Layering & 7 Common Risks/Threats: Part #3 – Injury or Sickness

Threat/Risk of Injury or Sickness: Medical Aid… protection against injury & sickness –

In the previous article in this series I introduced the concept of “layers” in relation to emergency preparedness. I explained how you can address risks/threats associated with emergencies, disasters, and grid-down by layering your preps to mitigate each specific threat/risk. I also went into detail of defensive layers for defending yourself and your home. If you didn’t read the first article I would suggest that you do. It will make this post much easier to fully understand.

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. So, let’s apply the “layers” theory to this are of prepping.

Once again, you and your family are at the center of concentric circles representing layers of death and disability prevention. We start from the center and work outwards. We get as personal as possible and then go big.

However, this particular category has two distinct parts; 1) injury, 2) sickness. They are mostly very different from each other, with some overlap. Realistically, you are more likely to die from sickness than injury. Although a bullet is pretty terminal for the most part. But, you are more likely to die from the germs on your hands from going to the bathroom than you are from some .50cal MaDuce round taking off your head. So I will address each category separately and reminding you that there is overlap here.

First, injury – Each person has a Blow Out Kit (BOK). That is a  fancy name for a field dressing. No, not a Band-Aid, a dressing. The purpose of a BOK is to stop the bleeding of an injury. If you can’t stop the bleeding, you will bleed out and die. So the whole focus of a BOK is to stop bleeding. It doesn’t matter what started the bleeding, bullet or knife, it matters only that you stop the  bleeding. The BOK consists of a simple dressing which is easily carried on you somewhere; deep pockets of cargo pants is a great place. The dressing is lightweight, compact, and doesn’t interfere with any activity or function you are performing. But it can be life-saving.

Next comes the Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK).

Contents:
•    Dressing, First Aid, Camouflaged, 11 ¾” x  11 ¾”  Sterile : NSN# 6510-00-20107425 – Fraass Survival Systems
•    Dressing, First Aid, Camouflaged, 4” x 7”, Sterile : NSN# 6510-00-159-4883 – Elwyn Inc.
•    Dressing, Trauma Wound, 4”, Sterile, (a.k.a. Israeli Battle Dressing) : NSN# 6510-01-558-4108 – Performance Systems
•    Quick Clot Silver, Blood coagulant, 25 gram
•    35 x Ibuprofen (or other pain reliever)  [pouch side pocket]
•    3 x Celox Hemostatic Agent (optional) [pouch side pocket]
•    3 x Germ-X Hand Sanitizing Wipes (optional)  [pouch side pocket]

For me, as a prepper, I want something that can take care of many  of the more life threatening injuries that you might be exposed to as an individual. Basically though, you are still worried about stopping bleeding from injuries. You can’t really do much more than that in most field environments. The only other threat that you can honestly deal with is non-breathing. And to deal with that takes a “skill”, an easily acquired skill. That skill is called “rescue breathing.”

Rescue breathing doesn’t really require any specialized equipment. You can use a breathing mask if you want to. I don’t. If my battle buddy or family member is dying due to  non-breathing, I don’t give a crap about a protective mask. I want to get them breathing or they will die. I am not going to worry about being exposed to some kind of germ or biological junk that they “might” spread to me. I just don’t want them to die. But if you want to include a protective mask for rescue breathing have at it.

So back to the IFAK. The true sole purpose of the IFAK is to stop varying degrees of bleeding. To be clear…stopping bleeding is really its only mission. Yes, if you look at the list of items that it carries, or can carry, you will notice; ibuprofen, caffeine tablets and sanitizing hand wipes. They should be self-explaining but let me help. To ease pain there is ibuprofen. To help me stay alert and functioning there is caffeine tablets. The sanitizing hand wipes are for me to use when I help someone else who is injured or to use when I go to the bathroom in the great outdoors. But the bottom line to the IFAK is to stop bleeding. In all reality, in a field environment what can you expect to do other than that?

Moving along in the medical layers is the Team/Family Basic Aid Kit (TBAK).

