Prepper’s Survival Medicine Handbook: A Lifesaving Collection of Emergency Procedures
For centuries soldiers have been sent to battlefields, and over the course of their missions, there was one inevitability: There would be casualties. U.S. military personnel are trained in nearly every conceivable area of combat and survival. They are prepared and equipped to be self-reliant in a variety of situations and climates. A constant state of readiness is an absolute must because they could be called into action at any time and, more often than not, they are called to areas and conditions where they are unsupported. It is never a question of if—it is a matter of when.
One area where they must be extremely proficient is that of first aid. Soldiers do dangerous work in dangerous conditions, and one inherent consequence of that is the likelihood of injury. They must know how to respond, at a moment’s notice, to any possible medical emergency. While some are trained and certified doctors and nurses, many are just like you. They have no formal medical background or education. They have other specialties that they are responsible for knowing, yet when something goes wrong, they want and are expected to be able to help their fellow soldiers or civilians. Where they go, there is no option to call an ambulance or have a doctor or other medical professional there to render care. They must be able to treat each other, and often themselves, in less than ideal conditions and with minimal equipment.
The conditions in which military personnel are forced to perform first aid are not dissimilar to what civilians frequently experience in the hours following a disaster. Disasters, both natural and man-made, strike all too often and leave a path of people reeling in their wake trying to care for themselves and each other. Untrained citizens do what they can with what they have available.
It is primal instinct, self-preservation, that drives us to try to heal ourselves when we’re injured and there is no one else to help. It’s also human nature to reach out to others when they can’t help themselves. Despite how dark and bleak society can seem at times, one thing that disasters have taught us is that we, human beings, will help one another. Yes, there are those who will take advantage and capitalize on tragedy, but the vast majority of people can be seen in the wilderness or atop piles of debris, among the broken pieces of what once was their world, doing whatever they can to help each other. They don’t do it for notoriety; they do it because there is someone who needs help and there may be no one else around.
Whether you’re alone in a remote area, away from the comfortable reach of civil services such as an ambulance, police, or fire department, or a catastrophic event has occurred and the system becomes overwhelmed, there are situations in which you may realistically find that the only help available is yourself. Medical emergencies are unpredictable and can vary from superficial to deadly. Your best chance of being able to render aid is to know basic, yet lifesaving procedures that can greatly affect the well-being of a sick or injured person.
When that time comes, you will naturally revert to any previous experience or training you have. Regardless of what you bring to the table, whether it’s years of experience in emergency medicine, or little experience and simply this book, one thing you should always maintain is a sense of control and calm. The victim will likely be anxious and scared. Part of your job as a caregiver is to display a calm demeanor that will reap psychological and potentially medical benefits for your patient or patients. One of the easiest things to do is to let anxiety dictate your thoughts and actions, but, as Rudyard Kipling writes, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs,” you will enjoy a far greater likelihood of positive outcomes.
In my 15 years of service as a military medic, I have had only a few occasions to interact with the patients I have treated after they left my care. Not a single one mentioned any specific treatment or technique that I used to manage their injuries, but all of them commented something about how having a calm person at their side during crisis eased and comforted them. I believe that in addition to knowing the essentials of first aid, it is imperative to make a plan and mentally rehearse the first step of responding to an emergency of any kind: staying calm and conveying confidence to those who need your assistance. It’s not likely that anyone will remember the exact way that you stopped their bleeding, splinted their injury, or treated their shock, but they almost certainly will remember your tone and non-anxious presence during their most difficult moments. This can make all the difference to their long-term recovery, both physical and mental.
United States Air Force
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