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Are You Ready Series: Emergency Medical Supply

In the midst of a disaster, be it natural or man made, there may come a time when a family member or neighbor will need medical attention. Are you prepared for this?

In the midst of a disaster, be it natural or man made, there may come a time when a family member or neighbor will need medical attention.  Are you prepared for this?  What if the person needs stitches?  Do you know the appropriate suturing technique?  There is a long list of medical situations that many are not prepared to tackle especially during an emergency.

Familiarize Yourself With The Solutions

Some people cannot stand the sight of blood.  In the case of an emergency, they have no choice.  If a person is bleeding and needs help, action must be taken.  Sometimes, visibly seeing the process of what is involved can desensitize the person who would be administering the aid as well as teaching and preparing themselves more fully.  Find websites online such as www.firstaid.about.com that deal with first aid care and go through each injury to see what medical instruments and items are needed.  Make a list for supplies that can be added to the disaster medical supplies.  Watching medical videos online can assist in learning about medical techniques as well as desensitizing someone to open wounds.  For example, see the following links for a few medical demonstration videos found online.

First Aid Kits

When preparing a medical first aid kit, research what the advanced kits have and purchase the items from that kit  individually, if possible.  This will create a unique kit that is individualized for the people that will need it, as well as save money in the process.  Some kits are overloaded with items that may not be needed.  Additionally, think about how many people may need first aid from the kit.  If there are not enough medical supplies for everyone, it may be time to stock up on some additional items. First aid kits can be used for the home as well as the car.  There are many websites online that carry the everyday first aid kit and advance up to the immediate response kits.  Websites such as www.thereadystore.com is a great website to start at.

Emergency Response  

First things first, when responding to a medical situation take the safety route by accessing the situation, environment and injured person.  Take precautions and wear protective equipment if necessary such as eye goggles and survival gloves.

When an emergency situation arises, one must act calming and decisively.  In the case of a severe injury where there is a lot of blood loss, there must be supplies that can stop bleeding, cut the pain threshold and calm the patient if necessary.

Storing medical supplies in the home for a possible disaster could save someone’s life if they need immediate medical assistance.  In the event of a major disaster, such as a hurricane or earthquake, if someone in the home is injured, emergency responders cannot always get to the injured victims in time.  Experts suggest having a well stocked arsenal of  medical supplies in this instance.

Having antiseptic on hand to disinfect will help prevent infections from exasperating. Dakin’s Solution is an antiseptic made from bleach, baking soda and water. When combined, this creates a powerful antiseptic that can save a life and can be used to kill most bacteria and viruses. Learn how to make it here.

Suggested Home Medical Supplies

The idea of having medical supplies in the home is to be prepared for any given situation that could arise. In the long run, if supplies are adequately organized and ready to go, the person administering medical assistance will have everything in place and be ready to act.  Making an inventory list of everything that is needed for all family members (include children’s needs as well as family members with special needs) as well as items that have already been purchased can help with organizing the supplies for storage.

  • Antacids
  • Anti-diarrheal
  • pain reliever
  • Children’s pain reliever
  • First aid book
  • Prescription medications (keep copies for records)
  • Cold/flu medicines
  • Vitamins
  • Celox
  • Sterile gauze
  • Dressing bandages
  • Dressing rolls
  • Medical tape
  • Bandages of all sizes
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Eye flushing solution
  • Anesthetic solution
  • Hypodermic needles (for the antiseptic solution)
  • Electrolyte tablets
  • Benadryl
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Cold Packs
  • Warm Blankets
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Thermometers
  • Skin irritation creams
  • Gloves
  • Mask
  • Suture needles/string
  • List of medical contact phone numbers
  • Medical history file (if needed)

Animals and house pets can often fall victim to an injury as well.  Having medicine and first aid supplies for themyour furry and feathered friends will help keep all members of the household healthy.

Storing Medical Supplies

Medicines can break down and spoil if they are subject to moisture, temperature fluctuations and exposure to light.  For example, aspirin has a tendency to begin the breakdown process when it is exposed to a slight amount of moisture.  Unless the medicine indicates otherwise, store the medicines in a cool, dark place that is out of children’s reach.   If possible, try and find a place to put the medical supplies that is in an easily accessible area in the event of a medical crises.  Check expiration dates periodically to ensure the medicines are still good to use.  Additionally, storing a first aid kit in the car and in the 72 hour bag will provide additional medical assistance if needed.

Signs of Expired Medicines

Although there is data that medicine can last longer than their expiration dates, knowing the signs of expired medicine can help indicate when new items are needed.

  • Creams or ointments which are discolored or have changed in texture.
  • Creams or ointments which have cracked or separated.
  • The medicines smell has changed since it was opened.
  • Tablets are broken or chipped and have changed color.

Organizing medical supplies to be ready for a possible disaster is not a time consuming event.  In a disaster situation, having supplies on hand to deal with a medical emergency can expedite the stabilization process and possibly save a life. Create emergency medical packs for prompt first response.

Pertinent Resources

Emergency safety books can be purchased in book stores, Red Cross Organizations and even online.  Having this information in your G.O.O.D Manual72 hour bag or survival supplies does not take up much space.  In fact, having a wide array of knowledge sources in the survival supplies is a key point in surviving a disaster.  Here are a few e-books that were found on this subject:

As many are beginning to make lists to fully prepare for any number of emergency situations, questions are raised as to the how much one will need to be fully prepared.  People may ask themselves, “What plans do I have in place in case a disaster happens?”, “Will I be have enough supplies to last through the disaster?” or  “Will I have enough knowledge acquired to make a decisive action?”  Taking the necessary steps to prepare for a disaster depends on how long the estimated time the disaster will last.  Medical emergencies can occur at the drop of a hat, and having the necessary supplies can mean the difference between life and death.

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on November 9th, 2009

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