Shirt-pocket trauma kit

August 09, 2009

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Jim Guffey Rising Through the Ranks
with Jim Guffey

Tip: Shirt-pocket trauma kit

By PoliceOne Contributor Jim Guffey

Image courtesy of Jim Guffey

To survive some calls you need to be able to carry everything on your duty belt. Below is a little kit I carried in my shirt pocket and would have given me the ability to survive three major types of gunshot wounds if the worst ever happened. The materials were simply a plastic sandwich bag, a KOTEX sanitary pad and a tourniquet from a snake bite kit. Here’s how you do it.

The tourniquet: Find a snake-bite kit that has a tourniquet in it at any sporting goods store. The one I got is big enough when opened all the way to go over my thigh. Obviously, this is for any arterial or venous bleeding.

Sanitary pad: I used KOTEX brand because it is small and square, the perfect size for a shirt pocket or extra handcuff case. These pads hold close to ten times their weight in blood. Perfect for serious wounds. Get the plain variety. You don't need scented ones.

Plastic bag: In case of a chest wound, tension pneumothorax, simply put the bag over the wound and press down with both hands. The plastic will keep air out and, if you leave pressure off the bottom of the bag, it will allow air in your chest to escape.

This kit won’t win any prizes and it isn’t pretty or high-tech but if you have it with you it just might save your life.


About the author

After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, Jim Guffey began his Law Enforcement career in 1977 with the Pennsylvania Capitol Police. In 1980 was hired by the Ross Township Police Department. He remained there until January 1, 2002. During that time he worked as a plain-clothes detective, on the traffic division, and was promoted on 1996 to Lieutenant. He remained the Administrative Lieutenant until his retirement. Not satisfied with retirement, he became the Chief of Police in Blairsville Borough in August 2003 and remained there until July 2004.

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