What are we trying to accomplish when we are talking about being prepared to provide medical aid in relation to emergencies, disasters, and grid-down?
Simple, we want to be able to prevent death or disability from an injury or sickness till a higher level of medical care can be provided.
This particular category has two distinct parts; 1) injury, 2) sickness. They are for the most part very different from each other, with some overlap.
Realistically, you are more likely to die from sickness than injury during emergencies, disasters, and grid-down. Although a bullet properly placed is pretty quick and generally terminal for the most part. But, you are more likely to die from the germs on your hands, as a result from going to the bathroom, than you are from some .50cal round taking your head off.
There has been considerable debate on exactly where medical care or first aid is on an emergency preparedness priority list. There is a case to be made that it is the #1 priority…and understandably so. At any point during an emergency situation a person could become injured and without immediate first aid a person could become incapacitated or die from their injuries. For instance, if you have an arterial bleed you would probably bleed out in 2 – 5 minutes. Another example would be breathing has stopped. In that case the brain is probably dead in about 4 – 7 minutes.
But, it doesn’t have to be confusing…review it in terms of “fatality factor” that I went over in the introduction article in this series.
Personally, I believe that emergency medical care is Priority #2. I believe that personal defense capability is Priority #1. If you can’t defend yourself you can become injured or dead rather quickly…within seconds. But that is another conversation entirely. Whatever your personal belief, Emergency Medical Care is a high priority when it comes to being prepared for an emergency or disaster…and especially grid-down.
So, back to first aid (Medical Care)…
There are multiple levels of first aid. In my opinion there are five levels. We will be primarily interested in the first four levels; the fifth level is hospital level care. Since most people don’t carry around a hospital with them when they are in an emergency or disaster situation we will not address that level here. What is of paramount importance across all levels of first aid is skill capability. And skill capability is based on training and experience. While I will be outlining kits for each level of first aid care, it is up to you to acquire the appropriate level of skills. But remember one important thing – ANY FIRST AID IS BETTER THAN NO FIRST AID!
There are several schools of thought when it comes to what is the correct treatment order when rendering First Aid. The first school of thought is the traditional and effective ABC method. With this methodology you are concerned with a person’s Airway first, then their Breathing and finally their Circulation.
But notice that earlier I mentioned that a person can die faster from bleeding than they can die from their breathing having stopped. So the applicability of this care methodology (ABC) could be debated. The other option is to stop major bleeding (i.e. arterial bleeding) first and then go to the ABC methodology. The choice will have to be yours and dependent on the severity of the bleeding and of course your skill level.
One of the latest methodologies to providing emergency first aid is one that I subscribe to:
If you were in a dangerous situation your first consideration is to remove the person, and yourself, from that danger before rendering medical aid. If you fail to do that you might both be in serious danger and both end-up seriously injured or dead. But that goes back to maintaining your Situational Awareness and making decisions based on a specific situation.
Emergency medical aid might be very simple to provide, or you may have multiple decisions to make prior to rendering any aid (triage). Training and experience will help you deal with these decisions from a point of expertise vs. “winging it.”
It is also important to understand that it is all about the ability to render increasingly complex injury care to larger numbers of people. In other words, progressively increasing your skills and contents of your medical aid kits from a single individual’s immediate medical first aid need all the way to a fairly decent sized family or group all of whom need medical aid.
The best way to explain what I am talking about is with a picture…
These medical aid kits under the “injury” section provide the ability to meet an increasing level of medical first aid care to increasingly larger groups of people:
1) Each person has a Blow Out Kit (BOK) –
Mission – Kit provides sufficient appropriate medical supplies to accomplish the following:
• To return the person to activity without additional immediate medical care, or,
• To provide sufficient care that allows them to self-mobilize to more advanced medical treatment, or,
• To prevent death by bleeding.
Requirements & Restrictions:
• Kit is carried by each person in a readily accessible external location. Perferably each person carries it in the same spot on their person.
• You use your kit for yourself, not for someone else.
• Kit must be as lightweight as possible but still able to accomplish the mission.
2) Each person has an Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) –
To learn more about the IFAK < click here >
3) Each family has a Team/Family Basic Aid Kit (TBAK) –
To learn more about the TBAK < click here >
4) Each family should have a Squad/Group Trauma Aid Kit (STAK) –
To learn more about the STAK < click here >
5) Each family should have a Field Trauma Care Kit (FTCK) –
To learn more about the FTCK < click here >
In priority order I propose the following –
- You get some first aid training, even if it is on-line from YouTube, better yet…the Red Cross.
- Have each family member get some training, even if it is on-line from YouTube, better yet…the Red Cross.
- Make sure your family has a Home/Family First Aid Kit.
- If you have done all of that…then work down the list; BOK, IFAK, TBAK, STAK, MCAK, FTCK.
Please don’t underestimate the need to provide medical care during times of emergencies, disasters, and grid-down. The more you and your family members know and the more medical gear you have on hand…the more likely everyone will be able to stay alive.
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