Equipped with a large database of knowledge, co workers and all the equipment/supplies they need at their fingers tips.. it is no secret that America is home to some of the best doctors and medical professionals in the world. If SHTF, what happens if all the lights go out? Would the equipment still function? What if all the supplies run out? What if all the doctors are sent to make-shift-camps or hunkered down with their own families? What if there is no hospital, no 911, no help coming?
Believe it or not, this actually happens all around the world each and every day. Out there right now there are doctors, nurses and medics working around the clock without power or computers, without their co workers, without all the fancy equipment.. They are equipped with nothing more than their knowledge and whatever is packed into their medical bags. That is right, they are saving lives out of the contents of their medical bags.
Most of us are not doctors nor do we have access to the same kind of supplies that they do. However, having a medical bag is one of the most important things we should all consider while preparing for those situations we hope never happen. You may be wondering what to put in your own medical bag or if you are forgetting anything so I’ve provided my own list to help get you started.
The Medical Bag
Use what works best for you. I have seen people use back packs, tackles boxes and shoulder bags. I personally went with the shoulder bag because my bug out bag is a back pack and I only have one back. I also would like to keep both of my hands free so this was the best option for me.
Sanitation and Personal Protection
Regardless of the emergency, sanitation is not something that should never be overlooked. For your own protection and the protection of your patient, always WASH YOUR HANDS!!!! I cannot stress the importance of hand washing. For this reason and so you never forget.. choose the most easy to access part of your bag to store your sanitation supplies. Most of these items can be found at your local dollar store so there are no excuses not to be hygienic when providing first aid. These very simple step could mean the difference between life or death.
**Tip: Keep a small zip-lock bag with a maxi pad and bandanna in with your sanitation supplies. In the event someone is bleeding you can buy yourself a minute to wash up by having the injured use the maxi pad to apply direct pressure, if they are unable, you can hold it in place with the bandanna.
Items to include:
- Bar of hand soap and a case to put it in (dollar store)
- 4 oz hibiclens hand cleanser (if your budget allows)
- Nail clippers, nail file, scrub brush (keep nails short and clean – dollar store)
- Large bottle of hand sanitizer (you will need a lot of this – dollar store)
- Hand disinfecting wipes (for when washing isn’t possible $2 at pharmacy)
- 2 oz hand cream (sanitizer and gloves dry out your hands – dollar store)
- 3 mini soaps/3 mini hand santizers (these are for giving away. It is important to keep the patient clean, too – dollar store)
- 50 pairs of latex free gloves (latex is a common allergy)
- 3 pairs nitrile gloves
- 10 surgical masks
- 3 N-95 masks
- 10-20 surface disinfecting wipes (dollar store)
- 10 puppy training pads (will work well as underpads – dollar store)
- 10 garbage bags (for plastic backing – dollar store)
- 5 bio hazard bags (if budget allows)
The more we have to work with, the easier it will be so some basic equipment is good to have. If your budget is tight you can pick up some of these items at the dollar store and then add the rest when you are able
**Tip: Know how to use these items!! They are all easy to use, I promise.
Items to include:
- Headlight with extra batteries (good hands free lighting may be needed)
- LED penlight with pupil gauge
- Stainless steel sheers (for cutting away clothing)
- Kelly-Clamp straight and curved scissors
- Iris scissors
- Blood pressure cuff
- Permanent Marker/Pencil and Sharpener
- Note Pad
- Duct Tape
From superficial scrapes to life threatening bleeding it is no surprise that there are millions of wound care products out there. Try not to get too overwhelmed with this. The first thing we need to do is to make sure that whatever caused the injury is no longer a threat. We then need to make sure the person wants our help!! Before we rush in to play doctor, we should always let the injured person know who we are and what training we may have. In the event this person is or at any time becomes unconscious implied consent is given. Once we have established that there is no current threat to ourselves and that we have consent to help then the main objectives are to stop the bleeding, monitor for shock and prevent infection. It may be wise to divide this into 3 sections so if you are ever in a panic, you’ll be less likely to miss a step.
**Tip: Pack what items you can afford then add to it as you are able to.
Items to include: