Category Archives: Medical

Survival Sunday – 2/15/2015

Survival Sunday

It’s Sunday again. This week has been relatively uneventful. I went golfing which is something that I do not do often. In fact, I golf so little that my score would be better suited for bowling than it is for golf. I had fun anyway and while golf is not survival related, it is important to remember to have fun and relax from time to time.

While cruising the web this week, here are a few things that I found:

Smoke Inhalation: What To Do If You’re Trapped – This is a great and very accurate piece from James Hubbard, The Survival Doctor. It is good information to have because no one plans on getting trapped by fire and smoke but it happens every day.

Back To The Basics: Water For Survival – Water is one of the basics but also seems to be one of the greatest challenges for the prepper. Even though it is so simple, water can be tough to store because it is heavy and takes up a lot of space. This article from Gaye at Backdoor Survival is a great starting point if you are trying to sort out your water storage.

First Things First: Key Questions Facing The Beginning Prepper – SHTFplan.com is a great site and provides valuable information daily. With that being said, here is a great rundown of some of the areas that new preppers should evaluate. Let’s be honest, it can’t hurt the experienced prepper to take a look at these areas too and make sure they have done what they need to.

Does Size Matter? How long should the blade on a survival/bushcraft knife be? – There is no question that whether you plan on bugging in or bugging out, that a survival knife is a necessity. The decision on which knife is best is hotly contested and is one that we all have to make for ourselves but this article can help you decide what may be best for you.

An Often Missed Prep: Your Home Inventory – You need to have a home inventory for many reasons; insurance, preparedness, planning for the future, rotation of supplies, etc. But it is often overlooked and is not really hard to do. Look a these tips and either plan to do your inventory, or update the last one you did.

That wraps things up for me this week. I hope that you have a great week! Keep preparing for what could be difficult times ahead.

What did you find last week that everyone could benefit from?

Make sure to check back next week for another edition of Survival Sunday.

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Decreasing Summer Emergencies

Decrease Summer Emergencies By Staying Prepared

There are various types of emergency situations that tend to happen during the warm summer months. Whether it involves heat exhaustion, electricity blackouts, or dehydration, it is important to stay informed on things that you can do to protect yourself, your family and your pets. The summer heat can be dreadful for the elderly, young children, and people with serious health conditions. However, anyone who is exposed to the heat for a long period of time should be concerned about how the summer heat can have a negative effect on their health and everyday life.

Tips for Preventing Summer Emergencies

Summer emergencies can range from irritable to severe, however the good news is that they can be prevented. Here are a few things that we can all do to ensure safety this upcoming summer.

  • Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids even if you are not thirsty. Water is best, but any non-alcoholic beverage can help keep you hydrated on a hot summer day. (Tom adds: Not all non-alcoholic beverages are as helpful in staying hydrated as others. In addition to water; fruit juices, sports drinks, and clear beverages like flavored waters are the best options for maintaining hydration.)
  • Wear light colored, light weight clothing that is loose fitting if you plan on being outside for a long period of time
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  • Stay cool indoors by keeping the thermostat turned down or keeping doors closed if there is only one source of cool air in the home. If fans are used, place them in the windows or doorway to circulate cool air.
  • Always wear plenty of sunscreen when you plan on being exposed to the sun.
  • Exercising outdoors should be limited to the early morning or late evening hours when the temperature is at its lowest
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  • Visit your local county facilities that are air conditioned and open to the public if you need to cool down quickly such as the local library or community center.
  • Conserve energy inside your home so that you can help decrease the possibility of a community-wide blackout which could be dangerous for many people.

The Dangers of Hyperthermia

Hyperthermia is a term that is used to describe a variety of illnesses that occur due to overexposure to heat. The most common types of hyperthermia include heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Seniors and those with serious illnesses are most likely to develop this serious medical condition. Anyone who is showing signs of hyperthermia should seek immediate medical attention. While it is most common in the summer, hyperthermia can occur at any time to anyone. Individuals who take a lot of medication can be at a higher risk as well as young children and the elderly.

Avoid Blackouts by Conserving Energy

Warm temperatures outside mean higher electricity bills for most homeowners. While it is important to stay cool, it is also a good idea to keep an eye on your thermostat and try to keep it at a comfortable and conservative level. With so many people turning on energy-draining air conditioning systems it is highly likely for many communities to experience blackouts due to heat waves. When a blackout occurs, the power can go out and stay out for several hours. It is important to take precautions if you suspect that a blackout may occur such as keeping emergency food and water on hand so that you can stay hydrated. Stock up on food and snacks that do not require heating up and keep plenty of bottled water available.

Summer should be a fun and enjoyable time for all, unfortunately there are many areas where the high temperatures can make this happy time of year, a dreadful one for many people. Be sure to keep a close eye on at-risk individuals in your local community by checking in on elderly neighbors or those who are sick or disabled to see if they need assistance with staying cool. Many charity organizations provide free fans or window air conditioners for seniors or low-income families. By staying hydrated and avoiding long time exposure to the sun, you can help yourself beat the heat and make the summer season more enjoyable.

