6 differences between IFAK and First Aid Kits

No doubt, it is very easy to mistake an individual first aid kit (IFAK) for a first aid kit, perhaps this is because they have a few things in common and people consider their similar functions. Thus, a first aid kit and an individual first aid kit are two packs whose functions and importance could easily overlap and may be confused with each other. In this article, we will be taking a detailed look at these two all-important items to see, define exactly what they are and how they differ. This article will also highlight their distinctive features and functions that make them different. Keep reading. What are First aid kits? First aid kits are items designed for managing simple wounds such as severe bleeding, scrapes, and cuts. It contains a collection of supplies, life saving medications and equipment used in administering medical treatment to wounded or injured individuals. The contents of each first aid kit vary based on the knowledge and expertise of the brands that put them together. Superficial wounds managed with advanced first aid kit can be sustained on daily basis while carrying out different types of activities. Furthermore, a first aid kit is most commonly used to treat "boo-boo" wounds, and minor injuries which may cause just a little pain and can be managed easily. Though no one ever died of a boo-boo or a scrape, a first aid kit is a must-have in every home and vehicle. Aside from cleaning wounds, they also help in the prevention of wound contaminations. These small kits typically contains equipment or supplies that help manage and treat wounds like burns, cuts, scrapes, and injuries like sprains. What are Individual first aid kits? These military IFAK could be alternatively described as trauma kits; they contain essential supplies that could save lives. These kits are designed for emergencies and used only by medical experts. This military first aid kit aims to keep an injured person in the best condition until adequate medical care can be provided. IFAK is used for massive hemorrhages (bleeding), airway and breathing problems, gunshot wound, severe bleeding or major wounds which can kill an affected individual within minutes. Therefore, keeping this tactical gear simple, modified, and organized is important to saving time and life in emergency situations. Some essential items that must be found on this IFAK include, bandaids, gauze pads, improvised tourniquets, chest seals, medical tape, bandages, and other medical supplies. However, it is not recommended to have this IFAK stocked with non-essential items. This advanced kit should be completely stored for emergencies and life-threatening conditions, while first aid kits can be kept for daily use or everyday use. Differences between IFAK and first aid kits In looking at exactly what differences between IFAK and a First aid kit, it is vital to take in some factors into consideration. These categories include the following: Products included The broad aims of kits are prevention, action, and recovery or stabilization. All products in a trauma kit are life-saving products, while the first aid kits contain non-life-saving action products and recovery products. Products included in a first aid kit For instance, the first aid kits contain simple products like: Scissors The scissors can be used to cut bandages and gauze to fit wounds, and they can also be used during wound dressing. This is done to reduce the risk of wound infection. Safety pins These are used to secure a wrap or bandage over a wounded or bleeding arm or leg and for splinter removal. It can be used in immobilizing an arm by pinning the cuff of a long sleeve shirt to its chest to produce a makeshift arm sling. Gauze pads Sterile gauze pads are used for arresting bleeding, cleaning and covering wounds. Gloves Disposable sterile gloves are used to keep he person administering first aid protected against contamination. Bandages Bandages help in wrapping minor injuries and wrapping gauze around wounds. Plaster Plaster of different sizes are adhesive dressings used to cover small or light cuts. Other medical supplies for a first aid kit include the following, band aids, adhesive bandages, creams or sprays, wipes, burn gel, thermometer, painkillers like paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamines, antidotes for cases of poisoning, certain medications among others. Products included in an IFAK Some of the essential medical supplies you will find in this medical kit include the following: Tourniquet A Tourniquet contained in an IFAK is an action product used in saving a life and tactical combat casualty care. It is a tight band used to control hemorrhage (bleeding) by restricting the blood flow to a wound. Note: Tourniquets are used only in arms and leg injuries. Pressure dressings Pressure dressings are similar in action to the tourniquet as they are both involved in hemorrhage control. One of the best means of getting bleeding under control is through well-aimed direct pressure. Tourniquets do the job well on the arms and legs, but they can't be used on the head, neck, torso, or other tricky injury sites. A pressure dressing can be used in almost any site, with advanced