Prep Wednesday: All Bleeding Stops – Spiritual and Physical “Blow Out Kits”

church field hospitalThe analogy of the Church Militant as a spiritual field hospital is pretty good, provided that we remember that in field hospitals lots of people don’t make it.

We are like pilgrim soldiers in the Church Militant, on the march to our objective of salvation in the patria.  We are beset by enemies even from even within (the world, the flesh and the Devil).  The Church herself is beset by enemies even from within!  So, the march is hard.  We cannot take the smooth and easy roads, where ambushes await us in even greater numbers and severity.  Ours is the harrowing steep, narrow path.  Even there the Enemy is crafty and seemingly numberless.  We are going to take wounds along the way.  Some of them – those of our own doing – will be serious.

The adage “all bleeding stops” applies to the spiritual life too: one of these days, people, you are going to run out of time.  You are going to die and go before the Just Judge.  Some people are going to run out of time and bleed out rather than to field hospital.

Nevertheless the Church does her best to help save those who come in.


In considering what it means to be the one to stop the spiritual bleeding of the soul who is gravely wounded by sin that would otherwise leave them “dead” before the Judge for the afterlife, I also sometimes think that it would be good to have some skills in stopping physical bleeding as well.  I’ve contemplated taking some EMT courses for this reason.  I’d like to be able to stop your bleeding, if necessary.

I’ll give you absolution first, however.  That’s the best first aid I can give.

We don’t know what the future looks like.  Right now, things are pretty cushy.  I doubt I am the only one who discerns dark clouds on the horizon.

I mentioned that I was trying to put together a little emergency triage “stop the bleeding” pack that would be easy to carry in a belt pouch or cargo pocket.  To that end I added some items to my wishlist (thanks to readers who helped out with that).  I think it would be good for people to have, for example in their car, a basic (or more than basic) first aid bag with elements that might address even serious bleeding.  For those of you who think along the same lines, I found an article that is useful at The Shooters Log, which I now share.  It addresses mainly the scenario of an accidental gunshot wound at the shooting range, but it is applicable to all sorts of situations. It makes suggestions for your own “Blow Out Kit”.

Think of patching a blown out tire… then consider that you can get punctured too.



However, there’s more to medical safety on the range than just having a first aid kit stuffed somewhere in your gear. The following four basic guidelines can assist you or your shooting club’s safety committee in assembling an effective, consistent plan for handling life-threatening emergencies.

Get Some Blowout Kits

blowout first aid kit

A blowout kit contains the essential first aid supplies to treat moderate to severe puncture and hemorrhage wounds in one easy-to-stow package. At a bare minimum, your blowout kits should include:

A well-equipped kit will normally contain other ancillary items, but that discussion is beyond the scope of this article, as is the usage of such. The primary takeaway from this point is that a properly assembled blowout kit doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Your main objective, in the case of a gunshot wound, is brutally simple: Stop the bleeding and plug the hole until paramedics can arrive.

Consider this, a life -preserving kit can cost less than a box of ammunition, and uses about the same amount of space. There’s no reason not to be prepared to save your own life or the life of those around you should the worst happen. And there’s no real excuse for not having two, three or more kits present at your gun club’s action shooting matches. [Or in your home… car… place of work…]

It’s not enough to just own a blowout kit or tourniquet, though. You’ve got to have the know-how to use these tools, which leads directly into our next point.


The piece goes on with the headings…

  • Seek Training
  • Have a Plan
  • Practice, and Keep Your Gear Fresh

I am wondering aloud now, but …

…wouldn’t it be interesting were, at a parish, some guys and gals could network with some EMTs and medical docs and nurses for regular training sessions?

Picture if you will…

It’s the 3rd Sunday evening of the month.  At the parish, Confessions, Vespers and Benediction are followed by lessons in how to treat serious lacerations, puncture or gunshot wounds, choking, packing a wound, using a tourniquet properly, suturing, etc.

Body and soul, folks.  We have both.

Picture for a moment a loved one – or a stranger – bleeding out in front of your eyes and, with some preparation and practice, you might have been able to do something about it until help came… if there’s help coming.

What would be the spiritual equivalent of a Blow Out Kit?

Perhaps a good booklet or pamphlet with an Examination of Conscience?

So too should we picture the souls of our loved ones – or strangers – bleeding out because of mortal sins.  Should we pray for them and perhaps help them to the sacraments?  There are an awful lot of our brothers and sisters out there who are bleeding… right… now.

Let’s stop the bleeding before the bleeding stops us.


