What Should Be in a First Aid Kit at a Shooting Range?

Shooting range first aid kit

Having a well-stocked shooting range first aid kit can save lives. While nobody likes to think of a devastating accident happening in their range, accidents do occasionally happen.

Keeping essential life-saving supplies close by allows bystanders or shooting range staff to administer life-saving care while waiting for the emergency services to arrive. In addition to having a well-stocked first aid kit, staff should receive training in how to use each item correctly to control bleeding.

What Should My Shooting Range First Aid Kit Include?

Owners of shooting ranges who want to stock their first aid kits can either purchase trauma-related items separately or invest in a specialized bleeding control kit that’s designed to be used in cases of traumatic blood loss. A bleeding control kit includes all the supplies that are necessary to stop bleeding from a gunshot wound or severe bleeding from cuts, lacerations, amputations, crush wounds, and other kinds of traumatic accidents.

Whether you modify your current first aid kit or purchase a dedicated trauma kit, make sure your kit contains the following items:

A Tourniquet

A tourniquet such as the C-A-T® Tourniquet or SAM-XT Tourniquet by SAM® Medical is essential for treating a gunshot wound to the arm or a gunshot wound to the leg. A correctly applied tourniquet can stop arterial bleeding from extremities and is a quick way to staunch bleeding while waiting for medical assistance.

Tourniquets are easy to use; simply fasten the tourniquet a couple of inches above the wound (above the joint if the wound is just below an elbow or knee), tighten it with the windlass until the bleeding stops, and secure the windlass. Then, use a permanent black marker to note the time the tourniquet was applied.

Emergency Trauma Dressing (ETD)

An Emergency Trauma Dressing (ETD) is a type of bandage that’s used to apply immediate and direct pressure to a wound. Its elasticity and roll control tabs allow it to be secured easily without any fussing around with pressure bars or hooks. 

Applying immediate and direct pressure on a wound with an ETD, elevating the wound, and keeping the patient warm and calm can help to prevent severe bleeding and shock. If needed, an ETD can also be used to secure a splint to an arm or leg or to swathe and sling an arm.

Wound Packing Gauze, Ideally Hemostatic Gauze

Though most first aid kits come with some kind of gauze, most won't include a hemostatic dressing. Hemostatic gauzes are stocked by the military and police departments and are made with advanced technology to promote clotting in open wounds, stopping bleeding faster. Though all hemostatic gauzes are effective in stanching severe bleeding, choosing the best hemostatic gauze depends on the nature and severity of the injury. For wounds on extremities, go for a military-grade product like QuikClot® Combat Gauze.

Chest Seals

Chest seals are used for deep gunshot or puncture wounds to the chest, neck, or abdomen. Chest wounds must be treated differently from wounds on other parts of the body. Not only are chest wounds often more life-threatening than some other types of gunshot wounds, but they can also cause more complications.

A chest seal doesn't work to stop a chest wound from bleeding. Instead, it works to seal the wound so that air doesn't enter the chest cavity. In the case of penetrating injuries to the chest, it's important to check if the bullet exited the body; if it has, both wounds must be sealed. For this reason, it’s a good policy to carry at least two chest seals in your gun range emergency medical kit at all times. All of the trauma kits that we sell with chest seals in them utilize twin-pack HyFin® chest seals, so they already come with two.

Nitrile Gloves

Disposable gloves help to protect the people who respond to an accident as well as the casualty. While stopping the bleeding must be the first priority in cases of trauma, having sterile gloves available can help to prevent the transmission of bloodborne diseases.

Surgical Tape

Surgical tape is used to secure bandages or dressings to the skin. This is beneficial both to keep them in place and to free up your hands, especially if there are multiple wounds.

Trauma Shears

Trauma shears are important as time is of the essence in an emergency situation. Trauma shears allow the emergency responder to remove any clothing that is covering the wound and access the site of the injury quickly, cleanly, and safely.

An Emergency Blanket

Keeping a patient with significant blood loss warm is a very important step toward preventing shock. A light blanket can also double as a sling if you need one and your first aid kit isn’t fully stocked.

The Importance of First Aid and Bleeding Control Training for Staff on Gun Ranges

Around 1% of fatalities caused by firearms in the USA in 2021 were accidental; though this may seem insignificant, this accounts for around 500 deaths per year, highlighting the importance of having an emergency trauma kit on hand in places where accidents can potentially happen.

Having well-stocked trauma kits in a visible and easily accessible place is a great first step. However, knowing how to use this medical equipment under pressure can mean the difference between life and death.

For that reason, providing shooting range staff with regular and up-to-date first aid and Stop the Bleed® training with bleeding control training products is a top priority. Gun enthusiasts can also benefit greatly from bleeding control training delivered by experienced medical and firearm professionals because accidents can and do occur.

Trauma Kits and Regular Training Are Essentials for Every Shooting Range

The importance of having quick access to life-saving bleeding control supplies in spaces like shooting ranges shouldn't be underestimated. When there is a significant risk of trauma that results in severe blood loss, a trauma kit or even a micro trauma kit packed with bleeding control items is the best option for ensuring you have all the necessary equipment to stop severe bleeding before the emergency services arrive.

In addition to having the right equipment, training staff to use first aid and bleeding control equipment is also crucial in giving people the best chance of survival. There is nothing more important than life; that's why it’s essential to equip your facility and your team with the tools and skills they need to deal with bleeding emergencies quickly and effectively.

Brian Graddon
Article written by

Brian Graddon

Brian is a former Firefighter Paramedic who also worked as a SWAT Medic, Engineer, and Captain over a 15-year career. Brian is devoted to providing life-saving information based on his first hand experience in life-saving application of tourniquets, hemostatic gauze, chest seals and other bleeding control products.

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