The Contents of an IFAK (Starting to Think About First Aid)

Sorry I haven’t posted anything of substance in a while. I hope to change that. Among the other things that I post will be some articles on being prepared for the environments we may find ourselves in.

To those who haven’t been watching the news for the last few years, or who have never been to a protest, some of these articles may seem a bit paranoid.

To those who have been active in the various civil rights movements for longer, some of this will seem like old news.

A big part of preparedness though is thinking through what you need to do in case everything goes to hell.

So, my first article is going to be talking about first aid kits, and more specifically what the US Marine Corp carries in their default kit.


Because we can no longer depend on the idea that the opposition will not be using firearms. We can no longer depend on the idea that the police are going to render aid or allow emergency crews to render aid if there is an injury.

The over-militarization of our police departments, on more than one occasion, has lead to the obvious result of the police treating protest situations like a warzone.

First things first, I am going to start by listing the contents of a USMC IFAK (Individual First Aid  Kit). It will be a bit dry and too the point, but by just listing it out we will have a starting point.

Better yet, it will be written in a manner that might allow you to plug different things into google or Amazon more easily.

The IFAK is a first aid kit issued to Soldiers and Marines in the US Military, though the Army and Marines have slightly different load outs. It is also an example of items to consider when you are building your own emergency first aid kit.

The USMC IFAK contains the following:

A trauma kit containing:

* Bandage, Elastic, (2 EA) (field dressings)
* Bandage, Gauze, (2 Rolls)
* Tourni-Kwik Tourniquet, One Handed, (1 EA)
* Wound Pack (QuikClot), Hemostatic Treatment, (1 EA)

A Minor First Aid Kit containing:

* Bandage, Adhesive ¾” x 3″, (10 EA)
* Dressing, Burn 4″ x 16″, (1 EA)
* Povidone-Iodine Topical Solution. USP. 10% 1/2 Fl. Oz. Bt, (1 Bottle)
* Water Purification Tablet, Iodine 8 mg., (1 Bottle)
* Triangular Bandages 40″ x 40″ x 56″, (1 EA)
* Bandage, Adhesive 2″ X 4.5″, (5 EA)

Newer kits will also contain a pain relief pack that is pretty much a heavy dose of Acetaminophen because it is one of the few pain relievers available that are not also blood thinners. This is important in a combat environment where you may be prone to heavy bleeding and might find yourself waiting a while before you get any kind of proper treatment.

Newer kits also include an occlusive dressing (sometimes with valves), designed to cover a sucking chest wound.

Combat Corpsmen (medics) and specially trained “CLS” Marines carry more extensive packs, but they are specialized medical personnel. The list above is what the rank and file Marine carries.

As we have seen over the last decade or more, any protest activity has a chance to become violent. Any protest activity that directly targets Capitalism has a very high chance to become violent. Any protest activity that directly targets racism or Fascism is almost guaranteed to get violent.

Sadly, the most violent actors are likely to be the police themselves.
With recent media activity, many police departments are trying to change this image, but they don’t seem to be doing much to change the actual overall reality of things.
Fascists and White Nationalists are also starting to wise up to the fact that when we come, we are ready to defend ourselves against them if needed.

This means that not only do we need to be prepared to deal with actual combat scenarios, but we need to be prepared to deal with the aftermath as well. When a brother or sister falls, we need to get them out of there and get them stable. The stuff in the list above may seem simple, it may not seem like a lot, but it is a set of tools that anyone can learn to use.

In short: The gauze is for dressing and packing of wounds, and the elastic bandages apply pressure.

That is the most important part. Stop the bleeding. Tourniquets are for worse cases where you just can’t stop the bleeding or they are bleeding too fast to risk it.

The first aid process can be summarized as follows:

1. Get them off the X. Get them away from what is causing the harm.
2. Stop the bleeding.
3. Apply other measures as needed.

If you have time to prepare before a protest, make sure that as many people as possible are carrying portable first aid kits that have, at a minimum, the sort of things listed above. And, make sure as many people as possible are trained to use them: Especially the plastic bandages and gauze.

If your group is organized enough to do so, also try to have people who stay back away from the front lines of the fight who can deal with more serious injuries when they arise.
I will try to go into more detail with future posts. Let me know if there are any particular topics you want me to go over.

Note: While I was writing this, I found a resource that is very much worth taking a look at. The people over at Paper Revolution have an entire page related to resources for Street Medics and those who want to become Street Medics.

Check it out at:

Remember, and they have a similar notice on their page, what I have provided here is just a starting point. It is not, in and of itself, full training. The biggest thing we can do to prepare for any situation is to educate ourselves and train.