Apply Pressure…and Pray

One of the most overlooked items for emergency preparedness in my opinion is medical supplies. I think most often, people grab an everyday first aid kit and then just check the box for their preparedness planning. But realistically, when was the last time you didn’t give your local CVS or Walgreens some of your monthly budget? You are going to need to have an emergency supply of your essential medications. 

The National Center for Health Statistics released a brief in Sept. 2010 noting that “48% of Americans took at least one prescription medication in the last month.” The same is true for “1 out of 5 children and 9 out of 10 older Americans.” That is a lot of prescription meds. You need to take an inventory of any medications taken in your household, adults and children. Keep in mind that some medications can be stopped without any repercussions; however, many cannot. Your medication bottle should be labeled accordingly, but I recommend having a conversation with your physician. Let them know what you are doing as far as emergency preparedness planning. Ask for an extra prescription for those that cannot be stopped cold turkey. If having the same prescription filled twice in one month won’t fly with your insurance company, ask your physician for help. For instance, I have a prescription that I cannot discontinue without the supervision of a physician. I normally take 50 mg. My physician wrote me a prescription for double the quantity at 25 mg. for two months. This essentially gave me an 30 days worth of medicine. In addition, he was willing to outline a method for me to wean myself off of the medication over the course of those 30 days. I have the instructions and the medication in my emergency go-kit at home. I eventually built my refills into the equation so that my extra meds. never expire. Every month when I refill the prescription, I put the new one in the go-kit and take the bottle from the go-kit to the medicine cabinet.

This may not work for you however. Maybe you cannot ever stop taking your meds. If you are, for instance, on insulin for example. How much can you store at one time? How long will it last without refrigeration? Have you considered a small refrigerator with the help of a small generator? You can get solar-powered generators that are capable of running small refrigerators. They certainly come at a financial premium so price these ahead of time and plan/budget accordingly.

The main point is do not overlook your medications. There are work arounds for many scenarios if you are willing to do some checking with your physician and make the right types of plans. However, you first need to outline what medications are essential for you and your family.

In addition to planning to keep up with your meds, make sure you have also thought outside the typical first aid box. Have you ever taken a CPR or first aid course? You can get these from your local red cross, many local fire stations, and even sometimes at your place of employment. But please, keep in mind if your last CPR certification was 15 years ago…then you aren’t still certified. It’s a nice gesture to want to help someone, but if your skills are out of date, you could actually do more harm that good.  Also consider purchasing quik clot kits, speciality wound care kits, burn care supplies, and a medical field guide.

I have a special preparedness presentation that I give for people with disabilities, so this post is not intended to cover those considerations. I will cover those concerns specifically at another time.

3 responses to “Apply Pressure…and Pray

  • David

    The reality is that the vast majority of people either have a minor “boo-boo” kit for treating scrapes and such, or nothing at all. So what happens if you have a more substantial cut, bullet wound, blast burn, sprained ankle, or broken leg? Assuming for the moment that you know someone that is at least a nurse/EMT, isn’t it better to have a more effective kit to cover some of those eventualities? If you have to evacuate on foot, you can almost bet on twisting an ankle, cutting a leg on barbed wire or the like, etc. I recommend Google’ing/Amazon’ing one of the more substantial medical kits, and picking up components as you see fit to supplement the kit you already have.

    One more thought – consider keeping first-aid kits out of your car during summer months. The inside of a car can reach 140 degrees, which quickly destroys the adhesive on bandages and evaporates the alcohol in wipes. That’s a bit of a risk, but could greatly extend the life of your stuff. Just my two cents…

    • SA

      Once upon a time I had some dental work done and wound up with a bunch of left-over antibiotics. So I did a little reading, and started saving some of the silicon desiccant thingies that come in various products. I placed some desiccant in the antibiotics bottle, sealed the lid with a little hot glue, and put it in the fridge. A couple of years later I was prescribed the same antibiotic for something else, so I broke out the old stock for consumption and replaced it with the new. I never noticed a difference. Nowadays I have quite the collection of various antibiotics, all clearly marked, dated, and stored safely. This may not be ideal but it works for me, and I do feel a bit better knowing I have extra on hand.

      Greetings from Coushatta 🙂

  • coopjoe

    Since I have been refreshing my Go-Kit, I wanted to have some chat on the first-aid kit. As Cassie has stated before, you should get or re-cert your first-aid training with the Red Cross.

    For the First-Aid Kit, its easy to think about the necessary contents. You should break it up into two categories: it should have bandages and it should have medicine.

    For a bare-bones kit, it is recommended to have plenty of gauze, including at least one roll of Kerlix bandages and some non-adhesive gauze. An assortment of banages, butterfly bandages, different-size bandages and an ace bandage should be included. As far as medication goes, Tylenol or a generic equivalent, an anti-inflammatory such as aspirin, an antihistamine such as Benadryl and diarrhea medication would be sufficient for most short-term needs.

    Several pairs of rubber gloves, paramedic’s scissors, alcohol pads, Neosporin, lots of duct tape and a CPR face shield should finish the kit off. If you are in the build it yourself mode, a small Tupperware container can make for a cheap, waterproof carrying case.

    Share some of your additions.

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