You might be surprised to know that many people don’t know how to properly take care of basic first aid needs. They know how to apply a bandaid, take a pain reliever and that’s about the extent of it for a good majority of people. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but for us preppers, we should have a bit more extensive knowledge in order to help ourselves and others.
Here are 5 first aid skills that every prepper should know:
Take a proper CPR class. Keep your CPR knowledge up-to-date and take a class every few years. Also make sure to understand how to administer CPR to infants, children and pets. The Red Cross has a couple great apps called ‘Pet First Aid’ and ‘First Aid’ which can help demonstrate some techniques.
Basic First Aid
Learn how to take care of basic first aid needs outside of putting a bandaid on a cut. If you burn yourself, what do you do? It used to be best practice to apply a burn cream on it, but now they advise to simply hold the (first degree) burn under cool (not cold) water and then cover with a sterile bandage and treat any pain with an over the counter medication such as Tylenol. Take some time to learn basic first aid by taking a class, reading a book; or both!
How to stop the bleed and apply a tourniquet
Do you know how to stop a bleed? A tourniquet is not the answer to all types of bleeds. You may need to apply pressure instead. There are many FREE ‘stop the bleed’ courses across the country that I highly advise taking. You should also learn how to properly apply a tourniquet, when to apply it and learn which tourniquets are the best to purchase for your own first aid kits.
How to identify symptoms
Knowing how to identify symptoms is incredibly important in order to know how to treat. For instance, do you know the signs of heat stroke? Knowing the signs can help you know what needs to be done. Do you know the difference between a sprain and a break? Of course, learning treatment options for ailments is incredibly important, too, but knowing how to identify symptoms will determine your course of actions.
I think one of the best first aid tips is learn how to prevent things from happening in the first place. Wear goggles, gloves and other protective gear. Use a ladder properly and have a spotter when necessary. Don’t rush tasks, take them slow, one step at a time to prevent injuries. Always point a knife in a safe direction. Watch your step. Drink plenty of water. And so on.
Don’t prep to improvise; prep to thrive. Prep the proper gear. Using a tampon is fine and all if it’s A LAST RESORT. Example: Don’t prep to use a tampon to stop a bleed (a tampon doesn’t stop the bleed, by the way, it just plugs the hole, very big difference). Instead, prep lots of gauze that help you apply pressure to properly stop the bleed.
It’s a really good idea to know alternative ways to do things and how to adapt and improvise when needed. But since we’re preppers, let’s do the best we can to prep the proper gear first and worry about improvising when we’ve exhausted all other options.
Have all the first aid kits! Have one in your vehicle, in your BONCH (bug out bag), in your EDC bag, in your get home bag, etc. You shouldn’t have to access your first aid kit all the time, which is a good thing, but when you NEED first aid, you NEED it NOW! So have as many first aid kits around as possible. Also go through each kit and update them at least once a year.
You can buy a first aid kit or you can make your own.
Here are some recommended first aid books:
The Natural First Aid Handbook: Household Remedies, Herbal Treatments, and Basic Emergency Preparedness Everyone Should Know
Your life, the life of your loved ones or a complete stranger; could depend upon your level of first aid knowledge. Learn as much as you can and never stop learning.
Conquer tomorrow, by preparing today!