With climate change and natural disasters happening worldwide and more frequently, now might be a good time to think about being prepared in your own home for the unexpected. This could be in the form of coping with medical emergencies, keeping dry and warm or having food and water supplies for an indefinite period. You only have to remember Hurricane Katrina and how people had to fend for themselves in New Orleans - sometimes in appalling circumstances – to realize the necessity for being prepared.
If you live in a rural area rather than the city center, it can be a lot easier to organize long term preparations especially if you have land and space. In the latter case, you should already be growing your own food and keeping chickens for your own free range eggs. The less sophisticated your lifestyle, the easier it can be to survive when something really goes wrong.
Medical Emergencies which can arise at any time
- A spoon of cayenne pepper mixed in a glass of water will often bring a person out of a heart attack.
- Learn to do chest compressions instead of the now outdated mouth to mouth resuscitation.
- Learn the Heimlich manoeuvre for choking.
- Broken bones need care. For a compound fracture (where the bone is sticking out) you need to stabilize the bone and not let it go back into the body. When not a compound fracture, you can safely reset the bone or put a splint on it so it cannot move.
- First and second degree burns respond well to Aloe Vera which is a very useful home remedy to keep handy. Third degree burns should be covered to keep the air off while at the same time watching out for shock and the chance of secondary infections. Third degree burns often do not hurt because the nerve cells have been so affected.
- Bee stings can cause anaphylactic shock in rare cases when medical attention becomes crucial. Scrape the stinger out using a credit card rather than tweezers that can further inject more poison into the body. Those who have a history of an allergic reaction to bee stings should always carry emergency allergy medication which should be injectable as swallowing may be impossible.
- If shock is a symptom, lay the person flat while elevating the feet by about 12 inches and keep the patient warm (not too hot or too cold).
- Learn how to suture a bad cut. You can practise on a thawed chicken using a steady hand (and a strong stomach!). When faced with the real thing, clean the wound with 2-3% food grade H²0² or flood with ionic silver before stitching.
Supplies on hand which should be stored in a cool, dry place
- At least two weeks' supply of drinking water in addition to a Berkley system to convert water, a water purifier or water filters.
- Plenty of food such as cans with a can opener; specialist dehydrated meal packs; dried foods such as oatmeal, rice, grains, organic cereals; long life milk; packets of raw nuts; several jars of peanut butter; raw honey and molasses; tea bags; Ketchup; olive oil and coconut oil (for their lasting qualities); dried fruits; protein drinks (eg large jar of whey); granola/energy bars, large container of vinegar (white distilled – useful for cooking, preserving, first-aid and/or cleaning).
- Kerosene lamps with their own fuel supply.
- Distilled spirits (vodka, rum etc) which can be used for medicine and even for bartering in times of emergency.
- Batteries, matches (waterproof) and candles.
- Wind-up radio/cell phone charger.
- Basic toiletries, medical supplies and first aid supplies.
- Basic camping gear, sleeping bags and blankets.
- Emergency bag packed ready for sudden evacuation if absolutely necessary for your own safety.
- Keeping vehicles always at least ¾ gassed up.
Flight or fight?
Although sometimes in a disaster it is necessary to flee (and be suitably prepared for such flight), remember it is often safer to stay where you are in the place and community you know. Even with a vehicle you cannot possibly carry everything you need to stay safe and prepared while gasoline supplies might become non existent for a time. At home you can store your food, emergency first aid supplies, communications equipment, self-defence items of your own choice, solar battery chargers, cooking gear, instructional books, garden seeds and whatever else you might need to survive an economic collapse or a natural disaster.
This is just a taste of how you can start to be prepared. There is much more you can learn if you read, research and put into practice.