Basic Emergency Trauma Supply Considerations From a Green Beret
Welcome back, Ready Nutrition Readers, and we’re going to jump into Part 2 of the Introduction to Trauma Medicine series. Firstly, we’ll address the concerns of one comment that was posted. What we’re planning on doing with this segment is a continuation of part 1. The reason that specific examples have not been selected is because we will cover each trauma scenario individually with what you will see in: A. Natural Disaster/Emergency trauma, and B. Grid-Down, Road Warrior Apocalyptic SHTF trauma.
We thank you for your comments, as we do read them and they matter to us. These first two introductory articles are just that: a basic overview for a readership that may or may not have experience with tube thoracostomy or needle pericardiocentisis. We’re covering “sticks and rags,” as Mr. R.V. Johnson (one of my instructors) termed “Bandaging and Splinting” in the 18-D Course (Special Forces Medical Sergeant’s Course). We’re introducing the basics for your understanding of trauma medicine, and we’ll follow up with individual articles to cover specific types of trauma, as each needs its own article. If you’re far beyond the basics, then relax and treat it as a refresher, and my apologies for boring you. Now that everything has been explained, let’s get on with it.
Now everyone wants to know about equipment. I repeat from the earlier article, the first thing you need: a definitive course or courses of basic study to know about human anatomy and basic first aid. There are plenty of sites with lists of equipment; however, here is a basic (non-exhaustive) list of things you may wish to acquire.
- Canvas M5 Aid bag (preferably military issue)
- C collar (cervical spine)
- Pocket Mask (with one-way valve: “safe” CPR)
- Splints (soft and rigid)
- Cravats (min. of 8: needed to splint)
- Sphygmomanometer (BP cuff)
- 2 oropharyngeal airways (adult, child)
- Bee Sting kit (Epinephrine preferred)
- MSW (Minor Surgical Wound) kit*
- IV fluids (min 4 bags)**
- IV catheter kits (min of 4)
- Catheters (22, 18, 14, 12 gauge)
- Otoscope (ears) Funduscope (eyes)
- Laryngeoscope with assorted blades
- Tuning fork (5-6#): for hearing fluid mvmt
- Examination rubber mallet/penlights
- Bite block
- Alcohol prep pads/Betadine pads
- Bandages and Band aids
- Ace Wrap/Kerlex/Gauze Rolls
- Field Dressings, assorted sizes
- Aluminum mesh pcs (wire cages)***
- Front Line meds****
- Syringes and needles, assorted
- Notebook and pens (pref waterproof)
*Complete Minor Surgical Wound Kit: a good one (military issue) will include tweezers, bullet probes, exam light, suturing forceps, handle for scalpel blades and the blades (assorted types), suturing material with “driver”/curved suturing needle attached (you need silk and chromic gut), small scissors, alcohol and betadine prep pads. A good one nowadays will run you at least $50.00 and they pay for themselves the first time you need them.
**Four (4) bags of fluid minimum, means (2) 1000 ml bags Ringer’s Lactate, and (2) 1000 ml bags 0.9% Sodium Chloride solution. The former is for pure fluid replacement, the latter for pushing meds with a secondary function of fluid replacement, as it is an isotonic solution.
***These mesh wire cages can be 6-8” in width and about 12-18” in length. Their functions are: 1. To build a wire support ring/cage to stabilize and treat an impaled object, and 2. To cover over for additional flexible splints, if needed.
****Front Line meds. These you will need in minimum quantities of 50 each, just to be on the safe side, and some of them are as follows:
- Keflex (Cephalexin), 2nd generation Cephalosporin, excellent for soft tissue injuries and gunshot wounds
- Morphine sulfate
- Metronidazole (Flagyl): for Giardia lamblia
- Amoxicillin: incredible shelf life; great for a primary antibiotic course for infections that crop up (especially with the teeth!)
- NSAIDS (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs): Aspirin (pain and fever reduction), Tylenol (Acetaminophen) for pain and fever, Motrin (Ibuprofen) for pain and swelling (edema).
- Praziquantel (Biltricide): this is the drug of choice for tapeworms
- Diphenhydramine HCL (Benadryl): an antihistimine that is also effective in low dosages as a sedative/sleep aid; excellent for allergic reactions, especially of the skin.
- Multivitamins: Yes, that’s right! Multivitamins are really good to give to a patient that is already struggling to process food and recover from an injury.
These lists are just for starters and you can add to them as you feel the need. Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy or DoomandBloom.net have a complete trauma kit that would be a great beggining to your SHTF medical supplies. Using the list provided above, you can add any remaining medical supplies to this pre-made kit.
Remember to familiarize yourself with the function of each and every piece of equipment you have. Many of these articles you may or may not be able to legally have in your possession depending on where you reside! Follow all existing laws and if you have any questions about whether a piece of equipment or a medication is legal to have, contact a lawyer prior to purchasing either.
Let’s talk about those meds, by the way. Most of those mentioned can only be obtained with a prescription. It is a fact that unless specifically stated otherwise, veterinary meds are as good quality wise to their human equivalents. Usually they may read, “Not for human consumption,” or something similar. Such is their disclaimer. That being said, you may wish to consult a veterinary supply store for any of those mentioned…for your pets, of course.
As mentioned before, all of this information is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe any action or activity mentioned within this article. Ready Nutrition’s writers and staff are not recommending any course of action for conditions or activities outlined in this article.
These are some of the basics you’ll need for an aid bag for your family/team. We outlined some of the categories of medical training that you will need to cover to well round your abilities. The next article will present an overview of different trauma scenarios you will see (emergency and apocalyptic/end of McDonald’s times) that will explain each in general. We will then take each of these individually and present them to you in parts: detailed information of each traumatic scenario/challenge, what you’ll need with equipment and meds to deal with it, and how to train to treat such things.
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.
Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.
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