Medic Bag for Events
Yeah, yeah, it’s been months. More to come on that.
As the pandemic lifts and people start engaging in activities again, I’ve been asked by a couple of different people how I stock my events medic bag. This is a different perspective from my last post which was how I stock a First Aid Kit for general purposes. An event medic kit is specifically geared for providing basic first aid for an event, more specifically a sporting event.
My thinking when I prepare an event kit is: What are the common injuries/conditions I’m going to see? How many will I typically see in the course of the event? (And multiply by 2 or 3 when considering quantities.) What kinds of rare but serious injuries/conditions might I see, and what would I need to stabilize them until EMS could arrive (how remote is the event)?
As such, my kit as it stands right now won’t work for every event. My bag is currently stocked (mostly – I realized I hadn’t re-stocked it after the last time I medic’d which was HOW LONG AGO?!?!) for adult roller derby (2 bouts in 1 evening) in an urban setting with EMS response times (should be) less than 10 minutes. It’s very similar to what I would pack for a youth sports event. I’d pack differently and in different quantities for a long camping event – it would look more like my standard first aid pack just with higher quantities of supplies for common injuries/conditions.
Anyway, on with the tour.
I have found that a duffle bag works best for events. This is the model I bought from Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00WKMWEJQ/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_9XT0F379EW63PM645TZ4?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
It came with the internal bags I have found to be very helpful to separate out supplies by use, if you are interested in using them with your own bag they are available separately: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01MYBLD1M/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_16FQV0DDG9C02RKVACSS
Everything about offering one’s services as a medic for an event is about rapid access to exactly what you need, when you need it without having to fish through other things.
So here’s a walk-through of my bag:
Opening up the flap, you can see I have used the clear zippered compartments in what may be an unusual way. The long compartment at the bottom perfectly holds a small stack of z-fold paper towels. I *constantly* find myself needing these – a layer of skin protection for ice packs, cleaning up all sorts of small messes, ice pack leaks, etc. (I have these at the house so I use them, but there are less expensive options: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00BFUSDO4/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_NKXJB42SQMGYME4WEA46)
The top 2 compartments, I carry the 2 sizes of gloves we use most at derby. I wear a Large, but most of the people I work with need a Medium. If I were the only one working, I’d probably only stock L and use the other compartment for something else I need to keep handy.
Moving into the main compartment, you can see the internal bags. If there’s a red label or bag available, I will always assign it for major bleeding. I don’t have advanced airway supplies in this bag, so blue = ‘b’ = break. The remaining 2 I randomly assigned to ‘arm’ and ‘leg’ because we have so many soft tissue injuries so that’s where I need to concentrate injury supplies. I would have rather had a larger bag for all of the “sprain” supplies, but you work with what you have.
Minor Injuries bag
I used a freebie shell from Target or Walgreens or such I got a few years ago, but any organizer will work. I like one that lays open and has a bunch of pockets for separating different items. This is for small bandage level injuries, scrapes, etc.
- Sterile gauze – 2×2; 4×4 – a few of each
- Non-sterile gauze 4×4 – a decent stack in a zip-top bag
- Wound cleaner – I like the pump bottle but a small bottle of saline solution will work
- Coban (aka vet wrap or Coflex) – 1 roll
- Sports tape – 1 roll
- Gloves – at least 6 pair
- Alcohol wipes – many
- Adhesive bandages, various sizes – many
- Bacitracin individual packages – many (mine may actually be generic neosporin, but someone pointed out with my last post that bacitracin is a better alternative for allergy reasons, so I’ll be switching over)
- Benzoin swabs individually wrapped – a few (I will be replacing with Skin-Tac wipes when these run out)
- Steri-strips (technically, if I need to be applying steri-strips, we’re a little beyond a “minor injury” but occasionally they work really well on a simple cut and I had them so I threw them in here)
Major Bleed bag
Note: I’ve never had to use this at a sporting event, and wouldn’t really anticipate it. But it’s something that when you need it, you NEED IT.
