First aid. This area of basic preparedness is covered well over at Living Freedom (Clair Wolfe’s blog). Also, be sure to check out an excellent article over at Backwoods Home Magazine by Clair on the importance of other people in our preparedness plans!
Preparedness priorities: First aid, part II
Friday, November 9th, 2012
This is another guest blog from Will Kone, aka BusyPoorDad. His first installment is here.
What are the minimal items to have in a first aid kit?
We have all seen the ads, heard the sales pitches, wallowed in the fear-mongering marketing. “You MUST have this special kit! Your life depends on it!” Which is why companies who sell specialized first-aid kits feel they have to charge so much for stuff they sell. After all, it must be great, it costs a whole lot!
I have nothing against making money selling stuff. And there is value in having someone else doing the work of assembling it for you. But I’m not made of money and I doubt the person I am seeing when I write this is either. I’m a practical guy, and want the lowest price, but highest quality, goods. With that in mind, let’s look at the minimum you want when building a first-aid kit.
First off, what do you know? Are you Dr. Bones or Nurse Amy? A Paramedic? Boy Scout? A fan of House and Grey’s Anatomy? If you have never taken a first aid class, your kit should be a lot smaller than the kit for the ER Doctor. (If you have not taken a first aid class, do that. This assumes you know the very basics.)
Second, who is this kit for? Many commercial kits [Ed note: especially those intended for the SHTF prepper] seem to be marketed towards either the single warrior in the middle of a combat zone alone or the Special Forces Medic trying to care for a battalion from a back pack. This scares off the new prepper. Medical kits seem like some mystic bag of equipment that needs massive training to assemble and use.
They are not.
The most basic need for a kit is one that a person can use on someone else. My home has five people in it. The kit I have today is five times bigger than it was when I was single. Since you are going to use this kit, it should contain items you know how to use and you should have a good idea who you would most likely use it on.
Third, apply a risk assessment. The actual risk assessment is beyond this article, [Ed note: maybe medical risk assessment is a topic for another post; general disaster risk assessment MJR covered here recently]. Odds are, you will say to yourself, “Odds are I will most often need to deal with minor scrapes and cuts.” If you don’t cut your own wood, you are not likely to have a chainsaw accident. If you make your own soap, you are more likely to encounter burns or chemicals.
Lastly, you need to consider how available help is. First aid does not fix a major problem. If you cut off a hand, you are not going to pull something out of that expensive kit that will re-attach it. A large cut, cracked bone, some burns, heart attack, etc. can only be “fixed” by serious medical attention. First aid, and later emergency medical care, are aimed at keeping the problem from getting worse till you can get to a doctor or other medical provider.
Sure, there are people who can re-set that bone and cast it with a toothpick and duct tape. I’m not that person and have only heard about them.
Your starter kit should be enough to help you take care of an injury till help can arrive or you get to the help.