Community Q&A with medical experts

For the recent checklists on how to put together a survival first aid kit and what medical supplies you should keep in your home, we were fortunate to work with some of the leading experts in the fields of wilderness and emergency medicine, with a combined 180 years of experience as teachers, paramedics, and combat medics.

Those experts spent a few days answering reader questions over at one of our favorite forums, Reddit /Preppers. It was a fantastic discussion (and now in the top ~10 posts of all time in that forum) where the experts and other members of the community dove deeper into some of the topics in our articles or discussed specific scenarios.

Some examples:

  • How to get the right kind of training (and where), plus tips on deeper Wilderness EMT/First Responder courses and which ones are worth it.
  • One of the repeated themes was that trauma care in a SHTF situation, where you can’t get a badly injured person to a hospital within about a six hour window, may involve making really rough calls (i.e. limb amputation) or just keeping people comfortable until they die.
  • It’s worth knowing how to wean yourself off of whatever meds you’re on, in case you have to do it when supplies run low. There are tips and tricks that can help you safely taper off of things like SSRIs.
  • Most preppers are aware that expiration dates on medicine don’t typically mean, “it stops working after this date,” but fewer know which medicines the expiration dates matter more for, and why. You also need to know how to tell if meds have gone bad.
  • The experts covered a lot of antibiotics-related material in a number of exchanges, and there’s lot to learn about sourcing, dosage, expiration, and related issues.
  • Austere medicine is about making do with what you’ve got. E.g., ideally you want to flush a wound with sterile water, but if tap water is all you have, it’s better than nothing.
  • It’s critical that you carefully source your medical kit supplies. Counterfeits of many products abound online, so you have to take almost as much care in selecting which retail channels you use to source gear as you do in selecting the gear itself.

There’s so much more in the Q&A, so if you read their IFAK list and are hungry for even more, then definitely go dig in.