December 2, 2020

Heavy Use Review – ReFactor Delta Trauma Kit

I carry a first aid kit in my work bag every day. Earlier in the year, Rich over at the Reptile House Blog posted an article about the Coyote Tactical Solution STOMP Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK). This IFAK is identical to the Refactor Delta I’ve been carrying for the last 3 years. The ReFactor version is sadly discontinued but I have seen it still on sale in some places. For a full rundown on the pouch, go see Rich’s blog article. What I’ll do here is talk about how I use it, what carry and why.

Size-wise, it’s a bit bigger than the Blue Force Gear Micro which is, frankly, a good thing. I get a decent amount of stuff in mine, including a tourniquet dangling underneath it.

What I carry matches my level of training, current competence and the problems I expect to need to solve. I’m worried about general trauma, including blast injuries but could also include a cyclist having an argument with a lorry or a motorcyclist going over the top of a car. Thankfully, I’m yet to need to use anything on myself but this has made a massive difference in at least two cases where I’ve been first on scene as a member of the public. Training wise, I’ve got some basic UK military quals, (historic) as well as a current wilderness first responder qual. As you can see, no airway, no decompression needle, no surgical kit – I’m not competent to use it and so there’s no point carrying it. But I do know how to use everything I carry and the pros and cons of each piece of equipment.

Why carry trauma kit every day when you’re outside a war zone? Well, stuff happens. And it’s not just marauding terrorism that I’m worried about but it’s part of why I carry this on my commute into the City of London.

The only stuff I’ve used from this have been gloves (you can’t carry too many pairs) and the shears (see the pic at the bottom of the page). Nevertheless, the contents have been validated.

Back to the IFAK itself. Internal storage is simple, nothing more than a few strips of elastic to hold what you need in place.

I often end up with some micropore tape in there as well – it’s just handy to have and is good for DIY plasters for minor cuts etc. Also added periodically are steristrips which are super handy for closing small but deep wounds without having to resort to A&E.

As tempting though as it is to add more and fancy kit (SPS is a great shop), you’ve got to be conscious of your level of training and competence. If you’re not properly able to apply a dressing, don’t waste time buying fancy dressings. If you’ve never trained to pack a wound, leave the celox alone. Training isn’t hard or especially expensive and I’d heartily recommend it. There are some great providers out there. And you never know when you might need it. First aid is one area where current knoweldge totally trumps kit.

The casualty in this pic was saved by an off duty doctor and an equally off duty cop armed only with gloves – nothing fancy. It was all skill. My shears helped but the medic would have managed just fine without them, it just made life easier and quicker. Skills are what mattered. And the air ambulance crews are shit hot. We were reasonably remote but having spotted a decent heli landing site, we called it in and then guided in the air ambulance which was on the ground within 15 mins which was incredible for where we were.

Yours truly (on the left) was IC heli marshalling and transport. And only gloves required!

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