Thursday, September 26, 2013

Starting From Scratch: Finding Your Fourth Need

Today is the last post in our Prepper 101 guest series from Kirsten. Be sure to show her some love in the comments. To read her other posts visit the introduction, water and food storage posts earlier this week.

As I mentioned in my first post, my husband and I are both certified as Emergency Medical Technicians. Aside from food and water storage, the majority of our prepping efforts go into medical preparations. This includes continuing education and training, which at this point in our lives is paid for primarily by our employers, as well as stockpiling of supplies.

When assembling your family’s first aid kit, the most important thing is that you know how to use everything in it. It does you no good to purchase a suture kit if you do not know how to suture. When you are faced with an emergency and there are no medically trained personnel available, that is the wrong time to learn how to use your supplies. The first thing I would recommend to anyone assembling a first aid kit is to take a first aid course. More often than not the course can/will be combined with a CPR course. If everyone were trained in basic first aid and CPR the world would be better off for it, in my opinion. In an emergency situation the most basic of training can mean the difference between life and death.

Buying a pre-assembled first aid kit is not a horrible idea just to get your family started. Don’t spend too much money on a fancy kit, because my advice will then be to use it. All of it. Bust open your kit and pretend someone is hurt and you need to patch them up. Learn how to put gloves on and take them off properly- because this simple procedure can prevent infection which, in an emergency situation, can mean life or death. Once you’ve used everything in your basic kit, start assembling a kit that is tailored for your family’s needs. Every kit should have a foundation of basically the same things (i.e. band-aids of various sizes, an antiseptic of some sort, gauze pads of various sizes, and ace bandages) and lots of them. Once you have a solid foundation you can build upon that and add items that you feel are important to have. Some of the extras that I have added are simple things that have many uses such as cotton swabs, clean rags (cheap washcloths), and tape (medical and duct).

It is important that all members of your family that are able to use the items in your kit know how to do so. It does your family no good to have one single person trained to use medical supplies, because if that one person were to become incapacitated, who would help them? As soon as a family member is able to comprehend the reasoning behind first aid and have the dexterity to use the supplies, start training them.

My last recommendation on assembling a first aid kit is…to have a backup. Have several backups, in fact. Just like everything else in prepping, if your primary system fails or is damaged you need to have a secondary plan in place. That doesn’t mean you have to assemble multiple identical first aid kits, because even though the basic supplies are fairly cheap, it can add up when your kit becomes extensive and/or you are replacing supplies that expire every few years (like burn gel and pain medicines). Having one master kit along with smaller kits for each car and bathroom, and even smaller ones for each family member’s 72-hour kit will suffice.

I hope that all of these tips have taken some of the guesswork out of prepping when you are starting from scratch. Just remember, there is no “right” way to do it, and you will find the BEST way for your family. 
- Kirsten
Don't you just love her! Hopefully we can twist her arm a bit more so she'll visit the blog again. Preparedness Month is nearly over but that doesn't have to mean that you are done with your own preparations. Take to heart a bit of what was shared and evaluate where you are at. Work on a few things and little by little you'll be better off in an emergency. 

So, what's next on the blog? Check back tomorrow to see some big plans on what I am doing in October. {Hint: a tight food budget is a big part of it!}

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