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“SWAT unit, we have an officer down. Victory west of Laurel Canyon. He needs help, code three. He is passing out—the officer needs help immediately.”

On one fateful February morning in 1997, two armed men exited a Bank of America branch in North Hollywood, California, and engaged in a shootout with LAPD officers.

“Any unit available to respond to 9L89, he’s losing consciousness. Officer has been hit.”

Ten officers and six citizens were wounded that morning. Although injured and pinned down, Detective Tracey Angeles applied a tourniquet on a fellow officer who had been shot. Nearby, an armored car driver applied a tourniquet to a citizen with a gunshot wound. Withering gunfire prevented medical personnel from reaching them.

“There’s definitely another device! I need officers! There’s definitely another device!”

An explosion ripped through the crowd near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April of 2013. A second explosion followed moments later. More than 250 were killed or injured. Officers on scene had to deal with a massive number of injured people, including those with amputations and massive blood loss.

From the Bank of America shootout to the Boston terrorist attack, police officers have been using tourniquets and other lightweight trauma gear to save lives. While these events are extraordinary, even normal patrol calls can require trauma gear. In December 2014, a Hickory, North Carolina, man’s life was saved after his femoral artery was cut because the responding officer carried a tourniquet in an Eleven 10 Rigid TQ case on his duty belt.

It is imperative that police officers carry an individual first-aid kit, or IFAK, on patrol with them. A basic IFAK will have the tools needed to temporarily treat trauma from gunshot wounds, stabbings and other injuries until EMS can arrive. Depending on your need, an IFAK can contain a tourniquet, a hemostatic agent like QuikClot, an Israeli bandage, folded or rolled gauze and chest seals. At the very least, officers should carry a commercial tourniquet on their body at all times. Here are some medical tools and carry options you should consider. These might save your life some day.

For more information on the first-aid kits in the gallery above, please visit the following websites:

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