wanted to use bandages, I just want to clean the wounds and get back on my way. I generally just flush everything with water, get the gravel out, and whatever's bleeding, just let it bleed. I've ridden home (4 or 5 miles) before with wounds that eventually required stitches when I finally got home, got a car and drove into the hospital. I wouldn't have wanted to bandage them, because they weren't bleeding significantly after the first few minutes, and any bandage you put on has to come back off again, and that's no fun.

    Besides, I find you get faster service at the ER if you walk in with obvious, open wounds and tell the receptionist "Yeah, I just need someone to throw some stitches into this."

    If it's bleeding badly enough that it's not going to stop on its own in a few minutes, I probably want to call for help anyway.

    For treating other people, I think the most I'd want to carry would be a breathing barrier and a pair of gloves, and maybe a clean cloth for applying pressure. If someone is really bad enough that I need to use that stuff, I'll have called 911 anyway and I just need to stay with them until the people who DO have all the stuff show up.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  23. #23
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
    Would you use a tourniquet if you didn't know an artery was cut?
    Current training is that you never, ever use tourniquets, unless it's clear that someone is absolutely going to bleed out without it, especially if it's on a limb that is clearly mangled beyond saving or totally missing. They won't even talk about tourniquets in first aid training anymore except to say "do not do it."

    So if there is clearly massive arterial bleeding, I'd do it if pressure wasn't working, otherwise no.

    EDIT: Actually, having done some reading, I'll amend that. Throw out the tourniquets, pack a 50 gram Quickclot pad. The 50 gram size is said to be able to stop a femoral artery bleed. I'm buying some.
    Last edited by ItsJustMe; 07-11-12 at 12:35 PM.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Ira B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Current training is that you never, ever use tourniquets, unless it's clear that someone is absolutely going to bleed out without it, especially if it's on a limb that is clearly mangled beyond saving or totally missing. They won't even talk about tourniquets in first aid training anymore except to say "do not do it."

    So if there is clearly massive arterial bleeding, I'd do it if pressure wasn't working, otherwise no.

    EDIT: Actually, having done some reading, I'll amend that. Throw out the tourniquets, pack a 50 gram Quickclot pad. The 50 gram size is said to be able to stop a femoral artery bleed. I'm buying some.
    That is very true. An exception would be if you were alone and bleeding out with the fear of passing out and being unable to tend to/manage a pressure band/dressing.
    If you do apply a true tourniquet to a limb, you are most likely going to lose that limb from the tourniquet downward.
    Yep, THAT Ira

  25. #25
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    First aid kit - cell phone and the T shirt I'm wearing.
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

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