- Sterile gauze – 2×2; 4×4 – several of each
- Abd pads – several
- Non-sterile gauze 4×4 – a nice size stack in a zip-top bag)
- Roller gauze – 1-2 rolls
- Alcohol wipes – some
- Adhesive bandages – some (not really for major bleeds, but sometimes what looks like a major bleed isn’t once you clear away the mess)
- Benzoin swabs/skin tac – many
- Tape – sports tape is fine – what you see in my pic is some fantastic 3″ tape I “acquired” somewhere – IYKYK 😉
Note: these small internal bags are REALLY tight with 2 SAM splints and the other items, BUT if you need to splint an adult leg, you really need 2 SAM splints and the other items. SQUISH that stuff.
- 2 SAM Splints (don’t cheap out on these, the brand name is worth a couple extra bucks)
- 4 tribands (I know, there’s only 3 in the pic, stock issues – I’d use tape or coflex for the 4th)
- Finger splints
- 2-3 3″ elastic bandage
- 2-3 2″ elastic bandage
- 1-2 1″ elastic bandage (optional, nice to have)
- 2 tribands
- Finger splints
- 2-3 4″ elastic bandage
- 2-3 3″ elastic bandage
- Under-wrap (not shown – stock again)
- I’d also usually have some Coban/coflex/vetwrap in there
Other items in the main compartment:
- Gallon zip-top bag with a BUNCH of quart zip-top bags – I have found that freezer thickness quart bags make the best ice packs. The thicker plastic protects the skin better, especially if you also use a paper towel, leaks less, and is generally just better than the other options I’ve tried. They’re also handy for containing gauze and other medical waste that’s contaminated with a bit more body fluids than you’re comfortable with just throwing in a trash bag. You can absolutely use anything though – ice pack bags made for the purpose (expensive!) down to a roll of small trash bag liners (double-wrap them).
- A roll of plastic wrap. These are super handy for putting ice packs on awkward places like shoulders or ribs. They make special ones that are sold in medical supplies sections but they’re EXPENSIVE. The ones for packing/shipping work just fine, and they’re less expensive as are the refills!
- My splurge item is a folding aluminum clipboard for my concussion forms with medical reference info laminated on the outside. Several versions are available – Paramedic, RN, MD, etc. https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00C2EG826/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_JGQJRVDJZDP44MJJRJ2E Not a “have to have” but it’s nice to be able to write documentation easily without looking for a flat surface.
Front pocket I use for general equipment
- CPR face mask
- Scissors, scissors, more scissors (at least one of which should be trauma shears, and at least one bandage scissors)
- Penlights (2 is 1, 1 is none)
- Splinter kit
- Someone gave us a bunch of Hibiclens packets and I threw a few in my bag.
- A couple of hemostats
One side pocket is for medications and some miscellaneous stuff
- Glucose tabs
- Pepto tabs
- Emesis bags (SERIOUSLY, order yourself a sleeve of these – when you need one, you NEED ONE)
- Israeli battle dressing (never leave home without one)
- Extra stuff like under-wrap, coflex, elastic bandages
- Huge permanent marker – comes in handy for ALL SORTS OF THINGS
- “boo-boo bags” – (a good friend of mine clued me into these – take a zip-top sandwich bag – throw in a pair of gloves, a couple of alcohol preps, a 4×4 or 2, and a couple of adhesive bandages …. You don’t have to open up any of your kit to deal with a little cut, and you can also hand them to someone who needs to take a bandage to someone else and they have what they need. Only thing I’d probably add is a would cleansing towelette because alcohol to clean a cut is vicious, man…)
The other side pocket is for overflow/backup items and even less frequently used miscellaneous stuff
- Wound wash (extra bottle) – I would probably swap this out for a bottle of saline so I have something to wash foreign bodies out of eyes… I realized while writing this all up I have nothing for crud in eyes in my bag. Ooops.
- Extra tape & elastic bandages
- Duct tape (flat packs are great!)
- Feminine hygiene products & hair ties in a zip-top bag
- Wet wipes
So thus ends the tour of my event medic bag. I hope this is useful to someone.
Again, my way is not the only way, it’s just what has worked for me. I can even see ways to improve it just walking through it for this post.
If you’re looking to set up a medic bag – look at other bags, see what works for other people, and then try stuff out. Take what works for you, and discard the rest.