Accidents can happen when you least expect it. Unlike other emergencies, medical emergencies are difficult to prepare for despite being the most likely to happen. Medical emergencies often require immediate attention and quick response times therefore it is essential to have the necessary training and equipment on-hand.
Preparing yourself for a medical emergency is less about learning specific medical techniques and more about preparing yourself mentally for this type of emergency. Assuming you have access to professional emergency care, responding to a medical crisis is all about how you react and what you have to work with. Many people purchase first aid kits for emergencies yet few put thought into how they would actually respond. Begin by imaging emergency scenarios and discussing plans with your family.
Make a Plan
When it comes to emergency situations, it is essential for everyone in your family to have a plan of action. Where do you go? Who do you call? What kind of disasters are you prepared for? Discussing common emergency scenarios, such as a tornado, hurricane, car accident, or fire, can help prevent panic in the future. Medical emergencies require focus and quickness, don’t waste time trying to formulate a plan last minute. Creating a network of loved ones will ensure you always have someone to count on. Delegate tasks and responsibilities to help cover each possibility and make sure to involve your children.
S-T-O-P: Stop, Think, Observe, Plan
- Stop- Put down whatever you are doing to assess the situation. Overreacting can lead to broken equipment and extreme stress while a delayed response wastes time and often leads to panic. Devote your full attention to the situation while making sure your mind stays focused on the task; try not to become overwhelmed.
- Think- Take a moment to breathe and organize information. Narrow your thoughts to the problem and consider all possible solutions. Where are you? Where are your loved ones? What resources are available? How can you travel?
- Observe- Pay attention to as much as you can. Observing the scene can help professionals sort out the cause of the incident. If you have time, evaluate your surroundings as well as the injuries to provide as much information as you can. If help is far away, explore your environments for supplies and improvisations that could help (ex. cordage for a sling).
- Plan- Making a plan means preparing yourself as well as your friends and family. Try to avoid making important decisions without considering each step as well as other possibilities. Emergencies can cause the mind to rush. Consider everything that needs to be done, compartmentalize each task, and organize your resources while delegating to others.
Make a Kit
Having an emergency medical kit prepared ahead of time saves a significant amount of stress and preserves precious time. Unlike traditional survival kits, emergency kits require specific item while other tools, such as a fishing kit, are unnecessary. Surprisingly, a great deal of common survival items can be used in a medical emergency. A parachute chord can be used to create a sling while emergency blankets or a fire starter can help with hypothermia or shock. Consider these essential items as you put together your medical emergency kit:
- List of Medications, prescription and non-prescription
- List of doctors, family numbers and address, family history, and known allergies
- Copies of IDs
- Insurance information, employer information, etc.
- Change of clothes
- Small blanket
- Small packets of common over-the-counter medicines; consider the first aid medicine multipack
- Store a few snacks in a strong sealable bag, like the LOKSAK Odor-Proof Barrier Bag
- Don’t forget to add items for pets, such as Dial soap to clean wounds and backup food
- Entertainment, such as a deck of card, notebook, or coloring book
- Fit everything in a small, lightweight bag such as the medium Alpha Response kit bag
Other Helpful Items
- Add a notebook and several pens to write down observations, questions, or changes
- Keep a small amount of cash for vending machine and parking
- You can also add a prepaid card for higher expenses such as hotel stay
- Make individual checklists for the family that includes a list of needed items in a hurry (clothes, bedding, medicines)
- Make written plan that describes responsibilities for each family member, ex. who is in charge of the pet
Although it seems impossible to plan for everything, communicating and keeping up with emergency supplies will make a huge difference no matter what happens. We recommend you keep several kits in several locations, including your office, car, and camping bag. Be aware of temperature changes in each storage spot, high temperatures can damage medications while low temperatures can affect some liquids. Re-evaluate your emergency plan once a year to check the quality of your items; some food rations and medications have shorter expiration dates than others. Update your family’s responsibilities as you update your kit. Smaller children may be ready for more duties and emergency contacts can often change.
Overall, it takes little time and effort to prepare a medical kit yet some still worry they don’t have the right items. A.S.E. offers several options for emergency medical kits that can fit any budget. Adventure Medical Kits offers a variety of medical kits in different sizes with different price points to meet the needs of any family; add the ultra-light kit to every backpack, the weekender kit to every vehicle, or touch every base with the comprehensive kit. You can also explore a variety of A.S.E.’s own line of medical items to customize your own kit. Whether you purchase you kit or choose to make your own, having this kit means being prepared for an emergency anytime, anywhere.
Jen Morgan 5/11/15
This entry was posted by Brian Greenlee on July 4, 2015 .