By @AmberElle, Family Preparedness Director for Fieldcraft Survival
As preparedness-oriented men and women, proficiency in basic medical skills should be something that we continually strive toward. Those of us who aren’t medical professionals often feel ill equipped, lacking in certifications or degrees, and therefore we delegate medical care to someone we feel is more experienced or qualified by the standards deemed acceptable in our own thinking.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Our capabilities are much greater than we often realize, and progressing forward on the path to becoming a skilled medical provider in our own homes and communities often starts with very small steps of educating ourselves. I’m often asked, what medical gear should I have? Outside of basic band-aids and Neosporin, there are a few basic items that every family should purchase and carry to increase self-reliance and to give you some cheap insurance against life’s unexpected disasters.
Taking the time to learn these basic skills is an invaluable resource and helps to mold a mindset that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here’s a basic yet powerful starting point to help you become medically prepared and grow in your confidence, skillsets, and ability to help and influence others around you.
I encourage you to make a plan to check off the actions and items on this list in its entirety. Over the course of time you’ll be implementing and investing in skill and tools that will begin to improve and evolve your preparedness mentality and assets into a safety net for your friends and family that you’ll be proud to possess.
- Purchase CAT Tourniquets for all of your vehicles, first aid kits, and EDC bags. This outside the waistband tourniquet holder will help keep your tourniquet retained on your car’s visor panel, on your waistband, or in your EDC bag.
- Watch a training video on using and applying the CAT tourniquet to a wound, practice until you feel proficient, and then teach every member of your family to do the same. In teaching others we empower them to be prepared as well, but we also solidify our own technique and understanding. Having a tourniquet in your first aid kit is one thing, but knowing how to use it is another.
- Purchase and carry a basic first aid kit. Make sure that your medical supplies and kit includes a variety of bandages, alcohol prep pads, butterfly bandages, tweezers, and a disinfecting cream. To substantiate your medical kit I suggest adding a small bottle of saline rinse, gel super glue, and trauma shears.
- Invest in a Basic Hemorrhage Response Kit (or BHRK): If serious bleeding occurs, your first aid kit gauze most likely won’t go very far on an intense injury. This curated first aid kit includes hemostatic dressing, Quick Clot, rolled gauze, trauma dressing, and nitrile gloves to help turn a very bad situation into a hopeful one. The BHRK is a small enough first aid kit that it can fit easily in your purse, bag, or backpack. Here’s a video explaining the contents of this kit.
- Purchase a chest seal and keep it retained in your medical kit with your other first aid kit items and medical supplies.
In the highly tragic event of a chest wound or injury from a gunshot or other source, a chest seal is necessary to preserve life when the integrity of the lungs has been compromised. It’s simple to apply and are fairly inexpensive but highly useful additions to your first aid kit.
You can watch a video explaining how to use it.
Other basic medical supplies that you should ensure you have in your trauma/medical kit include: hemostatic gauze, gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, bandages/adhesive bandages, sam splints, trauma shears, hydrogen peroxide, adhesive/duct tape, scissors, nasopharyngeal airways, burn cream, insect bite ointment an irrigation syringe, and more. Most of the time you might just be treating minor emergencies or injuries, such as a sprained ankle, a small cut, or a scrape. You don’t have to be a tactical medic. However, if you do experience an emergency that’s more serious, luckily, you came prepared.
Your first aid kit should be the first thought when a medical emergency or injury occurs. The average time it takes for someone to bleed out is 2 to 5 minutes, and the average time it takes for First Responders to arrive one the scene is 7 to 10 minutes. That statistic tells us that in many cases, you are your own first response. Can you hold yourself over before First Responders can get you to definitive care? I implore you to look at your own medical preparedness and follow my recommendations and make sure you have these items in your first aid kit. It can save your life, and others as well. Hopefully, experiencing an emergency will not be what pushes you to become more prepared, rather, an urge to protect yourself and those around you.
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