No sooner do I post this, but there flashes across my screen this horrible NEWS:

Gunman who opened fire at Tennessee movie theater killed by police

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in GO TO CONFESSION, Semper Paratus, TEOTWAWKI, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Nat says:

    Sounds like an idea that St. Camillus would have suggested.

  2. Sconnius says:

    Tape. Always have tape. Athletic tape works the best with gauze, and if you can get the ‘pre-wrap’ (often red, but I’ve seen brown and blue) that goes with it, you’re golden.

  3. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I know it’s a bit of a grossout for guys; but remember that tampons were invented to plug gunshot wounds; and they’re super-absorbent.

  4. APX says:

    The Red Cross offers a first responders first aid training course. The only prerequisite is CPR C. I don’t think they cover suturing, though. It doesn’t seem too difficult, though. My brother redid his after the surgeon did a shoddy job and didn’t close the incision completely.

  5. rcg says:

    EXCELLENT suggestion! I also recommend that the kits be marked for age and to had the “blow out party” once a year, at least. Perhaps in conjunction with school getting out, or starting. My family have a lot of ‘adventure’ gatherings where we kayak, canoe, shoot, ride horses, hike, etc. most are medical professionals and some are associated with emergency response. We get the latest info but in a fun way. So make friends with a doctor, EMT, and a priest and invite them along for camping. Get them talking about emergency stuff and pay attention. Frankly, you can’t shut them up!

  6. JuliB says:

    I took a CPR/AED class (American Heart Association) 3 weeks ago to get a $50 wellness program credit for my health insurance at work. It only cost $37, so I made money. I’m certified for 2 years.

    But I felt so empowered by it that I became certified in First Aid by taking a class given by the American Heart Association for $40. It took only an afternoon, and they had a separate class for CPR/AED in the morning.

    I highly recommend it. The first class was held by the Fire Dept., the second class was held at a hospital. Last week, I bought 6 keychains that have a single use plastic mouth barrier folded up in a little compartment.

    Years ago, very few people would survive cardiac arrest, but with CPR trained people around, more survive. The first 5 minutes are crucial, and most first responders are not there in 5 minutes. I may not be able to absolve someone of their sins, but I might be able to postpone Judgment for awhile.

    I’m going to talk to my pastor about getting an AED in each parish church.

  7. JSII says:

    Fr. Z as a FF/Paramedic I can be at your service.
    1Bn. C0.10

  8. oldconvert says:

    In the UK both the Red Cross and the St John Ambulance associations offer classes in basic First Aid, covering haemorrhage, fractures, cardiac and respiratory arrest. There are also the First Respo?ders, who are members of the public trained in First Aid, and who agree to be on call from home or place of work, in case the paramedics can’t get there quickly enough. Which can be the case in rural areas and in traffic-clogged cities. Google on these organizations to get details of how to sign up for training, and remember – you need to keep these resus skills updated if you don’t use them regularly!

  9. Wiktor says:

    Remember to have SCISSORS in your kit!

  10. The Masked Chicken says:

    “What would be the spiritual equivalent of a Blow Out Kit?”

    A spiritual tourniquet, eh? Well, perhaps that depends on from where you are bleeding and from what sources.

    Sinning from the mouth – silence
    Sinning from lust – custody of the eyes and fasting
    Sinning from envy – gratitude,


    The best blow-out kit I know of is from St. John of the Cross. He wrote, The Precautions and Counsels that contain excellent advice on how to stop spiritual hemorrhages:

    The Chicken

  11. Shannon says:

    Our family keeps the Israeli trauma bandages in our gun bag too. We also keep paracord rosaries from in our emergency kits.

  12. bookworm says:

    Years ago I wrote a story for our diocesan newspaper on a parish pastor in a small rural Illinois town who joined his community’s volunteer fire/ambulance department, not as a chaplain but as a fully trained responder. One reason he did so, he told me, was because the department had a very hard time finding able-bodied men who could be on call during the day (since most had jobs out of town). He always traveled with a small sick call kit and he had, on several occasions, been able to administer Anointing to elderly/sick parishioners during ambulance calls.

    It just so happens that in my current job, I have discovered there is a rather serious crisis developing, particularly in rural/small town areas of IL, in this regard. All-volunteer fire and ambulance services are finding it harder and harder to keep up with equipment and certification requirements. In addition, some ambulance services are having a VERY hard time finding and keeping paramedics, because those who go through paramedic training often find that they can complete an RN degree with relatively little additional study, and then can get much better paying jobs at hospitals. Or they can become licensed as “pre-hospital” nurses. The bottom line is that response times may become longer in the future — making this kind of advance preparedness on the part of the “lay person” more important.

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