Posted : Monday Jun 14, 2010
The Marine Corps is following the Army’s example by including two new items in the individual first aid kit carried by every Marine downrange: A CAT II tourniquet and a blood-clotting bandage.
“In the battlefield where we are with the Army constantly and we’re also with NATO, it helps us be able to use one standard piece of gear everyone’s comfortable with, everyone’s familiar with,” said Navy Lt. Kathleen Dagher, health services requirements and capabilities officer for the Marine Corps.
The CAT II — combat application tourniquet — is a one-handed tourniquet that uses the cylindrical crank handle that provides pressure and locks into place. It replaces the TK-4 tourniquet, an elastic latex band with a steel S hook at each end. Each tourniquet is equally effective, Dagher said, but Marines showed a preference for the CAT II and started buying it on their own.
New gauze is also part of the updated package. The IFAK now has QuickClot Combat Gauze instead of the powder which sometimes burns surrounding skin and can make the removal of dead, damaged or infected tissue difficult.
Combat Gauze comes in a small package that contains four yards of 3-inch flexible, roll-up gauze infused with kaolin, an inorganic mineral that triggers blood clotting. The gauze is easier to pack into different types of wounds.
To help Marines adapt to the new items, the first aid field manual, Marine Corps Reference Publication 3-02G, has been updated with new training and usage guidelines. It will be distributed to units through the S-1 shop.
But despite the additions, the other items in the IFAK — water purification, iodine tablets, antibiotic ointment, adhesive strips, triangular bandages, gauze rolls, duct tape and pressure bandages — will remain unchanged for now.