When you are preparing to survive doomsday, you're going to be collecting much of the same supplies and equipment as every other survivalist out there. Just like me, you're probably going to have a small arsenal of weapons, and through regular training you'll be confident and accurate in their use, so you're ready to defend yourself (and your family) no matter what trouble comes. With all this preparation, too many survivalists have no idea in the slightest how to treat a gunshot wound should they, or someone in their group, take a hit. Now ask yourself this. What would you do in this situation? Would you panic, or did you have the foresight to get a little training? Of course, treating someone for a scraped knee or administering basic CPR is pretty self-explanatory, but now one of your friends is laying in front of you, dying, as their life-blood is squirting out of the gaping hole in their chest that your attackers semi-automatic blasted them with. Pay attention, this article is going to help. But before we get started, you need to be aware that no matter how much you read, plan and study, there is absolutely no substitute for trained medical personnel, especially the first responders and the specialist doctors and nurses who will administer proper emergency care. Don't attempt to treat a wound that's as serious as a gunshot yourself, unless you really do have no other choice. This article is your last resort option, when there's no doctors, hospitals or trained medics left, and you're relying on yourself (and your group) to survive now the SHTF. Treating a gunshot victim revolves around three steps.
- Stop the bleeding
- Treat the victim for shock
- Keep the victim breathing
Stop the bleeding
Once you've got your victim stabilized, the most important step is to limit any further blood loss. Cut away any of their clothing so you can properly address the extent of damage the bullet has caused. If they didn't die immediately (such as the bullet penetrating a vital organ like their heart), they are most likely to die because they simply bleed out. As their blood levels drop so does their blood pressure, and once it's low enough their brain will shut down and they will go into shock, and then die. It's your job to stop this from happening. To do this you need to stop the bleeding. If they've been shot multiple times you may need to cut the majority of their clothing off so you can properly dress each wound, and be very careful with the victim as you do this. Gunshot wounds can also break bones, and unnecessary movement can be extremely painful. Don't ever think about ‘digging out’ the bullet. High powered rounds can travel far inside the body, and without surgical equipment and x-rays, you've going to do more harm than good as you poke around looking for the bullet. Many people have survived with shrapnel and pieces of bullets lodged in their bodies for years. Without the right gear this step becomes rather complicated, and you should have pressure bandages in your first aid supplies. Look for the exit hole, if they've been shot by a rifle or an assault weapon you can expect to find an exit wound about the size of golf ball, but if the bullet has hit bone this may be even larger as the bone fragments tear out the skin and flesh. From this spot, you can expect blood to be pouring out, and if it is squirting or flowing really fast it means an artery or vein was hit. Treat this with a blood clotting powder like Celox or a Quick Clot pack, applying a pressure bandage and then moving on to the entry hole. If you don't have a pressure bandage, you're going to have to hold it down until the blood flow ceases, just make sure that the blood flow stops at the site of the wound and isn't simply seeping into the bandage. If the blood flow is too strong for the clotting powder to work, apply a quick tourniquet so you can properly dress the wound, and then immediately remove it.
Treat the victim for shock
Once your friend has been shot, you need to move quickly to avoid the loss of as little blood as possible. As you treat the wounds, you also need to be careful that they do not slip into shock. Roughly speaking, this is when the trauma that the victim has gone through is so great that their brain is no longer receiving oxygenated blood, and their bodies cannot sustain basic organ function. You can combat this by elevating their feet as you treat their wounds, but you need to pay attention to the warning signs if your victim remains conscious. They may feel dizzy, lose their breath or have shallow breathing, have a racing pulse, or pale skin. Without proper treatment, if your victim slips into shock there is a high chance this will lead to their death. If you're trying to save someone who has lost a lot of their blood already, try elevating their legs and arms, so that the blood they do have is able to flow to their heart and brain. If you have an IV on hand in your bug-out-kit, giving a saline solution or plasma to a victim can help raise the blood pressure levels. If a victim falls unconscious, be ready to immediately begin CPR.
Keep the victim breathing
Once the bleeding stops, get the victim comfortable and quiet and make sure they don't go into shock. You can do this by monitoring their breathing, keeping them lucid and awake by talking to them, and if required seeking out any additional medical assistance. Keep watch for any signs that there is internal bleeding, which could be worsening symptoms of shock, a weakened pulse, as well as nausea and vomiting. Unfortunately without help from trained medical staff, a person suffering from internal bleeding is probably not going to make it. Getting involved in a gunfight is never good for your health, as you have just as much chance of getting seriously injured as the other guys you're facing off against. You're risking your life, and the life of everyone in your group, and our advice is always to keep away from any situations where you're going to find yourself getting shot at. It's just not worth it.