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Ask Buck

What are the pros and cons of SAM splints and QuikClot bandages?

I'm a Wilderness First Responder student with a SAR K9 team, and would like to know your experience with them.

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Question:

Have you used SAM Splints or Quick Clot bandages? Do you know of any advantages or disadvantages? I’m a WFR student with a SAR K9 team.

Submitted by – Dan, Bloomington, IN

Answer:

I have used SAM Splints many, many times. And an info disc from the manufacturer taught me myriad uses I probably would not have considered otherwise. I like them a lot. On the downside, they are somewhat bulky and heavy as part of a standard backpacker’s first-aid kit. Additionally, when the patient will be in a SAM for an extended period of time, I always add more padding. For step-by-step splinting instructions, see The Ultimate First-Aid Manual. You can also improvise a splint with tent poles, trekking poles, sticks, your sleeping pad, a stove screen, and so forth.

As for QuikClot, yes, I’ve used that, too, but not much. It works fine, but in a wilderness situation, I’ve never seen bleeding that I couldn’t stop with direct pressure and without QuikClot. Plus, if blood is pouring out of a wound, you have to hold the QuikClot in place, and that pretty much means direct pressure anyway. Not to mention that it’s danged expensive. —Buck