Blowout kit light stick

The only real feedback I have heard so far about the new blowout kit essay is regarding sizing the NPA and OPA. I will get some pictures up showing how to size them appropriately tonight, if I don’t have to fight with the light too much.

Here is an addendum showing how (and why) I stuck that light stick in that Ziploc bag. I hope you enjoy it.

In the blowout kit essay, the photos demonstrate some of the contents of the kit in a Ziploc freezer bag. This is so that one can grab the bag and have enough of the contents all at once to treat a wound without having to fumble for the smaller items. The text notes, and one picture shows, a blue cyalume light stick adhered to the bottom of the bag. This work will explain how to do it, and attempt to explain the rationale.

Firearms trainers will tell one that a majority of shootings happen at night. Tracking down credible statistics is difficult. On the other hand, half of all time is night. Regardless of the probability, the possibility is there that one will become hurt, possibly grievously so, at night. Car accidents and assaults often occur at night. We should be able then to treat a wound in the dark. It might not be smart to attempt this with a handheld tactical light. First, they are far too bright to use without ruining the night vision of all involved parties. Second, they make using two hands to treat yourself (or to treat your buddy with his blowout kit) difficult. A headlamp is a viable option, but I am including a light stick for two reasons. First, you can use the light to find your other light (headlamp or small LED with blue filters). One can use it to see immediately all of the contents of the bag. Grab it. Break it. Shake it. The contents of the bag are visible. Again, blue is the preferred color because it does not wash out blood the way a red stick, for example, would. Creating a shade for the stick puts the light where it is most effective, on the contents of the bag. It is conceivable that one could be treating that same buddy in a hostile environment. As such, the light needs to go in one direction. Light discipline is something one should always consider before the fact.

Start with an unwrapped blue cyalume light stick. The directions on the package instruct the user not to open the pouch until just before use. Research reveals two points to their rationale. First, the pouch has a positive pressure. The gas inside the package protects the ampule inside the stick from breaking accidentally (this ampule contains the active ingredient that starts the chemical reaction that generates the light). Second, the ingredients do not react favorably to sunlight. Exposure to the sun diminishes the effectiveness of the light stick. Replacing the stick at least annually should mitigate this.

Tear off a narrow strip of aluminum foil (figure one). This will be the reflector. Aerosol 3M Super 77 is the adhesive used throughout this project (figure two). One can use it to create temporary or permanent bonds. Since this project has one of each, it was a perfect choice. Spray the shiny side of the aluminum foil and wait a few minutes for it to become tacky. Then place the light stick on the foil along its midline, with the loop facing down (figure three). Carefully smooth the piece of aluminum foil over one-half of the light stick (figure four).  Use a razor or utility knife to cut away the excess foil (figure five). Next, perform a similar procedure with a piece of gaffer’s or duct tape (gaffer’s being preferred). Carefully cover the aluminum foil and cut away the difference. Your light stick is finished (figure six). Finally spray some adhesive on the stick. Since you are only putting it on one surface, you will be able to remove it easily later. Push the light stick against the bottom of the bag, in line with the seam (figure seven).

light stick

(Figure one, the new stick and aluminum foil)

Super 77

(Figure two, 3M Super 77 adhesive)

foil stick

(Figure three, the light stick on the foil)

end view

(Figure four, carefully cover half of the light stick)

trimmed

(Figure five, trim away the excess foil)

taped

(Figure six, tape over the foil)

inside

(Figure seven, adhere the light stick to the bottom of the bag)

This process takes more time to describe than to perform. When finished, you will have an effective battery-free light in your blowout kit, where it will do the most good. The more preparations made before an emergency, the greater the odds of survival. When building a kit whose contents are strictly to treat serious bodily injury, a few moments of preparation are preferable to the alternative.

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4 Responses

  1. Interesting. I was thinking of attaching the light stick to the outside of an HSGI bleeder/blowout pouch to open up some space on the insde. I’ll have to rethink that. Could you use foil tape to save a few steps?

    • I think that keeping the contents inside a plastic bag, then inside the pouch is pretty innovative. I don’t know of too many others doing that. I know one training company in Phoenix that shrink wraps theirs. I am leery, because I don’t think I could open the contents with one hand. The stick, when opened, does not take much space at all inside the pouch.

      As for foil tape, is it shiny on the inside? The goal is to make a reflector that directs the light toward the client, and away from the care provider’s eyes.

      It’s been almost one year since I made this; and I will be revisiting the topic early in May, including evaluating the effectiveness of the light stick outside of its wrapper for one year.

  2. Yes, foil tape is shiny on the sticky side. It has been used by Porsche 944 owners to fix our worn reflectors for dash lighting.

  3. If it works, go for it. I happen to always have 3M spray adhesive and gaffer’s tape, pretty much always. I’m not writing to tell folks what to do, so much as to share with folks what has worked for me.

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