Basic First Aid And Beyond
The disturbances created by
emergencies and disasters often bring a range of injuries with them.
Depending on what has occurred, the problem can be as small as a cut finger or
as serious as arterial bleeding. However, it should always be kept in
mind that even relatively insignificant injuries can become serious if they are
not treated promptly. The unsettled conditions can also cause physical
ailments that should be dealt with as quickly as possible.
Everyone should have a first aid kit available at all times in order to take
care of minor cuts and bruises. The kit should contain bandages, gauze
pads and rolls, adhesive tape, antibiotic cream, tweezers, and sterile water
for washing cuts and scrapes. A first aid manual is generally included
with most first aid kits, and this should be gone over before any trouble
happens. If there is no manual included, purchase one separately.
Poor quality water can cause illness during an emergency, and your kit should
contain medications that will stop diarrhea and reduce fever. Besides
these items, it would be a good idea to have a supply of electrolyte restoring
powder on hand, as this can help with dehydration caused by diarrhea, vomiting,
or heat. Also make sure to have a water filter that will ensure a good quality water supply at all times.
A good first aid kit will also contain hot and cold packs which will be very
useful when dealing with sprains or strains.
When The Injuries Are More Serious
There are times when collapsing buildings or other major upheavals can cause
traumatic or life-threatening wounds. These are often injuries or
conditions that will need to be attended to quickly in order to stabilize the
An injury to the head, neck, or spine should always be considered to be very
serious. You should try to move the victim as little as possible.
Placing the person on a makeshift backboard (you can use a door or tabletop)
and tying them in place will help keep the injury from getting worse.
Rolled up cloth can be used on either side of the head to keep it
immobile. Other than this, there is nothing that should be done for this
patient unless there is bleeding to be stopped, they should only be treated by
Bleeding, other than small cuts, can present a problem with blood loss.
While a deep cut or slash will bleed freely, the really dangerous bleeding is
that associated with an artery.
You will be able to tell the
difference because arterial bleeding pulses as the heart beats. This must
be stopped fast to prevent the person bleeding to death. Pressure points
where the arm meets the body and in the groin will often help to stop bleeding
when pushed upon. If absolutely necessary, a tourniquet can be
applied. There are also some products designed to stop heavy bleeding
quickly, such as Celox and QuikClot. Both of these products will stop
Shock is a very serious condition that should be dealt with as quickly as
possible, as people can die from shock. Simply put, the absence of blood
to the body causes it to begin to shut down. While bleeding is the
primary cause of shock other things, bacterial infections of head injuries can
also put a person into this state. Place the victim on their back and
control bleeding, if this is necessary. Elevate the feet 8 to 10 inches
and maintain a normal body temperature, putting a blanket on the person if they
are cold and protecting them from the heat if they are hot. Do not give
them anything to eat or drink. Professional help should be sought as
quickly as possible.
For more serious injuries, the START II Trauma Kit offers more then just band aids. Unfortunately, serious injuries can happen during a disaster. This kit includes everything from solar blankets to ice packs and everything essential to keep any injury under control until a professional medic is seen for help.