Welcome to part 1 of a 3 part series where we share the essential first aid elements, we as preppers should know and practice.
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No matter what situation you are preparing for, first aid is a critical skill to know. If you don’t already have one, you should create a basic first aid kit.
This guide will cover how to handle wounds in the event that you cannot get to a doctor.
Cuts and Abrasions
First, you’ll need to clean the wound with some disinfectant and a gauze pad. Don’t scrub the wound, which may cause more damage.
Take one of the adhesive bandages and wrap it around the wound. Recent studies have shown that urine is not sterile, so don’t fall into the urban myth of urinating on wounds.
In the case of serious bleeding, such as deep cuts, apply pressure to the wound to stop the blood flow and wrap it as soon as possible. Don’t remove bandages as they become soaked with blood, just add more layers.
If possible, lift the site of the wound above the person’s heart, gravity will make help slow the bleeding.
Arms, legs, fingers, and toes are the most likely bones to be broken and certainly easier to repair than a cracked skull or chest fracture. Before anything, you’ll want to clean any open wounds and stop the bleeding.
For broken arms, you’re going to want to make a sling. Get a large piece of cloth, such as a pillow case or t-shirt, and fold it into a triangle.
Put one corner over the shoulder on the uninjured side, and lift another corner up over the injured shoulder’s side. This will nestle the arm and keep it from being moved too much.
For leg breaks, you’ll want to make a splint. You can take two long sturdy objects and put it on either side of the leg, then firmly wrap it or duct tape it to keep the leg from moving as much as possible.
There’s not much you can really do for broken bones after getting them set except let them heal.
CPR is something that everyone should take the time to learn, regardless of preparing for a disaster. If someone suddenly collapses, first check to see if they are responsive by gently shaking them and shouting “are you ok?”
If they do not respond, put two fingers under their chin and lift up gently to open the airway. In most circumstances, you want to tilt their head back as well; an exception to this case is if you suspect neck injury.
Once you get the airway open pinch their nose shut, inhale normally, cover their mouth with yours, and give two breaths of air.
Watch for their chest to rise. (If it doesn’t rise, do the chin lift/head tilt again.) Now for the more difficult aspect of CPR.
Place the base of your hand against their sternum, in between the nipples. Put your other hand on top of the first. Keep your fingers off of the chest.
Keep your arms straight and bring your shoulders straight down, pushing hard and fast. You will need to do thirty compressions per two breaths.
I personally find it helpful to think of the song “Another One Bits The Dust” to keep proper rhythm.
If you get tired and there are other people around, have them switch places with you and take turns. CPR is rather physically demanding and you will get tired faster than you think.
Disclaimer: This article should not be a substitute for professional medical care.
Want to learn more about first aid basics? Check out this final part in the 3 part series.
A small but handy Every Day Carry (ECD) first aid kit is a must have for anyone who digs the outdoors. Or if you just want a first aid kit for your car. Here’s my recommendation for the best ECD.