Contents –

  • 1 x Dressing, First Aid, Camouflaged, 4” x 7”, Sterile: NSN# 6510-00-159-4883 – Elwyn Inc.
  • 1 x Dressing, Trauma Wound, 4”, Sterile, (a.k.a. Israeli Battle Dressing) : NSN# 6510-01-558-4108 – Performance Systems
  • 1 x Dressing, Trauma Wound, 6”, Sterile, (a.k.a. Israeli Battle Dressing) : NSN# 6510-01-492-2275 – Performance Systems
  • 1 x Bolin Chest Seal : NSN 6510-01-549-0939
  • 8 x Sterile Gauze pads, 4” x 4” (4 packs of 2 each)
  • 1 x 2” Non-Woven Cohesive Wrap Self Adherent Bandage (a.k.a. Coban, FlexWrap or VetWrap)
  • 1 x Quick Clot Silver, Antibacterial, Blood coagulant, 25 gram : Z-Medica
  • 1 x Quick Clot Silver, Antibacterial, Blood coagulant, 50 gram : Z-Medica
  • 1 x pair of Kelly Forceps, straight
  • 1 x pair of blunt-nosed thumb forceps with serrated tips (a.k.a. tweezers)
  • 1 x pair of EMT sheers
  • 5 x packets of Sutures, 18”, 4-0 (USP) black, nonabsorbent (Silk or nylon)
  • 1 x bottle (6oz) of Band-Aid Antiseptic Wash (also contains anesthetic)
  • 1 x bottle (1oz) of Iodine tincture (2% USP) antiseptic
  • 4 x packets of Providone-Iodine prep pad
  • 2 x caplets of Iodine tincture applicators
  • 1 x tube (1oz) Triple Antibiotic (ointment / salve)

First Aid - Emergency Medical Care - Team Basic Aid KitIf you look closely at the list of  contents you will notice that, for the most part, this kit simply gives you more capability to stop the bleeding. Yes, the kits contains a specialty chest seal to assist with sucking chest wounds. It is the only divergence to something other than stopping bleeding. The chest seal works at helping a person who has suffered a collapsed lung, which is a respiratory condition. Other than that…stop the bleeding.

However, the TBAK is larger and heavier than an IFAK. It is meant to be carried when your family or team is working together away from more readily available medical aid. So it naturally now pushes the circle outward from just an individual.

Now comes the Squad/Group Trauma Aid Kit (STAK).

Contents –

  • 5 x pairs Nitrile Examination GlovesMedical Care - Squad Trauma Aid Kit
  • 2 x bottle (6oz) of Band-Aid Antiseptic Wash (also contains anesthetic)
  • 1 x pair of EMT sheers
  • 12 x Sterile Gauze pads, 4” x 4” (6 packs of 2 each)
  • 2 x can (6oz) NeliMed Wound Wash saline spray
  • 1 x Surgical Set – 80122: The Elite First Aid, Inc.
  • 24 x Butterfly Closures, Small
  • 10 x Sutures, 18”, 4-0 (USP) black, nonabsorbent
  • 1 x Stapler, Skin, Disposable, with 35 Wide Staples : Oasis
  • 1 x Staple Remover  : Oasis
  • 1 x bottle (20z) Iodine tincture (2% USP) antiseptic
  • 1 x can (2oz) Triple Antibiotic Spray
  • 2 x Dressing, First Aid, Field, 4” x 7”  NSN 6510-00-159-4883
  • 2 x Dressing, First Aid, Field, 7-1/2” x 8”, Sterile NSN 6510-00-201-7430
  • 1 x Dressing, First Aid,  Field, 11-3/4” x 11-3/4”, Sterile NSN 6510-00-201-7425
  • 1 x Triangular Bandage, 36”x 51”
  • 2 x Quick Clot Silver, Antibacterial, Blood coagulant, 50 gram : Z-Medica
  • 1 x tube (1/2oz) Triple Antibiotic Salve
  • 5 x 2″ x 75″ Stretch Bandage, Kendall 2231
  • 1 x roll Tape, Medical, 1”
  • 1 x 3” Non-Woven Cohesive Wrap Self Adherent Bandage (a.k.a. FlexWrap, Corban, VetWrap)
  • 1 x roll 2″ Ace Bandage

If you notice, once again, it is almost exclusively gear towards stopping bleeding. If you review the list of contents you have more ability to clean a wound, as well as more formally and professionally close a wound. But, it is still all about stopping the bleeding. The STAK is a larger, heavier, bulkier version of the TBAK. But, that also allows it to provide the items necessary to treat more people.

And then comes the Field Trauma Care Kit (FTCK).