About The Author

Lee Flynn is a freelance writer and expert in emergency food preparedness and food storage.  

Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Med Kit

There are a number of different missions that are carried out by the various branches of the federal government and military but one of the common denominators that makes a mission successful is good planning and support. One of the key support personnel for every mission is the medic, or in the case of the United States Coast Guard, the rescue swimmer. The mission of the rescue swimmer is to maintain proper training and conditioning to assist persons in distress in the maritime environment, including search and rescue operations and to provide pre-hospital life support to rescued individuals. The following is a list of the medical equipment that a rescue swimmer uses to help others survive disaster in the water.

Picture Credit: USCG.mil
U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer
Emergency Medical Equipment

The medical bag of choice for the U.S. Coast Guard is the Aeromed EMS Pack by Thomas Transport Packs.

Picture Credit: Thomas Transport Packs

Packed inside of the Aeromed Pack are these items in the mandatory configuration:

COMPARTMENT 1 – Outside:

  • Blood Pressure Cuff
  • Stethoscope
  • Pen Light
  • Latex Gloves
  • Scissors
COMPARTMENT 2 – Outside:
  • SAM Splint
COMPARTMENT 3 – Outside:
  • Airway Kit, Oropharyngeal
  • Airway Kit, Nasalpharyngeal
  • Pocket Mask
COMPARTMENT 4:
  • Ace Wrap

COMPARTMENT 5:

  • Band-Aid, Adhesive
  • Charcoal, Activated
  • Glucose, Oral
  • Syrup of Ipecac
  • Bulb Syringe
  • Cord Clamps
  • Umbilical Tape
COMPARTMENT A Inside:
  • Battle Dressing, Small
  • Battle Dressing, Med.
  • Battle Dressing, Large
COMPARTMENT B Inside:
  • Bandage, Gauze
  • Water Gel, Burn Kit
  • Petroleum Gauze
  • Sponges, Surgical, 4×4
COMPARTMENT C Inside:
  • Cravat, Bandage
COMPARTMENT D Inside:
  • Plastic Bag
  • Adhesive, Tape, 2″
  • Adhesive, Tape, 1
INNER COMPARTMENT
Inside: Collar, Cervical – No-Neck, Small, Medium, Large – 1 of Each
INNER COMPARTMENT E, F, & G:
  • Band-Aid
  • Thermometer 94-108F and/or Electronic Ear Canal Thermometer
  • Ball Point Pen

In addition to the medical bag, the following items make up the remainder of the rescue swimmer emergency medical kit located on board the helicopter:

  • Bag-Valve Mask by Life Support Products
  • Resuscitator, Oxygen by Life Support Products
  • Laerdal Suction Kit V-Vac by Dyna Med Inc.
  • Cylinder, Oxygen “D” Size M-22 by Life Support Products
  • Antishock Trousers
  • Traction Splint
  • Cervical Collars
  • Medevac Board by Lifesaving Systems Corp.
  • Medevac Report Form (CG-5214)
  • Victims/Casualty Hypothermia Bag by Wiggy’s Inc.
  • Automatic External Defibrillator (AED): Heartstream Forerunner Model E01 including Semi-Rigid Carrying Case, DP5 Extra Pads, Data Card (30 Mins. ECG & Event) and BT1 Battery Pack
  • Current EMT Text (Currently used by USCG EMT School)

Reference: Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue Swimmer Manual, COMDTINST M3710.4B, 28 JUL 00

Fighting an Invisible Enemy

The following post is a guest contribution and highlights a little discussed area of emergency preparedness.

Chemical and Biological Warfare: Fighting an Invisible Enemy

The news story first popped up a few days ago: a mysterious, deadly illness that doctors haven’t been able to diagnose. All of the sudden, it’s everywhere, and the mortality rate is scary. Grocery stores are empty. Families lock themselves in their homes. Schools are shuttered. Once doctors and law enforcement officers get sick, society starts crumbling. Only one thing could make the scenario more frightening: that somebody did it intentionally.

There’s something about biological warfare – and its cousin, chemical warfare – that resonates with our most primitive fears about the enemy we don’t see coming. Everyday objects and even the very air we breathe suddenly seem dangerous. Even worse, once the genie is out of the bottle, there’s no putting it back in. It’s uncontrollable and, in the case of biological warfare, often self-perpetuating.

World governing bodies like the United Nations and NATO have condemned the use of such weapons, but that doesn’t mean rogue nations and terrorists won’t use them anyway. That’s why it’s so important for both governments and individuals to know how to be prepared and what to do.

Detection and Response

The World Health Organization (WHO) formed an early warning system dedicated to monitoring and reacting to suspicious outbreaks. The Global Outbreak Alert and Response network links more than 70 worldwide sources of information on rising health issues. Trained teams are ready to deploy within 24 hours. They’re tasked with identifying the chemical or biological agent and forming an appropriate response.

