What's the Perfect Amount of First Aid Supplies
When it comes to being prepared, I tend to do things with a little overkill. I'm a keen practitioner of the special forces motto, "two is one and one is none." For survival, this is a fundamental rule to follow, and I've actually got more than one backup for a few of my disaster plans, should something go wrong. As an example, let's talk bugging out. In my garage sits two four-wheel-drive vehicles, as well as two off-road motorbikes and a couple of bicycles. They're all ready to go, right now, so no matter what happens, I've got transport, and can get my family to safety. Today though, we're going to talk about medical supplies. Now we've all seen the posts. Type "medical supply checklist" into Google and you'll get a ton of hits, outlining everything from what you need to pack in your bug-out-bag, to lists detailing what needs to be in your survival cache at home. The trouble is, most of the people writing these are using theory as a basis for their recommendations, and in the real world, theory just doesn't cut it. If you follow a checklist and stock only what it tells you, you're not going to have enough. My advice for building out your cache of medical supplies is that you can never have too much. Of course, start with a basic checklist, and once you've got everything you need instead of doubling or tripling that amount (as you would do with water or firewood), multiply the stock you have by ten. At a minimum. You need at least ten times the amount of medical supplies you think you do. In a medical emergency, you'll be surprised at how fast your supplies drop. You will use so much of everything it's almost impossible to comprehend. If you're facing a friend with a large wound, it's going to be gushing blood and it'll take a ton of gauze and bandages to get it to clot. It's necessary, because without these the victim will bleed out, but after the chaos of the emergency you're going to look around and realize that single accident has probably reduced your stockpile of medical supplies to almost none. Speaking from experience, it takes a ridiculous amount of gauze to stop a large wound from bleeding out. The blood simply keeps coming, and in a large wound will continue to bleed (even once it's clotted) for days on end. Now imagine you've used all of your gauze and bandages on that first accident. What happens next time? This brings us to the original question in this post. Have you got too many first aid supplies? Definitely not. But I do have some good news for you. The supplies you're stocking up on for your medical kit will have an expiry date many years in the future, so they will last for an insanely long amount of time. Plus, these kind of accidents don't normally happen on a regular basis (thankfully). My routine is to continually add a handful of supplies to my growing medical cache each week, so I'm gradually growing my stockpile without dropping hundreds of dollars at once, or having my local supermarket cashier wondering what the hell I'm doing with 200 rolls of bandage on any given weekend. I've been stocking up on everything, from disinfecting alcohol to what I need for cuts and scrapes, as well as specialist equipment like do-it-yourself splints and casts, and a massive supple of antibiotics and medicine so I'm covered against almost everything possible the world could throw at me. This also includes equipment. In a crisis there will be no access to basic medical facilities, so even simple things, like checking your blood pressure or dealing with a severe allergic reaction become impossible. Take the steps now to buy the equipment you need, so you're not left wanting should you find yourself in a crisis. All of this gear is stored in my basement, in my supply cache sealed in plastic tubs that ensure no moisture will get in and ruin the supplies. When you're buying your own gear think about your family, as well as any pre-existing conditions of your extended family members (who you may end up caring for), but don't forget your pets or any livestock. Ensure you've got everything you need to keep every member of your family fit, healthy, and fix up any accidents they may get themselves into. But none of your supplies will help if you're not able to use them. In addition to buying more and more first aid supplies and equipment, attend a class and get formal training. Now this won't stop an accident from happening, but it will ensure you're at least a little prepared to handle it if it does. In the stress of an emergency, your brain will revert back to the training you've received, making it far easier to deal with a crisis or perhaps even save the life of one of your loved ones. The key though, is to learn all of this before something happens. Take the time to do your research and practice your first aid skills now, so you've at least got the fundamentals of a plan in place should an accident occur. You can't prepare for everything of course, but the more you've prepared, the better off you will be, should something occur. Now this all may seem like overkill, and I truly hope that I never need to use any of my medical supplies or training, but should an accident occur, I know I've taken adequate steps to prepare myself with the right skills, as well as the equipment and supplies to treat a wide variety of different conditions. Your supplies are like an insurance policy to protect you when nothing else will, so start stocking up now, before it's too late.