Being a prepper doesn’t mean waiting for some “end of the world as we know it” catastrophic event. Being a prepper simply means being prepared for whatever life may throw at you. The more prepared you are, the better you are able to deal with emergency situations. Medical emergencies happen every day. Just ask an EMT.
Here are just a few examples of medical emergencies that I have encountered:
- My sister was washing dishes when she dropped a thick drinking glass. The glass shattered, and because she was wearing shorts, a large shard bounced off the floor and took a 1 inch sized chunk off flesh off her leg. It took 30 minutes to stop the bleeding.
- A friend of mine lost two of her fingers when her horse reared back, the rope twisted around her hand, and simply pinched off her pinky and ring fingers at the knuckle.
- When I was a kid, I had a nasty bicycle accident and got road rash, including hundreds of little bits of gravel embedded in my legs and arms that had to be picked out with a needle, one…by…one.
All of these scenarios happened in different places. And all would have been helped by having a well stocked first aid kit nearby, and a person knowledgeable enough to know how to use it.
What Should go into a First Aid Kit?
A crucial part of being prepared is having a well stocked first aid kit. My current first aid kit is an embarrassment. I have a drawer with some over the counter medications, and a box of bandaids. Some of the medications have been expired for years! When I asked my kids if they knew where our first aid kit was. They both gave me blank stares, and my 17 year old asked “We have a first aid kit?”
As far as being prepared for emergencies goes, I am not even prepared for a papercut! Good luck to anyone who is looking for a bandaid in my house.
I needed to get more organized, so I checked out the American Red Cross for their first aid kit checklist:
2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
5 antiseptic wipe packets
2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
1 blanket (space blanket)
1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
1 instant cold compress
2 pair of non-latex gloves (size: large)
2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
2 triangular bandages
First aid instruction booklet [Available on the Red Cross Store]
This is just a basic first aid kit. There are many first aid checklists out there. Some are very basic and can fit into the glovebox of your car. Some are extensive and complex. It is up to each household to determine what type of kit suits their needs best. Some people like to assemble their own kits, and it is a good way to save money. Others find it more convenient to purchase ready made kits. Here is a good basic kit:
I like pre-made kits like this because if you are like me, and not a good organizer, then this makes your life simple. I bought one for my house, and one for my car since I travel a lot.
As life goes on, you will probably find that certain things get more use than others. For example, I took out the compass and whistle and gave them to my kids for their camping packs. I took the glow stick out of the house kit and added it to the car kit as a backup.
Because it is red with a cross on it, anyone who sees this will recognize it as a first aid kit. I’m sure that eventually, I will be able to put together a more comprehensive kit, but for now, this is a good start.
Where to Keep It
Now that I had my first aid kit, the next step was to find a place to keep it in an obvious place. Since most accidents happen in the kitchen, I figured that would be a good place to keep it. In work environments, first aid kits are usually in a place where they can be seen, such as on a wall next to the door.
I want people to be able to find it quickly, so I decided the top of the refrigerator is as good a place as any. It’s not a complete eyesore, yet it is visible to anyone who comes to visit. Also, when it comes time to dust the top of the fridge, that is a good time to check my first aid kit for expired items, or items that need to be replaced. This way, I ensure that my first aid kit is always well stocked and up to date.
My medicine cabinet is a different story, and that is a subject I will delve deeper into on another day. But for now, I feel good knowing that my household at least has a proper first aid kit, and everyone knows where to find it.
Know How to Use It
It doesn’t do any good to have a first aid kit, if you don’t know how to use it.
By having CPR/First Aid training, I can be prepared to handle medical emergencies until help arrives. So I went to the American Red Cross website and found CPR/First Aid classes in my area for about $100. The class only takes one 8 hour day to complete. So for a minimal investment of time and money, I gain more peace of mind.
My next goal is to teach my kids about CPR/First Aid. What if something happens to me? It doesn’t do any good for me to be the one with all the knowledge if I am the one passed out on the floor!
Looks like I have more work to do.