features built in to help you aim for pressure where it needs to be. Chest seals Chest seals are normally used when a bullet wound, stab wound from a knife, sharpened wood, or other penetrating trauma affect the lung area. These situations cause breathing difficulties due to air being sucked through the hole of the injury, which can lead to a collapse of the lungs. The chest seal is a plastic sheet that acts as an occlusive for the injury. It seals the hole and ensures the survival of the victim till they can get the right medical attention. This can be particularly useful, especially for military personnel and law enforcement agents. Elastic bandage An elastic bandage is applied to put even pressure on the tissue around an injury. This is done to reduce pain, decrease inflammation (swelling), and support wounded areas. Vet wrap Coban (also known as vet wrap) is an adaptable tape good for minor bandaging tasks and securing splints. They can also be reused if handled carefully and not exposed to high temperatures, which melt the layers together. Guaze Z-fold gauze is a regular gauze, but it has been put together so that it makes it much easier to use in urgent life-saving situations. The hemostatic variants of the z-fold gauze are even better because they have blood-clotting agents within them. Clotting agents are not very important as you can successfully control the bleeding without them (and they can add to the cost), but they make the task faster and easier. Compression bandage A compression bandage is a long strip of stretchable cloth. It is used to wrap around a sprain or strain; it can also be called an elastic bandage or a tensor Bandage because it has a similar function to an elastic bandage. A nasopharyngeal airway (NPA) A nasopharyngeal airway (NPA) is a soft rubber tube healthcare providers use to assist with patient ventilation. It helps supply oxygen to hypoxic patients who can not be oxygenated using bag masks. Saline eye drop Saline eye drops are thrown in the mix because different situations involve pollutants in the air that hurt your eyes and reduce your ability to survive. After all, you can't see. Smoke from a wildfire, dust clouds from explosions, or pepper spray during riots are good examples of such situations. Medications Over-the-counter medications such as Acetaminophen (Paracetamol), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Loperamide (Imodium), and Ibuprofen (Advil) are not crucial for saving lives but are useful in many instances. Acetaminophen is the safest among painkillers for different kinds of people. Others are gloves, trauma shears, hemostatic agents, band aids, medical tape, adhesive bandages, cotton balls, triple antibiotic ointment, duct tape, C A T tourniquet, duty belt, triangular bandages among other tools. Costs The costs of theses kits are directly proportional to the cost of the products they contain. Thus, since trauma kits contain items that could be described as specialized items, they can be much more expensive than the regular first aid kits. All the items in an IFAK can save an injured person from death. The bag is also specially designed to accommodate these special items and make it easy to access them. This is why trauma kits are always more expensive than first aid kits, and these prices vary based on the brand or company that put them together. An IFAK can range from $75 to $500, while a first aid kit, in contrast, could be between $25 and $350. Costs could also depend on location. Design IFAKs are designed for emergencies. The bags are designed in a well-organized manner to make items quickly and easily found. Since the kits are required in life-threatening conditions where time for a lot of thinking will be unavailable (even for the sharpest of minds), they are designed according to emergency treatment methodologies. The MARCH principle is a common emergency treatment methodology for the design of trauma kits. It is also noteworthy that trauma kits contain only a few items that may differ according to the situation. These specialized items are chosen according to their relevance during emergencies. While a first aid kit is designed to have numerous items or supplies to meet different requirements and types of first aid. There is usually more than enough time to look through items to pick what would be needed for treatments. A first aid kit is designed according to its use. The content of a home first aid kit may vary slightly from a travel first aid kit. Specialization IFAKs are somewhat specialized items. Therefore, the user should have the required skill set to use the different products that make up the kit. An individual must know the basic first aid principles of controlling and managing bleeding without introducing any infectious agent to the wound— aseptic wound management. The person administering should be skilled in the management of a suspected spinal/head injury. The person should be well trained in the correct administration of anaphylactic drugs and analgesics. He or she should be a medical expert with good understanding of the following: How to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): in a situation where a bystander is involved, CPR allows the rescuer to