From Currahee at everycitizenasoldier

Pressure dressings, also known as battle dressings or trauma dressings are a piece of first aid gear that include an absorbent material and the means to fix it over a wound. This means some gauze and an elastic wrap. This idea has been around at least since WWI.

Essentially it is supposed to allow you to apply direct pressure to a wound in order to stop bleeding. In many cases the tourniquet has supplanted the pressure dressing as the go-to first aid response in any place it can be applied, but pressure dressings certainly have their place in first aid kits. There may be instances where a TQ can not be applied, or does not need to be applied.

The pressure dressing has evolved a lot in the last 20 years and in this article I want to list the three most common products on the civilian market in the US. I will list what I see as the major advantages of each design so that you might be able to purchase a few for your (hopefully non) use. These are all in the under $10 range so price point provides no input to choice. Bear in mind that I am not a medical professional and this only comes from my experience opening these and trying them out in a non-stressful environment.

IDF Dressing (Israeli Bandage)

This was a giant leap forward in battlefield wound care and in many ways is still the standard of battlefield dressings. It was developed in the 1990s by an Israeli combat medic. The big innovation was a larger absorbent pad and a bar that allows you to apply direct pressure to the site of the wound. Easlier bandages required you to tie a knot on top of the dressing in order to apply pressure. There is no need to tie because the end of the elastic includes a clip that prevents the wrap from unraveling. The internal plastic vacuum seal can be used to seal a chest wound. I will note that the success of the IDF Dressing creates a problem, many of the examples floating around are cheap copies.  It is available in multiple sizes, most common are 4 and 6 inch.

OLAES Modular Dressing (TacMedSolutions)

This bandage is an improvement on the IDF in that it can do a few more things. The absorbent material can be removed to be used to pack a wound, it also includes a small piece of plastic like material that can be used to seal a chest wound. Pressure is provided by a plastic cup that needs to be placed directly over the site of the wound. It is also rolled inwardly with small pieces of Velcro sewn in to the elastic to keep it from getting away from you. It also has a strip at the end of the elastic to keep you from having to tie a knot.  It is available in multiple sizes.  They also make a version impregnated with hemostatic (blood clotting) agents. This places it well outside of the price range and is a topic for another article.

North American Rescue ETD 

This is a flashback to simpler dressings with very little molecularity. However it has basic improvements over simpler dressings. These include; a larger absorbent pad, Velcro in the roll to prevent unraveling and the clip that eliminates the need for a knot. Also, the packaging (single vacuum seal wrap with no inner wrap) means that it can be deployed slightly faster. The ETD (Emergency Trauma Dressing) is available in multiple sizes, 4 inch, 6 inch and a 6 inch flat pack.  I especially like the flat pack, because it is especially flat and stores well in some places.  The ETD is nice in situations where you have other first aid gear handy (gauze to pack wounds and chest seals)


Pressure dressing have a large roll in front line trauma care. There are several good options and I do not have the experience to suggest one over the other, I will suggest you make a choice and work on a collection of them, for training and logistical purposes as well as for emergencies. When bullets are flying in anger you will need a lot of dressings. Don’t forget the other things that make a good trauma kit such as TQs, gloves, hemostatic gauze, chest seals and the like. And, the most important thing, TRAINING.

Be sure to check out the unwrapping and deployment of all these dressings on Rumble

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