In a true survival environment, the ability to render useful first aid to yourself, your family members, and those in your immediate community will be no less important than the ability to procure food. While it is easy under normal conditions to take for granted access to health care, including access to highly-trained physicians, prescription medication, and testing facilities, your ability to utilize those kinds of services and products can be quickly compromised in a distressed environment. Maybe the drug stores won’t exist for a time…perhaps the hospitals will be shut down or otherwise unavailable; even if medical and pharmacy facilities are open and functioning, what about your ability to get to them? Perhaps there will be no means of convenient transportation available for you to go where you need to for any kinds of services like these.
Given all of the unfortunate possibilities that can affect you in a distressed environment, it is imperative that you have the practical knowledge necessary to administer first aid. When I say practical knowledge, I’m specifically referring to that which is learned in a hands-on environment from competent instructors, and where you have to actually show competency in the various tasks in order to pass the courses. Trying to gain your training from books and videos may be better than nothing, but not by much; this area is just too important to be left up to reliance on passive training tools.
For starters…literally…look to an organization like the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org) for training in basic first aid. The Red Cross offers an 8-hour live training for about $65 (at this writing) that gives solid instruction in a variety of first aid essentials, to include CPR and the operation of the automatic external defibrillator (a piece of equipment you might want to have on hand for emergencies).
If you’re interested in taking your training a step further, think about signing up for a course at Medical Corps (www.medicalcorps.org) in Marietta, Ohio. Medical Corps is a unique facility; staffed by a medic, doctor, dentist, and other health care professionals, it exists expressly to provide in-depth training in field medicine to “regular folks." The tuition, at this writing, is $350, and the course is several days in length. A variety of technique and procedures are taught, and the instruction is more involved than what you will encounter at the local Red Cross: plan to learn about suturing, dressing broken bones, pain management…even anesthesia and field surgery.
In a distressed environment, survival will depend as much on the ability to maintain good health and physical viability as on having enough food and water. That may not always be easy to accomplish, but the person who has taken the extra steps necessary to gain solid, functional training in first aid will be way ahead of the others who neglected to plan ahead.
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