Posts tagged: first aid

Testing Your Emergency Plan

Testing Your Emergency Planphoto source:

If you read my column regularly, you know the importance of an emergency plan as an integral component of your overall urban survival skills. Yes, it’s great if you keep a first aid kit, MRE and water on-hand, but unless you’ve mapped out how you plan to use your supplies, you’ll be a lot less effective in helping yourself, your family or your neighbors to get through a natural disaster or civil emergency. An emergency plan is vital, and testing that plan is equally critical.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, we were within the projected path, giving us a chance to really test our emergency plan. We went through all the details that I’ve mentioned to you in previous blogs, and guess what? We found holes in our own emergency plan! Thankfully, we didn’t get hit by the storm directly, and this valuable experience has helped us identify the changes that needed to be made.

How concerned should you be about an emergency plan run-through? I’ll give you some examples of situations that people have found themselves in, and let you be the judge:

• During a power outage, the homeowner retrieves a flashlight, only to discover that the batteries, which were stored inside the flashlight, have gone dead. (Tip: To keep batteries from discharging, don’t insert them into your flashlight until you need them.)

• Emergency supplies were stored in different areas of the house, making it difficult to find them during a power outage, slowing evacuation.

• The backup generator has been stored for years without being used, causing the fuel inside to spoil and making it impossible to start.

• Critical emergency supplies were stored in the basement and were flooded before they could be used.

Testing your emergency plan doesn’t require you to wait for a massive storm. Simply set up scenarios that you could likely face in a real emergency. I’ll give you three possible drills you could test against your emergency plan, and this will get you thinking about others practice runs you could create for other potential situations you could face.

• High winds snap tree branches, plunging your town into darkness. You need to be able to find your generator in the dark, get it started and run the appropriate extension cords to critical appliances.

• A tanker truck crashes on a nearby road, emitting a toxic cloud. You need to have your go-bag (including food water, spare clothes, insurance papers, ID, prescriptions and any other items) and your family in the car within five minutes, ready to evacuate.

• You’re alerted to a surprise snowstorm while at work. You need to plan out an effective route home, both by your normal route and by a secondary route in case the roads are clogged. You also need to contact all family members, arrange transportation home, and ensure that there’s enough food in the house to endure multiple days stuck inside.

If you have kids, you certainly don’t want to scare them with doomsday scenarios, but teaching them age-appropriate preparedness skills will make them better equipped to face the realities of life. Many stories have been told of children who saved the family from harm by knowing what to do in an emergency. And instilling your family members with the idea that you’re all a responsible for each other’s well being is never a bad thing.

Be safe and stay alert,

By Thomas Sciacca –

Survival Medicine 101 Part 2: Guarding Your Health During The Crisis


When it comes to survival medicine, most people instinctively think of a wild setting, perhaps in the mountains, where people with broken legs try to fight off forest beasts.

And maybe a couple centuries ago, this would be very precise. But now, in the 21st century—even with so many health insurance marketplaces available – and in today’s economic climate, survival medicine should be more about keeping yourself healthy during the looming crisis.

Just think about it: this crisis could last for months or even years. People will have more trouble making money than ever before and it will difficult to keep your family well-fed and healthy. But you know that saying: where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Drink lots of waterphoto source:

For example, published a basic guide to maintaining health in disaster conditions.

Survival Health Tip #1: Drink plenty of water

This should be your top priority during a disaster or crisis. Dehydration is very tricky, it sets in without even feeling it and it affects the whole body. Even a 5 percent loss of body fluids can lead to thirst, irritability, nausea, and weakness.

So here’s what you can do to avoid dehydration:

Drink small amounts of water as often as you can, even when you’re not thirsty. Just a sip or two every 15 minutes will do.

Replace the water you drink. This way, you’ll always have a spare stock of water in case you run out.

Drink water when eating.It helps your digestion and prevents your body from dehydrating.

Ration water. By this, I don’t mean drink less water than you need. You should simply avoid wasting water. Monitor how much water your family drinks every day and try to eliminate any excess.

When to eatphoto

Survival Health Tip #2:

Eat little, but often

You don’t need a big meal to fight off hunger. In fact, it’s better if you eat small amounts of food more often. The key here is variety. Your body needs both plant foods and animal foods, so it’s important to keep a good balance.

Try to eat more plant foods than meat, as they are healthier. However, eating meat is necessary, as it is more nourishing and produces more energy and heat.

– Eat nuts and seeds every day, as snacks. They’re high in protein and oils which give you lots of energy and help your body function normally.

Include roots, green vegetables, and plant food containing natural sugar in your meals. They provide calories and carbohydrates that give the body natural energy.

Plant a small garden close to your house. This way, you’ll have fresh produce anytime you need it. Also, gardening is a very relaxing activity that will release you of all the stress any crisis brings.

Raise a few chicken, if you can. Eggs and meat will be hard to find and expensive during the crisis, so raising your own chicken can be the perfect solution.