resuscitate a person in cardiac arrest by maintaining oxygen moving to their brain until recovery or medical help is given. How to call for help or rescue in a danger zone: Law enforcement agencies are primary users of trauma kits or individual first aid kits. They are mostly involved in dangerous situations and find themselves in endangered environments where they are isolated or lost and need a means of alerting the team members of their whereabouts and how they can be found. This is why an IFAK medical supplies must include rescue equipment, and the force trained on various ways of using this equipment. This specialized training could be carried out in organizations where IFAKS are issued, for example among the armed forces, law enforcement agencies, and other tactical occupations. On the other hand, first aid kits do not require specialized training; anyone can use a first aid medical kits to manage simple wounds effectively. Applications First aid kits contain medical supplies that are designed for everyday use. They can be used to manage simple injuries in all kinds of environments, including homes, schools, vehicles, and offices. On the other hand, IFAK contain medical supplies that are needed in situations where life-threatening injuries are bound to occur, such as battlefronts, survival training, hiking, and should also be in the hands of Emergency Medical Technicians. They would respond to disaster calls, accidents, and other medical emergencies. These medical kits are applied in the management of conditions such as exsanguination and hypothermia. The kits also contain items for managing breathing issues, blood loss, open wound, close wounds among others. Military personnel specifically need trauma kits. In situations where injuries occur, their first help may come from untrained civilians. Having an IFAK could make all the difference in this case and help save a life. Military personnel in American college needs to have trained individuals who can administer IFAK, give the necessary help and medical treatment needed to save lives, and manage the condition effectively. Trail guides and hiking or climbing instructors should also have these kits handy at different locations in case of injuries that could likely occur. Weight The weight of first aid kits and IFAKs could be a major difference between them. IFAKs are designed to save lives and make a difference in dire situations. First aid kits are great items to manage basic injuries but will not make a difference in dire situations. Because of their aims and applications, weight is a significant feature. IFAKs are designed to be as portable as possible so they can be easily carried around. Some people carry them on belts or have them strapped to their legs for easy access. The kits may have to fit into tiny spaces so that they are always easily available. Thus, only necessary items are included in a trauma kit. First aid kits are typically heavier than trauma kits. This is because as many products as possible could be included in first aid kits. It is always recommended that trauma kits be kept as light as possible. Packaging bags, kits, or suits should be lightweight, durable, and protective enough to prevent or keep the equipment from moisture and harsh weather and protect the medication. For military personnel, it is also vital that an IFAKS should be portable and lightweight since they need to be carried around during wars or as they travel around. Personalization Trauma kits are designed according to perceived needs. The items in the kits are carefully selected to ensure they include items that will play a major role during emergencies. However, the military kit carried by a soldier might be different from those carried by a firefighter or a hiker. People who carry these kits are also trained in applying medical supplies contained in them to easily treat their team members, or sometimes they might be alone and have to administer some of the treatments by themselves. First aid kits, on the other hand, are designed for general-purpose use, they can be anywhere, and personalization is usually not needed. No training is typically required before using the items that make up general first aid kits. Conclusion Both Individual First Aid Kits and First Aid Kits are great medical kits to have at your disposal in emergency situations. However, an individual first aid kit contains only trauma kits and used often by law enforcement agencies and other firms involved in tactical combat while first aid kits contain simple medical supplies for every day use. When using a military IFAK, it is vital to ensure that it contains all necessary or basic first aid supplies in a backpack, suitcase, or vehicle. Finally, the primary difference between these medical kits is that while the first aid kit is for day to day care, Individual First aid kit is designed to save lives in emergencies such as fire, shooting, accidents and they must be used by professionals only. To discover other items that must be contained in your IFAK, click here.

6 differences between IFAK and First Aid Kits

No doubt, it is very easy to mistake an individual first aid kit (IFAK) for a first aid kit, perhaps this is because they have a few...