Contents –

  • 1 x pair of EMT sheers
  • 1 x Kelly Forceps 5.5″ Straight
  • 6x Germ-X Hand Sanitizer
  • 2 x Dressing, First Aid, Field, 4” x 7” NSN 6510-00-159-4883
  • 5 x Bandage, Gauze, Stretch, 2” x 75”
  • 1 x Bandage, Ace, 3”
  • 1 x Tape, Medical, Cloth, 1 ½”
  • 15 x Pairs, Gloves, Medical
  • 2 x Asherman Chest Seal
  • 22 x Closure, Butter Fly
  • 7 x Sutures, 4-0 USP, Silk, Black Braided, 18” with Needle (reverse cutting, 19mm)
  • 1 x Stapler, Skin, Disposable, with 35 Wide Staples
  • 1 x Staple Remover
  • 1 x Tube Super Glue
  • 1 x Kelly Forceps, Curved, 7”
  • 1 x Kelly Forceps, Curved, 6”
  • 1 x Kelly Forceps, Curved, 5 ½”
  • 1 x Kelly Forceps, Curved, 5”
  • 1 x Kelly Forceps, Straight, 8”
  • 1 x Kelly Forceps, Straight, 6”
  • 2 x Kelly Forceps, Straight, 5 ½”
  • 1 x Forceps, Sponge, 7”
  • 1 x Scissors, Surgical, Blunt, 6 ½“
  • 1 x Scissors, Surgical, Blunt, 4 ½“
  • 1 x Scissors, Surgical, Pointed, 4 ½“
  • 1 x Tweezers, Stainless Steel, Straight, Heavy Duty, 4 ¼”
  • 1 x Tweezers, Stainless Steel, Straight, Light Duty, 4 ¼”
  • 1 x Tweezers, Stainless Steel, Curved, Light Duty, 4 ¼”
  • 1 x Scalpel Handle, Large
  • 1 x Scalpel Handle, Medium
  • 25 x Scalpel Surgical Blades
  • 2 x 6oz Bottles Wound Wash, Antiseptic/Anesthetic, Band-Aid
  • 2 x 6oz Cans Wound Wash, Sterile Saline, Spray, Pressure, NeliMed
  • 2 x 2oz Cans Triple Antibiotic, Spray, Pressure
  • 1 x 8oz Providone – Iodine, Antiseptic
  • 40 x Sponges, Gauze, 4”x4”, Sterile
  • 1 x Dressing, First Aid, Field, 11-3/4” x 11-3/4”, Sterile NSN 6510-00-201-7425
  • 2 x Dressing, First Aid, Field, 7-1/2” x 8”, Sterile NSN 6510-00-201-7430
  • 1 x Dressing, Trauma Wound, 6”, Sterile, (a.k.a. Israeli Battle Dressing) : NSN# 6510-01-492-2275 – Performance Systems

Its size and list of contents may give the impression that you can perform surgery with this kit. Well, that may be  partially true; but it better be very minor surgery you’re attempting. Mostly this kit just provides greater ability to clean and debride a wound, and then to close it up with multiple options. So yes, it is geared towards stopping the bleeding but way more professionally; and to provide a more permanent “fix” to wounds.

But, I hope you noticed it is backpack sized and it is not lightweight. So this pushes the circle way out there. I can’t see an individual ever carrying this kit to solely take care of their own wounds. But, you could see it in a house for “shelter-in-place”, thrown in a vehicle for “bugging out.” Or, maybe carried by a designated field medic on a long hike to the mountains. This kit gives you considerable “depth” in providing medical aid to an injured person. But, it is still just a fancy kit to stop bleeding.

Now, let’s look back…you see how we have progressively provided the ability to render more complex injury care to larger numbers of people. In other words, we have provided layer upon layer of medical aid capability. And done so starting with a single individual’s needs all the way to a fairly decent sized family or group.

Second, sickness – This isn’t a cleanly defined subject area. Sickness can come from multiple directions under  various conditions. We can talk about sanitation when going to the bathroom. We can include food preparation protocols. We could talk much larger in the nutrition area. But for this discussion of “layers” I simply want to point out some of the most immediate and troublesome threats/risks.

Bathroom sanitation. Everyone carries hand sanitizer wipes. There is  hand sanitizer at every latrine/bathroom location. There is a hand washing station wherever food is served.

Nutrition. Everyone takes vitamins every day. If someone gets sick, they are given more vitamins. If available the sick are also given  Gatorade or equivalent.

Injury treatment. If a person has suffered an injury that break the dermal layer and the injury area has been exposed to germ  infested environment, they are given antibiotics if available. A simple infection can cause death if antibiotics are not introduced to kill the infection.

Isolation. If a person becomes sick they are immediately isolated. Until it is determined if they are contagious or not, it is imperative that they not be allowed to spread the sickness.

It may be hard to recognize the “layers” involved with sickness, but you can see them. As always these prevention steps work from the individual outward; small scale to large scale.

Other than death or injury from violence, injury/sickness is the greatest threat/risk that you will face during a disaster or especially a grid-down event. I can’t stress enough how important this category is.

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