Survival Health Tip #3: Keep your body clean at all times

wash handsphoto source:

This may seem like a no-brainer, but in times of crisis, hygiene immediately drops two positions to water and food. These become top priorities, as they’re harder to obtain, so most efforts concentrate around keeping your family fed and hydrated.

But if you don’t respect proper hygiene, first, let me show you what measures you should take to prevent infections and other hygiene-related illnesses:

Wash your whole body with water and soap every single day. If you can’t take a daily shower, use a cloth and soapy water or even some Pampers wet wipes.

Brush your teeth twice a day. No exceptions. In times of crisis, it’s even more important to keep your teeth healthy, as good dentists are quite expensive. Also, if you’ve ever experienced toothaches, you know what a torture that is. And you know the pain doesn’t go away with just a painkiller. So avoid wasting money on tons of pills and pricey doctors by taking good care of your teeth.

Always keep your hands clean. Your hands carry billions of germs that you can easily ingest, so wash them after you’ve touched anything likely to carry germs. Also, keep your nails trimmed and clean and out of your mouth.

Survival First Aid Kit Tutorial

Survival Medicine 101 Tutorial Part 1: The First Aid Kit

I’m not a doctor, but I believe it’s absolutely crucial to know the basics of emergency medicine. One day, your family might depend on your knowledge. And the little you know about it may just save your kids’ life.

Unfortunately, most people leave this subject to doctors and survival experts, assuming it’s just as difficult as going to med school or something. But here’s the thing: difficult or not, when your loved ones are in danger and you are some time or distance away from professional medical care, you’d better know a thing or two about emergency medicine or you’ll just have to watch them suffer, helplessly.

So here are some of the easiest life-savings techniques that you should know in case of a disaster or crisis. Today, we’re going to start with the first aid kit.

Most survival websites, such as or recommend getting three different types of kits:

#1: The basic first aid kit

According to, it should contain:

• Moleskin

• Sterile pads (different sizes)

• Sterile Gauze

• Neosporin

• Bandaids

• Aspirin

• First Aid Tape

You can put it in your car and/or in your bug-out bag. Make sure you have enough items for your whole family. If you have little children, put some sterile pads and band-aids in their packs, too, and teach them how to use them. However, don’t give them any pills or items that could hurt them (like scissors or first aid tape, which they can suffocate on).

#2: An intermediate kit

This one is for your home or for traveling and should contain:

• Bandages

• Antibiotic ointment

• Gauze pads

• Iodine or similar prep pads

• Alcohol prep pads

• Butterfly bandages

• Antibiotic ointment

• Medical adhesive tape

• Aspirin and/or non-aspirin pain relievers suggests you should also include the following:

• Larger adhesive bandages (for larger wounds)

• Smelling salts or ammonia inhalants (in case someone faints)

• Ace-type bandages (for strains and sprains)

• Rolls of gauze (in case you need to change bandages)

• Antiseptic towelettes (to keep the wound clean)

• Snakebite poison extractor (this one’s optional, but who knows when you might need it)

• Thermometer

• Tweezers

• Safety pins

• Moleskin

• Rubber (latex) gloves

• Burn medication

• Anti-itch treatment

• Sun screen

• Diarrhea medication

• Eye drops

Basic first aid instructions (this one is definitely a MUST)

Some of the above are optional. You may not find them crucial or they may be hard to find/expensive. You choose what your family needs the most and make your own customized kit. The more you include, the more worst case scenarios you cover.

#3: The advanced emergency kit

This one is crucial when someone is severely injured or ill, but you’ve got no access to a hospital.

The advanced emergency kit should include the intermediate kit PLUS:

• Special bandages, such as conforming, trauma, and field dressings

• Rubbing alcohol for sterilization

• Hydrogen peroxide

• Betadine

• Scissors

• Forceps

• Scalpels

• Hemostats

• Sterile sutures, in several sizes

• Wound probe

• Mouth-to-mouth shield

• Instant hot pack

• Instant cold pack

• Prep pads

• Eye pads

• Sponges

• Cotton balls

• Burn treatments

• Dental tools

• Splint materials

• In-depth first aid/surgical guide

• Cold medication

• Decongestant

• Antihistamine

• Colloidal silver

• Broad spectrum antibiotic

• Antibiotics for sinus infections, strep throat and other common “winter” ailments

• Painkillers

Now, you may wonder what you’ll do with a forceps or a scalpel, but there two possible options:

1. You find a doctor who needs these instruments to do his job.

2. You have to BE an improvised doctor until you can find a hospital. In some cases, a superficial, amateur job can save a life.

One more thing about the advanced emergency kit: make a list with all the chronic illnesses you and your family members suffer from. Then add at least a 3-day supply of meds for each one of them.

That’s it for today. I’ll be back with more life-saving info next week. Until then, stay safe!