Emergency survival

Dr. Stan Brewer

With the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, my family has decided to try to be more prepared for potential disasters.  We have started putting together emergency survival (72 hour) kits.  An important thing to think about in any emergency is any medical needs you may have. Every emergency kit should have a first aid kit in it.  Make sure that it has some basic first aid items and that you know how to use them.  A few things to think about are:

  • Sterile gauze
  • Medical tape
  • Scissors
  • Disposable gloves
  • Cleansing agents: soap, baby wipes, hand sanitizer
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Burn ointment
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Eye wash solution
  • Over the counter medications: pain relievers, laxatives, anti-diarrhea medicines, antacids, allergy medicines, etc
  • Thermometer
  • Face masks

If you haven’t already; consider taking a first aid and CPR class.  These courses will teach you the basics of saving a life in an emergency situation.  The Red Cross and American Heart Association both offer classes as well as a variety of local groups. It is also important to consider medical needs that are unique to your family.  Are there medications that you take regularly (such as blood pressure meds) or might need (such as epinephrine pens for allergic reactions)?  Is there medical equipment you will need such as diabetes monitoring equipment?   You may not be able to store this in the container with your emergency kit (for example if it needs to be refrigerated), but be sure it is easily accessible and you know it is something you need to take with you in an emergency.  Also always make sure you have at least a few days worth of your prescriptions as you may not always be able to get more in an emergency. There may be other needs for your family.  For example, do you have infants who need formula, baby food, or bottles?  Don’t put foods in your kit that you are allergic to or cannot eat.  Dehydration and hypothermia can also be real medical dangers.  Make sure you have plenty of water and a simple method to purify water If you need more.  Also be sure you have warm clothes and sleeping bags or blankets that you can take with you.  Finally, it is also important to consider psychological health.  An emergency situation can be stressful so something to help calm and comfort you can be helpful.  There may also not be a lot to do (especially for children) so consider packing a few books, toys, simple games or other activities.  However, being prepared will be best defense against the stresses of an emergency situation – “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30).

72 hour kit

To read more on 72-hour emergency preparedness, click on the following articles:

“The Food in your 72 Hour Kit”

“Evacuation” “First Aid Kit – Contents”

Startling Facts You Should Know About Disaster Preparedness

Gather Emergency Supplies

Featured image: public domain – workers sort rubble in Port-au- Prince, Haiti public image

Emergency kit photo by LDS Intelligent Living

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