Get Prepared for Medical Emergencies during a disaster
We live in the Pacific Northwest, out in the country and we love it. Dealing with the possibility of being isolated and having medical emergencies at home is a real threat for our family. Living in the country has it’s benefits for sure. It also means that we are about 6 miles from the nearest little town and 10 miles from the next mid-size town with a major shopping center.The terrain is hilly and there are many rivers to cross to get to either place.
In the event of an earthquake, all those bridges that help get me places, might be gone, and I will need to rely on my own provisions – or my feet – to get the services I need.
You’ve done a great job of preparing for getting along with no power; perhaps a wood stove to cook and heat the house, plus plenty of firewood in reserve. You’re fairly confident you won’t freeze or starve!
You’ve worked hard to get your food storage plan in place. You have enough for any kind of emergency; be it natural or financial.
Your water storage plan is coming along. With 14 days of potable water, and methods to collect and purify for even more security. There’s a back-up plan for the well pump, if you have one.
So you have heat, cooking, food and water covered, but what will you do if there is someone hurt during that earthquake? Are you prepared for a medical emergency at home? Do you have the training you need? Government officials say you need to prepare to be on your own for at least 96 hours, probably more if you live in the rural parts of your state. First responders will be overrun with the emergencies in town; it will be awhile before they get to the outskirts.
Here are five things to think about to make sure medical emergencies during a disaster won’t catch you off guard:
1. Have a basic first aid kit – This kit is similar to the big 350 piece kit we have at our house. Check Costco too, they often have them on sale in the summer. See the basic list of supplies – below.
2. Get a First Aid Manual. The Red Cross does a great job with “The American Red Cross First Aid and Safety Handbook”. Just make sure the book you choose is comprehensive, covering all aspects of first aid. Here’s a link to some other first aid books available at Amazon.
Now that you have your book, OPEN IT, and practice! Familiarize yourself with the procedures. Because you’re not going to pull out the book and read it for the first time during an emergency. If you’re not the “read it in a book” type, download the American Red Cross First Aid App and work your way through the learn section and test yourself.
3. Get some training! Familiarize yourself with the new CPR procedures. Again, you are not going to know what to do if you haven’t read up on it and practiced. Practice, practice, practice…That’s what first responders do!
- Remember your ABC’s – Awake? Breathing? Continue Care – The logical order in assessing an emergency should carefully be followed. Make sure you understand and practice.
- Learn to distinguish a minor burn from a serious burn. The first step is to determine the degree and the extent of damage to body tissues. The three classifications of first-degree burn, second-degree burn and third-degree burn will help you determine emergency care.
- Electrical Burns may appear minor or not show on the skin at all, but the damage can extend deep into the tissues beneath your skin. If a strong electrical current passes through your body, internal damage, such as a heart rhythm disturbance or cardiac arrest, can occur.
- Severe Bleeding treatments can be found at WebMd. Wash your hands and then (1) stop the bleeding with pressure (2) Clean the cut or wound (3) Protect the wound and follow these steps to know when to seek medical assistance.
- Shock can be life threatening and may result from trauma, heatstroke, allergic reactions, severe infection, poisoning or other causes. Various signs and symptoms appear in a person experiencing shock. Learn to identify and treat them. Remember: If red lift the head and if pale lift the tail.
4. Have a Family Home Evening First Aid Activity and make a game of it. There are plenty of fun ways to get your family prepared, without making them scared!
5. Learn to make (and have on hand) some basic herbal remedies for stress relief, heartburn, cold & flu, insomnia, headache and upset tummies.
Here’s a First Aid Basic List of Supplies to have on hand in a handy pdf format to download. Have fun with your family and do the scavenger hunt, check off the items you already have and collect them into one place. Get a tub, backpack or other easy to access container. Make a plan to purchase the things you need to complete the kit and make sure that your family knows where this kit is stored in case of emergency. The Dollar Store is a good place to start.
- Adhesive tape
- Aluminum finger splints
- Antibiotic ointment
- Antiseptic solution or towelettes
- Bandages, including a roll of elastic wrap (Ace, Coban, others) and bandage strips (Band-Aid, Curad, others) in assorted sizes
- Instant cold packs
- Cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs
- Disposable latex or synthetic gloves, at least two pair
- Gauze pads and roller gauze in assorted sizes
- Eye goggles
- Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
- Plastic bags for the disposal of contaminated materials
- Safety pins in assorted sizes
- Save-A-Tooth storage device containing salt solution and a travel case
- Scissors, tweezers and a needle
- Soap or instant hand sanitizer
- Sterile eyewash, such as a saline solution
- Triangular bandage
- Turkey baster or other bulb suction device for flushing out wounds
- Activated charcoal, follow poison control recommendations and use only if instructed
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Over-the-counter oral antihistamine (Benadryl, others)
- Aspirin and nonaspirin pain relievers (never give aspirin to children)
- Calamine lotion
- Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream
- Personal medications
- If prescribed by your doctor, drugs to treat an allergic attack, such as an auto-injector of epinephrine (EpiPen)
- Syringe, medicine cup or spoon
- Cell phone and solar charger or a charger accessory that plugs into your car dash
- Emergency phone numbers, including contact information for your family doctor and pediatrician, local emergency services, emergency road service providers and the regional Poison Control Center
- Small, waterproof flashlight and extra batteries
- Candles and matches for cold climates
- FRS and/or Ham Radio for communications. This is the radio recommended to me (BaoFeng UV-5RE Plus) ,when I took the test. It is a durable starter radio for under $50.
- Mylar emergency blanket
Follow this plan to get your first aid kit supplies. Get the knowledge and family training you need to get prepared. Don’t let unexpected medical emergencies at home be the one part of your plan that catches you unprepared!
Family Home Evening First Aid Activity (download)
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