by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper:
The medical field is one of my favorite fields of prepping, not only because it is my “field of work” for many years but also because it is very often misunderstood in prepping.
There are many reasons for that, one of the reasons is the fact that there are many other “cooler” topics for prepping. As a result, medical preparedness gets researched very superficial, and people prepare for it in a way that most of them want just to mark that as done and move on to other topics.
So as a foundation in medical prepping for SHTF think about a few things, for a start only.
“Help is on the way”
You know that sentence from the movies, books, documentaries and similar: “help is on the way?”
So you just need to “plug the hole”, keep the head of the wounded up, put wet tissue on his forehead or something similar until chopper for evacuation arrives, or paramedic unit or whatever.
Well, it will not work like that if the SHTF.
People often prepare for SHTF by storing weapons and ammo like they are expecting a full zombie apocalypse but at the same time, their first aid kits look like they are ordered them from China for 5.99 USD.
So you are expecting it is gonna be so bad that you need several different types of weapon and loads of ammo but you do not expect you are gonna have a medical emergency not more complicated than a blister?
If you preparing for bad stuff, then expect the bad stuff that comes with it.
If you preparing for a complete absence of the system why does your first aid kit cover (barely) only the time up to the moment when medical help arrives – medical help that will absolutely not exist in a full-scale SHTF event?
In a real SHTF event, YOU probably gonna be all the help available, both immediate and prolonged, with stuff that you have prepped and with the knowledge that you have, so choose what to have and how much to learn.
What is cool vs. what is needed
Next step should be just like with most preps, choosing what is cool or choosing what is really needed.
If you have the resources to cover both, sure why not, but keep in mind that “what is needed” comes before “what is cool”. And what is needed MORE comes even before that.
Here is one example.
You attended a trauma care course given by ex-combat medic.
It is a cool and good course. You’ll learn how to manage bleeding and trauma while under pressure. Instructors are gonna simulate pressure by loud and unexpected noises while you are trying to treat someone with a gunshot wound, maybe instructors will fire shots (blanks) to simulate combat or explosions, or flash lights at you while you are treating the patient, etc.
As I said it is good and cool course. I have been on courses like that, both as a combat medic instructor and a student.
But mostly instructors failed to acknowledge one big thing there: They are instructing you in the knowledge that they have based on their work and experience.
That means treating injured as a professional and as part of a big and powerful system (in this case, the whole army).
So there is system (chopper, ambulance or whatever) to pick wounded after your short treatment, and there are resources no matter how much you need (IVs, bandages, gauzes…) because the system is there.
So, as a result, you are training and learning to use medical knowledge, not in SHTF, but you are training to use it in normal times.
Again, it is good knowledge, and valuable, it can be used today in normal times, and in SHTF, but it is only a small (and “cool” ) part of it.
But you are preparing for a time where there is no system (because SHTF) you need first to learn different stuff (too)
Another example would be that you need to learn how to disinfect your home or latrine, or to learn how to treat a prolonged wound, wound that is infected, or to recognize and treat pneumonia.
So, think a bit outside of that “cool” box.
A good start is to prepare for stuff that you are expecting to see when SHTF.
Do you really expect you are only gonna treat gunshot wounds (until help arrives) or do you think it is gonna be much more about hygiene, infection, antibiotics, bad food, and water-induced conditions and similar?
“Buy this because it will save your life” does not mean too much until you research it and test it.
I think around 70 % of students coming to my courses with first aid kits that have stuff completely unopened and not tested.
And it is their first aid kit for SHTF.