When an emergency hits no matter how hard you prep and try to forecast any possible problems something is bound to happen that you didn’t think of. This goes for not only novice preppers but also those who think they are natural born survivalists. Life is unpredictable and you just can’t prepare for every single thing.
One thing that people either leave until the last moment or fail to take into consideration at all is to prep for accidents that cause injuries and medical emergencies. Even those who prepare for it too often they don’t prepare hard enough and all they have is a small first aid box or limited supplies. It’s hard to figure out why, but perhaps it’s because they either think they really won’t need additional skills and supplies or that they suffer from a superhero complex. Even superheroes get boo-boos.
There are some supplies that you may already have on hand that have been covered in previous urban prepper articles such as:
Fishing line: Fishing line can be used to sew up a cut or wound. It’s cheaper than suture thread and easier to get. Any department store that sells outdoor or camping equipment will sell fishing line and sometimes as little as a dollar or two.
Newspapers and magazines: These can be used as splints or to make a cast using Plaster of Paris. Although you may already be stockpiling these things make sure you have a separate stash just for first aid so you’ll have plenty on hand if you need it.
Purified water: This was one of the first items covered in the urban prepper articles. Have separate containers of purified water just for first aid emergencies. Touching a container of water that is used for cooking or drinking when you have bloody hands could contaminate the water.
Pantyhose: Pantyhose can be used as a sling or as a type of Ace bandage. Don’t cut these up until you’re ready to use them. Before an emergency hits wash them out, dry them and place them in a sealed bag such as a Ziploc bag. If you don’t wear pantyhose you don’t necessarily have to go out and buy them at a department store which can be costly. Sometimes dollar stores or thrift stores sell them as well.
Tongue depressors: These can be used as splints, but you can also reuse Popsicle sticks. If you don’t have any old sticks on hand almost every arts and crafts store such as Michael’s or A.C. Moore carries them in large amounts. As in the case of the pantyhose don’t cut them down until you need them. Place these in a Ziploc bag as well to protect them from moisture.
There are also other supplies you will need that should only be used for first aid and they are:
At least three different kinds of scissors. You will need them for cutting up material, fishing line/suture thread and possibly even cutting skin to expose a wound if a knife is too bulky. Ideally one should be a boning knife that can cut through wood or other materials.
A magnifying glass. This will help you see small things such as ticks and splinters. Don’t’t rely on your eyes to do that job for you because the light that you’ll be using isn’t the same one you’re using today.
Needles for sewing up wounds. When purchasing the needles the important thing is the eyelet which is the little hole at the top of the needle. Get several different sizes and keep them in a plastic box along with alcohol, cotton balls or linen material, and a couple of lighters.
Rubbing alcohol (a lot of it). You’ll need rubbing alcohol for a lot of different types on first aid emergencies.
Thick socks. Do you remember that pair of sweat socks you put in the dryer, but only one came out? Don’t throw those old socks away! Cut them into squares and use them in place of gauze. You can also purchase socks at a thrift store and use them for gauze as well. You should have a very large supply of cut-up socks on hand.
Tape. A lot of people buy first aid tape, but it’s very flimsy and often won’t adhere to the skin for too long if at all. One thing you should have ample supply of is Duct Tape which sticks to anything. Keep several extra rolls with your first aid gear. Sure the tape may hurt when you go to pull it off your skin, but don’t be a sissy about it.
Safety goggles just in case blood splatters in your eyes.
A lot of surgical or latex gloves for when you have to administer first aid and sanitary conditions are important.
The most important thing you can do to prepare yourself for medical emergencies is to take a CPR class that’s offered by the American Red Cross and get re-certified every two years. These classes are usually very comprehensive and cover pretty much any emergency you may encounter. These classes may be costly, but they’re well worth the expense.
For more information on CPR classes in your neighborhood please visit the American Red Cross website at: http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class.