Re Factor Tactical Cloth Trauma Tape

As a first responder, part of the job is taking vitals and assessing the situation. In order to make the job easier, Re Factor Tactical makes a 2 inch wide cloth trauma tape printed with slots for writing in vital signs and notes.

The idea of writing vitals on cloth tape and sticking it to your patient is not a new one, but Re Factor Tactical has simplified the process somewhat by adding labels and spaces to organize your notes.

Contents

How to Use

Re Factor Tactical cloth trauma tape has a vitals form printed on it to provide users with a convenient way to take and remember vital signs during a time when there is a lot of chaos and you may be using both hands for something else.

The idea is that you can stick the tape to your leg while you take notes, then you pull it off and stick it to your patient. In a professional setting, this lets other caregivers down the line know the patient’s vitals and see if they are getting better or worse.

Using cloth tape to take notes is nothing new in the first responder world, but adding a fillable form can save some time and make sure you remember to take all the information you need.

The tape comes in two styles, standard and military:

Standard Version

Designed for civilian first responders like EMTs and Paramedics.

The standard tape has the following fillable entries:

  • Body Temp
  • Heart Rate
  • Respiration Rate
  • Blood Pressure
  • Pulse Oximetry
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Drugs
  • Notes

Although most of the essentials are there, body temperature is probably not necessary. Even though it is taken sometimes, it is not part of standard vitals. Instead I wish they would replace “Body Temp” with “Time”.

The time of vitals is very important if you are passing the patient off to another health care professional. There is a big difference between vitals taken 5 minutes ago vs 1 hour ago, and that difference will help other caregivers determine if the patient is improving or declining and how quickly.

Yes, you could always write the time in the Notes section, but needing to remember that defeats the purpose of having the list in the first place.

Military Version

Similar to the standard version, but it includes MIST classification form as well.

Militar version of the Re Factor

The military version includes the following sections:

  • Body Temp
  • Heart Rate
  • Respiration Rate
  • Blood Pressure
  • Pulse Oximetry
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Drugs
  • Mechanism of Injury
  • Injuries Sustained
  • Signs and Symptoms
  • Treatment Given

Again, there should be a slot for Time, but other than that it covers the main topics. The MIST report is a good idea for both military and civilian use.

MIST is an acronym that helps you organize and communicate important information efficiently and succinctly. It is great tool for communicating to dispatch, hospitals, or other medical personnel on the status of your patient.

Specifications

Different types of tapes are used throughout the medical field, and although you may not give it a second thought, specialized tapes are designed to meet the needs of almost any situation.

  1. Sticks well to dry skin, cloth, and smooth surfaces: Cloth trauma tape sticks well to most materials. On dry skin it sticks well enough to rip out some hair on removal.
  2. No residue: Cloth tapes use a medium strength adhesive and they don’t leave sticky, hard-to-remove residue like stronger tapes.
  3. Straight tear: It tears in a straight line both across and lengthwise making it easy to size for different applications.
  4. High strength: Out of all the tapes, cloth tape has the best tensile strength that I’ve seen. This makes it ideal for high-strength applications like securing SAM splints.
  5. Easy to tear: Unless the tape gets folded over on itself, it is surprisingly easy to tear compared to other cloth tapes. Even with gloves on, it is easy to work with.

Re Factor Tactical Cloth trauma tape is not for every application.

  1. Stiff: It does not stretch or give at all. While this is a good thing where high strength is needed, it can also be a bad thing for applications on joints or irregular areas.
  2. Expensive: Considering the only major benefit over standard cloth tape is the vitals form, Re Factor Tactical’s cloth trauma tape is quite a bit more expensive than 3M’s 2 inch Durable Cloth tape.
  3. Soaks up water: Cloth tape is permeable to air and soaks up water. This is a good thing for long term wound care since oxygenation of the wound bed is beneficial to the healing process, but for emergency use it just means that any moisture soaks into the cloth and messes up the adhesive.

Helpful facts:

  • Width: 2 inches (5cm) x 10yd (9.1m) rolls
  • Not stretchy
  • Standard Tape: 60 forms per roll
  • Military Tape: 40 forms per roll
  • Can be written on in pen, pencil, and marker

Uses:

  • High-strength applications
  • Splinting fractures
  • Recording vital signs and patient information

Not Great For:

  • Bleeding wounds
  • Sweaty skin/underwater
  • Joints/flexible areas of the body
  • Covering chafing/blisters

The Bottom Line

The only benefit offered by Re Factor Tactical’s cloth trauma tape is the fillable form. If you like the form and it will help you, this is a good medical tape. If you do not need the form, 3M’s Nexcare Durable cloth tape is the same quality at a more affordable price.

One issue I had with the form is that "Time of Vitals" should be added as one of the fillable slots.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Sticks readily to cloth and dry skin
  • Made of very sturdy material
  • Vitals form lets other caretakers know patient’s condition

Cons:

  • Comes off when wet
  • Does not do well on joints/flex points
  • More expensive than standard 2 inch cloth tape
  • Vitals form should replace “Body Temp” with “Time”

Tips

  1. Wrap the tape all the way around your patient. It will hold better and be more resistant to water, sweat, and blood.

Additional Information

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