This guest post is by Chad B and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .
In a SHTF situation, when the government starts to crumble, and you just sliced your hand open trying to open that can of chili with your pocket-knife, what are you going to do? Or when you fall and twist your ankle while trying to stalk a deer? This is not the time to realize you need to learn how to do, at a minimum, basic first aid. Most preppers seem to have very elaborate medical kits.
Now, I may be a noob to the prepping community, but I have 16 years as a healthcare provider working in the Intensive Care Units. I am trained to start an IV, place an arterial line for med administration, place an artificial airway for breathing (intubate), and have sat in on more child-births and surgeries than I can count. I am qualified to teach both neonatal resuscitation and difficult airway management, and currently work part-time as an adjunct professor for the local college teaching these things to students.
Now, I am not bragging in the least by listing these qualifications. I am merely setting the ground for my next statement. In NO WAY, with all this experience, could I perform the in-depth, complicated and risky procedures that occur in some books popular among those of our “kind” without feeling the need to evacuate my bowels, in a hurry, into my camo pants.
Now, I am by no means saying it is unlikely or not possible for these events to occur. You may belong to a survival group with access to a general surgeon. You may be a retired (or currently active) physician. But the majority of us, be we a member of a group (regardless of size), or alone with our family are not going to be lucky enough to have a skillful surgeon at our fingertips.
Now does that mean we should lie down and call the game? Absolutely not!! If that were in our DNA, we would not be reading this blog, much less going without all the things the sheeple spend their time and money on. We would not be pinching our pennies to buy that bucket of beans, or that AR/AK/whatever. But as with our food and our weapons, I think it is wise to use some common sense in our purchasing and training in first aid.
You wouldn’t choose to buy nothing but wheat to store. You wouldn’t buy a .22 pistol and one box of ammo and call it your armory. You also, if you have common sense, wouldn’t buy the most exotic rifle you could afford, pack it up, never shoot it, and think that when TSHTF you are going to be good because “I’ve got that fancy rifle put up”. Or would you? So why do many of the people I have interacted with on different sites/blogs do exactly that when it comes to their first aid supplies?
Is it the hope that if they have it, they will never have to use it? Is it the old condom logic, it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it? I tend to think that if one “runs into a physician” after TSHTF, they will probably be traveling with the tools of the trade so to speak, because that will guarantee them safety and comfort in trying times. Notice that traveling physicians were probably the safest people in the “wild west”.
Let me present you with a question, you have a friend with you during TEOTWAWKI, and you guys (or ladies) are out hunting for meat to go with your preps (have to round out that stored food with a steak, right?) and your friend (who is very much a noob like me) trips, falls, and discharges his rifle through his upper thigh. Now, as a prepper you probably have all the required tools to perform the surgery that it would take to fix this problem.
But do you have the skill? Probably not, and now you have lost both the value of the tools as well as the hunting buddy. Just to give you an idea of the severity, we had a young man who accidentally fired a .22 revolver through his upper thigh while riding in a car with friends, clipping the femoral artery; he bled out in the time it took his buddy to drive 2 blocks to our facility.
So what is my point? Where am I going with all of this? Basically my point is to make one of two decisions. First, keep your medical supplies to what you can actually use (I don’t store as much wheat as some because I have celiac disease and therefore it would be wasted on me) . I have an AED (a defibrillator) at my home, but then again I am trained to both use it and instruct others in its use (my 12-year-old can properly use it to diagnose and apply shock where necessary if I am the victim).
If you do not know how to use it, and you buy it, that is money you could have spent on food, ammo, or security devices. It would be like giving my wife a Porsche (she could drive it, but she is more comfortable in her mini-van and the car would be wasted). Second choice; learn as much as you have the time and money to learn now about first aid because once TSHTF, it’s too late to learn it. There are many places you can learn basic CPR and First Aid, which we should all have.
Places like Red Cross, American Heart Association, American Safety Training Institute, or your local community/technical college are good starting places (and all searchable from that computer you are sitting at right now). If you are fiscally stable and have the time, think about taking a basic EMT course. While this may not teach you to do brain surgery in the field while shooting bad-guys, it may save the life of a loved one in TEOTWAWKI or even next week.
And this training will also allow you to make some sense of the medical book(s) that I am sure you have on your survival shelf as we speak. If you don’t, use this site to jump to Amazon right now, and get those ordered because your loved ones lives could depend on it very soon.
This contest will end on June 5 2012 – prizes include:
Third Prize) Winner will receive copies of both of my books “31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness” and “Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man’s Solution” and a Katadyn Siphon Water Filter courtesy of Mayflower Trading Company. A total prize value of $107.
Contest ends on June 5 2012.