Are Preppers Leading A First Aid Revolution?
Preppers, sometimes also called survivalists, are the people who are ready for anything, and they’re also a rapidly growing group. That’s because, faced with concerns about global pandemics and resource depletion, more people are being forced to reckon with the possibility of disaster – and one way that this shift is manifesting itself is as increased interest in first aid skills.
Preppers are constantly honing their survival skills, practicing vital tasks like how to build a winter shelter or find clean water, but other skills don’t matter much if they aren’t bolstered by first aid know-how. When someone inevitably gets hurt, every survivalist knows that you need to have the skills and supplies to respond to the problem. In the midst of a crisis, first aid often involves a lot of improvisation, but mastering these three basic skills can help you keep your cool and your family safe.
Your First Aid Kit
Though supplies will run out eventually, every prepper should be starting with a complete and regularly restocked first aid kit, but what does in it? A camping first aid list offers a good starting point; you’ll want antiseptic wipes and antibacterial ointment, medical tape and gauze, cloth bandages, splinters, and antihistamines. You’ll also want ACE bandages or similar elastic wraps, aspirin, electrolytes, and other emergency treatments.
In addition to your basic first aid kit, it’s also worth investing in some additional medical supplies. Companies like Aero Healthcare offer specialty bandages and burn treatments that can supplement your kit, helping to prevent infections, covering impromptu sutures, and more. The better equipped you are, especially during those early chaotic days, the easier it will be to treat injuries.
Big Bad Wounds
Major wounds, like gunshots, chest wounds, or even large cuts from falls can be very dangerous and you won’t have the ability to give blood transfusions under emergency circumstances, so you need to treat them swiftly. Learn how to check for an exit wound, how to apply compression bandages and tourniquets, and how to apply an occlusive dressing. It’s also helpful to know how to identify a pneumothorax – also known as a collapsed lung. This may happen when someone has a chest wound, and can be treated in the field with a straw or ballpoint pen.
Master Infection Control
Infections are serious business, but especially when you don’t have ready access to antibiotics. Sure, you can stock penicillin and others in your first aid kit, along with other antibacterial supplies, but you also need to be sure you have more sustainable infection control options. Washing wounds regularly with clean water is a great first step, but covering them and using plants with antibiotic properties, such as garlic, is even better and will help you ward off infections more thoroughly. You should also learn the signs of sepsis, a potentially deadly blood infection.
Try This Tourniquet
In most modern settings, doctors advise avoiding tourniquets, since blood loss is easier to deal with than the resulting damage of cutting off blood flow, but in an emergency situation, a tourniquet may be your best bet. Take time to learn – and train others – in the Rapid Application Tourniquet System (RATS), which is one of the easiest and best ways to stop dangerous blood loss. Designed by a Special Forces Soldier, the RATS approach is perfect for preppers.
Being a prepper or survivalist means recognizing that disaster is always right around the corner, but it also means knowing how to intervene when those emergencies strike. Though you’ll hopefully never need to amputate a limb or perform a fasciotomy, you’ll almost certainly need to give someone stitches or treat a burn, and that’s where you first aid skills will be of great benefit to you and everyone else.