SWAT medics, combat and field medics, first responders, EMTs and privately employed medics need a reliable tactical kit packed with life-saving gear, but knowing where to start can be tough – especially if you’re already carrying 25-plus pounds of mission-specific equipment.
At bare minimum, you have to carry what your company, unit or team requires in its SOP, but if you’re putting together a custom tactical first aid kit for your own use, you can stuff it with specific EMS supplies you know you’ll need.
Every tactical medical bag needs personal protective equipment (PPE) that keeps medical personnel safe when rendering aid. Masks, gloves and eye pro are mandatory. A basic medical kit also needs:
If you have the space, you can make your basic EMS kit even better based on the types of emergency services you anticipate providing.
If you’re the EMT who’s usually in the rear with the gear, you’ll need a backup bag that includes:
Pro Tip:In an emergency, two is one, and one is none. Extra supplies are essential if you want to keep your charges (and yourself) as safe as possible.
Most EMS pros face trauma management. If you expect trauma care to be part of your job description, build out your tactical first aid kit with the following EMS supplies:
Tactical medical supplies for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats are different than they are for trauma and routine care. If you’re anticipating CBRN action, your med bag may also need:
If you’re building an EMS tactical kit for yourself or your family, customize it based on the care you expect to provide or require. You may need Epinephrine for allergies or anti-overdose medication like Naloxone, for example. The most well-rounded kits have a little of everything – trauma supplies, basic care and monitoring equipment, and everyday EMS gear like bandages, medical scissors and tape. Because medical gear can get heavy, especially if you're already carrying another tactical kit, use your best judgment to decide what's essential and what isn't for each specific mission.