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Emergency Preparedness Series: Part 5 - First Aid and Medical Training

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

One thing to keep in mind as you travel down this path of preparedness is how important it is to source your training from credible people. This holds especially true when it comes to first air and medical training when doing something wrong could be the difference between life and death.

In any emergency, having knowledge of first aid and medical training will obviously make a significant difference in saving lives and providing essential care until professional help arrives. Part 5 of our emergency preparedness series focuses on the importance of first aid and medical training, equipping you with the skills and confidence to respond effectively in critical situations.

Basic First Aid Techniques

Understanding basic first aid techniques is crucial in emergencies. Learn how to assess and manage common injuries such as cuts, burns, fractures, and sprains. Familiarize yourself with the proper methods of controlling bleeding, applying bandages, and immobilizing injured body parts. Additionally, gain knowledge of how to recognize and respond to medical emergencies such as heart attacks, strokes, and choking incidents. I’ve touched on The American Red Cross in previous posts, but it bears reminding that they often offer first aid courses that provide comprehensive training and certification. Even if you start down the path of preparedness and end up losing interest, I can tell you that this would not be time wasted. Being able to recognize a heart attack or stroke could literally save a life or give a person a chance to live a normal life. I remember vividly when I was in the Boy Scouts, I was on a camping trip, and I choked on some food. It was the scariest moment of my young life at the time and an older Boy Scout performed the Heimlich Maneuver on me and saved my life. I’m sure a choking Boy Scout was the farthest thing from what he expected to do on that camping trip, but he was prepared.


You can’t go to many places and not see an AED anymore. They’re so common that not knowing how to use one or being scared to use one really shouldn’t be an excuse. The literature around these devices shows that using them absolutely saves lives. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) skills are lifesaving in emergencies, particularly in cases of cardiac arrest. Learn the proper techniques for performing CPR on adults, children, and infants, including chest compressions and rescue breaths. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the operation of AED devices, which can help restore normal heart rhythm. Again, organizations like the American Heart Association offer CPR and AED training courses that provide hands-on practice and certification.

Wound Care and Infection Control

During emergencies, proper wound care and infection control are essential to prevent complications. Depending on the emergency and the duration of it a wound could ultimately kill you. Something as simple as a cut that you get could become infected and without the proper antibiotics you could run a fever and take a turn for the worse very quickly. Learn how to clean and dress wounds, manage infections, and recognize signs of infection. Understand the importance of hand hygiene, proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and sterile techniques. Resources such as online tutorials from places like the Mayo Clinic and medical sources like Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, medical guides, and first aid manuals can provide detailed information on wound care and infection control.

Medications and Medical Supplies

In emergency situations, access to medications and medical supplies may be limited. It is important to have a well-stocked first aid kit that includes essential items such as adhesive bandages, sterile dressings, antiseptic solutions, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications. There are companies now, like Duration Health, that work with you to purchase medications in advance. They seem to be the big name in travel medication business and with their kit builder they make it easy to build a kit. Once you have your medications it important that you regularly check expiration dates and replenish supplies as needed.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

Understanding how to access and communicate with emergency medical services (EMS) is crucial. Learn the local emergency contact numbers and know when to call for professional help. Familiarize yourself on how to provide accurate and concise information to dispatchers, including the nature of the emergency, location details, and the number of individuals requiring assistance. Remember, timely communication and coordination with EMS will expedite a medical response and increase the chances of positive outcomes.

Continued Education and Training

First aid and medical training should be an ongoing process. Stay updated on the latest guidelines and techniques by attending refresher courses and participating in continuing education opportunities. Join local community groups or volunteer organizations that offer medical training and disaster response programs. Additionally, consider obtaining certifications in advanced medical skills such as advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) or wilderness medicine if you engage in outdoor activities or remote travel.

Part 5 of our emergency preparedness series has emphasized the importance of first aid and medical training in emergency situations. By acquiring essential skills in basic first aid, CPR and AED usage, wound care, infection control, and understanding the role of EMS, you become an asset in providing critical care to those in need. Remember to maintain a well-stocked first aid kit and stay updated with continued education and training. Your preparedness and knowledge can make a significant difference in saving lives and ensuring the best possible outcomes in emergencies.


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