Sunday, February 24, 2013

Lesson Nineteen: Survival Medical Kit

Everybody who's anybody writing about survival has taken a shot at concocting their medical kit for whatever survival-esque scenario one might imagine. Some of them are great, some are at least okay, and some are, to be charitable, rather optimistic.

The kit recommended in Lofty Wiseman's SAS Survival Guide is hard to beat for simplicity, utility, and compactness, even 25 years later.

Tylenol and ibuprofen, for pain relief/fever.
Imodium for diarrhea.
Broad-spectrum antibiotic.
Benadryl - an antihistamine.
Water sterilizing tablets.
Antimalarial prophylaxis meds.
Butterfly bandages.

He also lists potassium permanganate, which is a PITA to obtain in the U.S., but which has multiple excellent uses.

Note that several other items in his recommended survival kit like the mirror, matches and candle, needle and thread, scalpel/razor blades, magnifying glass, condom, salt and sugar packets, and pen and paper all have medical utility as well, at least secondarily or in extreme situations.

Given more space, I'd add

Neosporin antibacterial spackle.

Old school:{A military field dressing.
                 {A muslin triangular bandage.
                 {A 4" Ace type wrap.
 New School:[Combat Gauze hemostatic dressing.
                    [Israeli 4" bandage
                    [Asherman chest seal.

If I couldn't find the field dressing, a small stack of gauze 4x4s, a 3" gauze wrap, and a roll of medical tape would substitute.

As a rule, you should be able to stuff all of that, or whatever you concoct into something the size of a military 3-magazine pouch for M-16 mags, or something equivalent. (It's about 4x4x9 inches, for reference.) In an emergency, you'll either need a lot less, or a lot more, so that should do for 75% of situations. The other 25%, you won't use it at all, or you'll need to improvise what you don't have, or you're not going to make it no matter what you have. Unfortunate, but true.

If you're thinking about carrying less, when the shortfall becomes apparent, you'll have no one else to blame for your imminent decline except your own short-sightedness.

Don't be that guy.

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