Saturday, May 3, 2014

Survival Skill #5 Medical Care (Part 5 of 10)

Right after a disaster, and right after you have procured the basics for survival (food, water, shelter), you may--depending on the disaster and your personal circumstances--need to procure medical care.  Picture the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (all of the people including doctors and nurses were displaced, buildings like hospitals and pharmacies were washed away) then picture what you would do if you or a family member needed medical care in a post-disaster scenario.  Here's some ideas:

  • Have a stockpile of necessary medications (prescription and non-prescription meds) that you keep in various places (your home, your BOB, your office, your car, etc).
  • Have comprehensive first aid kits located in the aforementioned places as well.
  • Have some basic medical training (a first aid class, a CPR/AED certification, an EMT class as well as volunteer EMT experience under your belt, etc).
  • Have a comprehensive medical library at your disposal (both in hard copy format and digital format; start with the popular "Where There is No Doctor" book and expand from there).
  • Be well-versed in home remedies and herbal medicine (this is becoming a lost art as people now run to the ER for the smallest of medical problems but years ago that was about the only medical care a person received unless they were missing a limb or literally dying).
  • Know what medical skills your friends and neighbors have and cultivate these reciprocal relationships (ie: you help your neighbor, a doctor, out with car repairs and he/she provides medical care for you if needed, etc).
  • Be sure everyone in your family/neighborhood/survival group has similar medical knowledge and training as you do (this way if YOU are the patient someone else will be able to help you).
  • Prepare now for your future healthcare needs.  Basically, the better condition you are in now (exercise regularly, eat healthy, take care of preventive healthcare, etc) the less likely you will be to have a major medical event in the future (like a heart attack, stroke, etc).
  • Make basic healthcare precautions part of your everyday life (isolate yourself from sick people, wash your hands regularly, etc).
  • Get vaccinated as necessary (make sure your tetanus booster is up to date, ditto any other vaccines that are needed).
  • Go out of your way to prevent injuries.  While it may be fine for you/your teenager to do some stupid scary stuff that ends up going viral on YouTube (like riding a bicycle off the roof into the family pool, etc), in a post disaster scenario (and even in everyday life for those of us who are generally safety conscious) some very basic safety precautions like wearing a seat belt or bicycle helmet, not taking unnecessary physical risks, etc, can greatly reduce the need for emergent medical assistance.
  • Know what your community's disaster plan is (where medical services will be offered after a disaster, what the mass casualty response plan is, etc).
  • Volunteer with a medical disaster team like the Red Cross, Search and Rescue, the Department of Emergency Management, a private group like CMRT, etc.  This provides excellent training, the opportunity to work with like-minded disaster preppers, and gives you a knowledge of how a medical disaster will be dealt with in your community.
  • Be able to reach out--sometimes way out--for help.  This may entail driving a patient to a community with available medical care, having the means to fly a patient to outside medical care, being able to use a HAM radio to call for assistance when all other communication lines are down, etc.

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