Prevail EMT Kit Pouch, by Pat Cascio

Back in another life, I worked as a Paramedic. This involved a number of different positions. As part of my training, I worked in a big city Emergency Room. I also worked for a doctor for a year, as his assistant. This was long before there was anything like a Physician’s Assistant (PA). I got a great education while working for the doctor – I assisted him in just about everything he did – including minor outpatient surgery, delivering babies, and everything you can possibly think of that took place in a medical practice. I also owned my own clinic for a year. Most of what we did were enlistment physicals for the Illinois National Guard. I also worked on an ambulance crew – caring for patients who had gunshot wounds, heart attacks, and more things I can count.

Back in the good ol’ days, we carried a pair of bandage scissors and a small pen light. We had a small pocket on our dark blue trousers for the scissors, and the penlight was carried in our shirt pocket. We had other medical instruments in the various supply boxes, as well.

Today we’re looking at the Prevail EMT pouch, with various medical instruments, to include, the pouch itself, a pair of scissors for cutting off clothing – something I did quite often. A pair of bandage scissors, a hemostat, a pair of tweezers for removing splinters, another pair of tweezers for other uses, and a penlight that you’ll use quite often. All of the instruments and the light are nestled in this nice black ballistic nylon pouch that you wear on your belt. This pouch has two loops, so it can be worn either high or low on the belt, depending on your preference.

The scissors used for cutting off clothing — commonly called EMT Shears — are black in color. However all instruments are stainless steel, and made in Pakistan – and I’ll say this, they are all very well-made medical instruments. Pakistani-made stainless steel instruments have become ubiquitous in use worldwide, in surgical operatories. These shears really come in handy. You’re be surprised how often you need to remove clothing – to get to a wound, and you didn’t want to strip the person and waste time or embarrass them more by removing all of their clothing. So, you would cut off the clothing you needed to, in order to treat the person. I already had one pair of similar scissors. However, they are stowed in my big medic bag that rarely gets used. I actually have three medic bags, with the biggest containing a small ER supply. Next down in size is my standardized Combat Medic bag that would be carried afield, and my smallest medic bag would be used for a small patrol unit — and presently for home emergencies.

The smaller bandage scissors really come in handy when applying or removing any bandages, they are blunt-tipped and designed to only cut through a bandage or cut off excess bandage material. Back in the day, we used these scissors for cutting off clothing of an injured person as well. However, they didn’t work all that well for that task, but better than using a pocket knife. The handles of the scissors are canted upward so you don’t have to twist and contort yourself to get to the bandage material.

The hemostat, this is for clamping a seriously bleeding situation you might encounter. I never had to use them when working on an ambulance or an ER because we managed to stop the bleeding by other means. A Hemostat can damage an artery or vein if not properly applied, and you don’t want to cause any more harm to your patient than possible. Still, this is a great medical tool to have on-hand. A hemostat also has many other uses for clamping things– just ask a fly fisherman.

Two sets of tweezers came with this set of instruments, one is designed for removing splinters and the other for other things, like perhaps removing something embedding in a wound. When it comes to removing splinters, this little pair of tweezers works great. They give you just the right amount of “bite” to get something removed.

As an aside, I keep some sterile-packaged IV hypodermic needles handy, in the event that something is embedded under the skin. If you ever look at the point of a needle, you will see it is very jagged – you don’t feel it when using an IV set, however, those jagged portions work fantastic when it comes to digging slightly under the skin, and it really grabs whatever foreign object it is you need to remove and pulls it out. Of course, we sterilize the needle first. Some procedures are only to be used under emergency conditions – keep that in mind.

A Disappointing Penlight

As I anticipated, the penlight that came with this pouch wasn’t reliable. Most little pen lights are like this – just junk, it only worked when it wanted to, so this part of the kit will be replaced. In case you haven’t shopped around lately, in the flashlight department, you’ll be surprised. We checked several stores, in the areas where you’d expect to find plenty of flashlights and spare bulbs for flashlights. We found flashlights, but not in any great quantities. As for spare bulbs, none were to be found in several stores – just a space where they used to be. I have an old “police” flashlight that I’ve had for at least 30 years, and the bulb burned out, and the spare I had – broke. I’m not about to trash this flashlight, so I’ll keep looking for a couple spare bulbs. Just goes to show you, how bad this shortage is these days. Never thought I couldn’t find any flashlight bulbs.

