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First Aid: More than Meets the Eye

The Army is now issuing to soldiers the more robust, more streamlined “Individual First Aid Kit II” as replacement for the older kit, which was built inside an ammunition pouch for a Squad Automatic Weapon. (C. Todd Lopez)


By C. Todd Lopez, Army Staff Writer, in coordination with DoD Vision Center of Excellence

This article appeared in the Q1 2014 issue of Combat & Casualty Care magazine.

The Individual First Aid Kit II (IFAK II) contains all the supplies of the old kit, with the addition of a second tourniquet, a tactical combat casualty card to annotate what kind of first aid was applied to a wounded soldier, a marker, an eye shield, a rubber seal with a valve for sucking chest wounds, and a strap cutter. The kit fits inside a custom pouch that can be mounted out-of-the-way on the back of a soldier’s Improved Outer Tactical Vest.

“That’s typically low-rent real estate there,” said Major Peter Stambersky, assistant product manager of soldier clothing and individual equipment at Program Executive Office Soldier, Fort Belvoir, VA. “Guys don’t use it too much.”

Pouch Parceled 

The pouch has “US IFAK” printed on its rear, so soldiers may easily identify its contents, Stambersky said. The individual tourniquet pouches also contain customizable removable tabs that allow soldiers to hand write their blood type or unit on the kit.While the new first aid kit can be mounted on a soldier’s back, it is designed to be easily accessible when needed for both right-handed and lefthanded soldiers.