MEDICAL CARE: Introduction

EMC-cross-smallPlease read the “principle” first <click here>    

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.

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. 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.So, back to first aid (a.k.a. Emergency 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 AT ALL!

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 this care methodology 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:

  • Scene Safety
  • Airway & Breathing
  • Bleeding
  • Cover Wounds
  • Treat for Shock


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 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 aid. Training and experience will help you deal with these decisions from a point of expertise vs. “winging it.”

This series of post will take you from this introduction post all the way through emergency medical care kit building.  I will not only outline each kit’s content in detail but why each item is in the kit.  In my next post I will cover what “layering” is, what exactly is the “mission” of emergency medical care, requirements & restrictions, and carrying methods.


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