The U.S. military has developed a number of detection systems, from miniature labs that travel around on Humvees to multi-sensor arrays monitored from ships. And they’re constantly working to improve their methods of containment, decontamination, and treatment. In addition, since some chemical and biological weapons can be delivered with bombs or missiles, explosive detectors play a big role in the monitoring process.

In the event of an attack, doctors, nurses, and other first responders would be instrumental in sounding the alarm. All states have a list of “immediately reportable” diseases that have to be reported to the local health department. That means that even one case of a disease like smallpox is enough to mobilize a response. And, since some engineered weapons may not be easily diagnosable, doctors are also trained to report unusual clusters of illness. If an ER is suddenly flooded with people sick with an illness doctors can’t diagnose, they would immediately get the health department involved. They’d also be responsible for isolation and containment, including requiring all medical personnel to wear protective equipment.

What You Can Do

  1. The first line of defense is preparation. You should already have an emergency kit in case of an earthquake or other natural disaster. Make sure that kit also has gloves, plenty of soap, bleach, duct tape, and surgical masks.
  2. Have enough food and water to last for several days. In case of a biological attack with a contagious agent, isolation is key. You don’t want to have to go out in public to buy supplies.
  3. Identify a safe room in your home. It should be an interior room with few windows and, if possible, located on an upper floor. (Most biological and chemical agents are heavy enough to sink to the ground, so being higher may offer some protection.)  

Here are some tips on what to do if an attack actually happens:

  • Monitor the news for official information and instructions. Computers and smart devices are great, but in a worst-case scenario, they could lose power before the crisis is over. Make sure your emergency kit contains a battery-operated radio.
  • If you’re out in public, cover your nose and mouth with a shirt or scarf. Leave the area if you can, heading upwind.
  • If you’re home, grab your emergency kit and head for your safe room. Turn off all ventilation (heating, AC, etc.) systems and close the windows. Then use duct tape to seal the windows and doors as best as you can.

You’ll probably never have to use this information. But once you need it, it’s too late to go looking for it. Educate yourself on chemical and biological warfare so that if the worst occurs, you’ll be able to react right away.

About The Author

Jeremy S. is a self-confessed tech geek of several years. An avid blogger, you can read his informative articles on technology and various other blog sites.

Bombing Anniversary Serves As Reminder

Today marks the first anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. I think that it is important to remember the victims of this tragic and cowardly attack, but I feel that it should also serve as a reminder of the importance to be prepared. There are several of the victims that were wounded when the bombs went off that had their lives saved as a result of the quick thinking of the bystanders and first responders, accompanied by the ability of the same to improvise and apply effective tourniquets made of clothing and belts.

This is not an isolated incident either. The high profile shooting spree by Jared Loughner that resulted in Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords being shot in the head is another case where tourniquets and hemostatic agents, that were in the Law Enforcement medical kits carried by officers, are credited with saving the lives of the injured.

These kits are modeled off of TCCC or TC3 (Tactical Combat Casualty Care) which is based off of combat experiences and the most likely threats to the injured. One of the single greatest lessons learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is the safe use of tourniquets and the effectiveness of pressure bandages and hemostatic agents in stopping bleeding. This has led to law enforcement agencies and emergency medical responders being issued these same tools to use in their daily duties. The tourniquet was previously considered a last resort is now recognized as the primary tool to stop arterial bleeding on an extremity. John Cohen, senior counterterrorism official at the Department of Homeland Security stated in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing last year that, “As we began to take a hard look at how to respond to these types of incidents, what became clear was that the sooner you can stop victims from bleeding, the higher likelihood you will have for reducing fatalities, and the things that make the biggest difference in stopping bleeding are tourniquets and other bandages.” Findings like this have led to other initiatives across the United States that would make tourniquets and other lifesaving equipment available in public places like shopping malls and schools, where they could be employed by trained personnel or even the public if the need were to arise.

For preparedness minded individuals, this begs the question of, shouldn’t we do the same thing? The answer is an emphatic, yes! When making medical preparations, it is important to prepare first for the most likely scenario that will occur. For most of us, the primary threat to our health is some sort of accident. Because of this probability, a medical kit with a high quality tourniquet, pressure dressings, and hemostatic agent is an absolute must.

As a prepper, not only should medical kits be present in the home, but in the car, boat, RV, ATV, and range bag to name a few potential placements. This is because no one knows exactly when things could go wrong. It could be a mass shooting, there could be an accident at the gun range, or even an accident with a chainsaw while trying to fell a tree. These are all likely incidents that could require these particular medical supplies for proper treatment of the injuries.

My recommendation for a tourniquet would be the SOF Tourniquet accompanied by the Israeli Bandage or ETD (Emergency Trauma Dressing) for a pressure dressing and QuikClot Advanced Clotting Sponge hemostatic agent for an easy to use addition to your basic medical kit.

Regardless of the chosen supplies, what counts the most is having your medical kit put together and ready to use at a moments notice.

To see just how common incidents are where tourniquets and hemostatic agents are employed, look at this list of Law Enforcement Officer of Tactical EMS/Tactical Combat Casualty Care practices in action.