It is an uncomfortable truth, just like “Cops get stabbed” and “Cops get cut.” But, the good news is there are better field treatments available to increase your odds of surviving a catastrophic injury. Many of these treatments don’t require the presence of a paramedic, rather you can do them yourself.
QuikClot Combat Gauze is one of those things that can mean the difference between life and death in the field. Combat Gauze is a roll of medical gauze (3″ x 4 yards) impregnated with a hemostatic agent to stop bleeding. The gauze is particularly useful for significant wounds to areas not treatable by a tourniquet.
QuikClot claims the Combat Gauze is able to stop arterial and venous bleeding in seconds, yet does not give off heat when working like other types of hemostatic agents. The US Army and US Navy have both tested the Combat Gauze and have found it to be very effective in stopping bleeding.
The Combat Gauze should be in your jump kit/go bag/active shooter bag. It is small and lightweight, so there is no valid reason to to have some with you. The Combat Gauze is so lightweight and compact, that you should have a roll of it in your cargo pocket if your department’s uniforms have them.
There are different forms of QuikClot gauze, and all of them use the same principles. However, I recommend the Combat Gauze that is sold in the OD green packaging for two reasons. First, it is Z-folded so it will not “roll away” when you are trying to apply it.
The second reason is the gauze has a thin strip inside of it that will show up on x-rays. So, if the worst happens and you pack your wound with this stuff, x-rays of the injury area will clearly show if the surgeons missed anything when they were working on you.
In the infamous Bank of America shootout in California a few years ago, one of the LAPD officers had been shot and would have likely bled to death if he hadn’t been able to get his belt off and apply a tourniquet. Had the would been in a slightly different location, or if he had not been able to get his belt off, that officer would have bled out, as responding units were not able to rescue him.
If that same officer had the QuikClot Combat Gauze, he may have been able to apply it and stop the bleeding if he had not been able to get his belt off.
Check out the ITS Tactical article on the Combat Gauze. ITS has a video showing the gauze in action. If you are squeamish about seeing real trauma wounds, you may want to skip the video.