Speaking from past experiences (and current) I don’t ever recall seeing a doctor carrying any type of medical instruments, not even in an ER. Some nurses can be seen with a pair of bandage scissors in a pocket, and of course, the doctor will have his stethoscope – plus a pen light. I’ve seen a number of ambulance workers with EMT shears in their side pocket on their trousers, and a penlight in their shirt pocket. However, as to many of these medical instruments I’ve mentioned in this article – no one has most of these things, and I think it is important to have them all readily available if you are handling medical emergencies.

A War Story

A short, but true story: When our youngest daughter was in the US Army and trained as a Combat Medic – very proud of her – when they went afield with a unit, they were forced to carry their medical supplies in cardboard boxes. Can you picture this under combat conditions? Sad! We got a Blackhawk Products medic bag, and several of her fellow Combat Medics purchased these same medic bags out of their own pockets. Before our daughter was deployed (years ago) to Kuwait, the entire unit she was assigned to – a Patriot Missile Battery – were issued all new gear. Everything was brand new. and must have cost the U.S. taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. She was told to either trash their medical gear or do “whatever” with it as they pleased. She brought a lot of it home before she deployed – I even have a collapsible military stretcher as part of my medical supplies.

Now, here’s a sad part of this story is that when they left Kuwait after their year-long deployment, they were told to leave all their gear behind. Nice way to spend our tax money, isn’t it? Not nearly as bad as the recent Afghanistan pullout – where we left the Taliban $92 billion worth of mostly new gear, including weapons and ammo, body armor, Night vision gear, and US uniforms that they proudly wear all over Afghanistan – they look just like our own Special Forces with their beards and sunglasses.

If you’re in the medical field, especially if you work on an ambulance, you would do yourself a favor, by getting one of these Prevail EMT pouches with the instruments in it. Check out Major Surplus – these are presently selling for just $17.95 and it’s a great investment in your preparedness. Consider that just the EMT Shears by themselves sell for $9 to $11 per pair, elsewhere. Oh, and I noticed at their website that the Prevail EMT kits are shown coming with a different brand of penlight, now silver in color  Hopefully, they are better quality than the one that came with my kit.

JWR Adds: I recently bought four of these Prevail EMT kits. Three of them went with our various medic bags and kits. The fourth one is going in my workshop, for utility use, since hemostats and tweezers are so multi-purpose, and because EMT shears are so incredibly strong. I once saw a demonstration where one was used to cut a penny in half! When I ordered mine from Major Surplus, all four kits were shipped in one FedEx box ($15.95) and they arrived in just three days. Note that Major Surplus is not a SurvivalBlog advertiser. Like Pat, I’m just a long-time satisfied customer.

I have purchased other medical gear from Major Surplus over the years. Just recently, I got a deal on Czech military compression bandages. Still brand-new, wrapped in plastic against the elements – if you purchased 20 of these, they were only $19.99 – super deal. Certain items are assigned an expiration date – while these products are still brand-new. So the militaries of the world dispose of them, and replenish their supplies with new ones. I don’t mind military surplus in many circumstances. And, a good supply of compression bandages doesn’t hurt to have around – especially the way the world is headed these days.

Some Medical Self-Sufficiency

My goal is to barter first aid services, if and when the SHTF, for other things that we might need ourselves. No matter how prepared you might be, when the time comes, you’ll find gaps in your Preps. I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on television, but under adverse conditions, I might be the only trained medical professional around to help people. So, having a good medical inventory isn’t a bad idea at all. The one thing lacking in my medical preps is an Obstetrics (OB) kit. I’m still looking for some affordable ones to have around. Delivering a baby usually is complicated with plenty of fluids that need to be contained and cleaned up, so its nice to have an OB kit to make it easier. My mind is always running – 24/7 – I rarely sleep more than a few hours per night, because I can’t shut my mind down. Always running and telling me I need “this” or “that” for our Preps.

Check out the Major Surplus website, lots of great stuff I’m betting that you’ll want to get, especially this EMT pouch.