Thursday, March 1, 2012

Emergency Preparedness - First Aid

The tornadoes that ravaged the Midwest yesterday have me thinking about Emergency Preparedness. I've covered shelter, food, and water recently so today I thought I'd share a few thoughts on the importance of first aid training and supplies.

First aid training is important for everyone. We take a few family nights each year and review some of the basic principles. Check with your local hospitals to learn if there are any classes happening in your area where you can actually get certified. Certification is helpful because you can feel more confident in your abilities to help someone, but it isn't required. There are many sources online that can give you the basic information. The red cross site can actually match you up with local classes or provide online classes that cover the basics. Camp manuals for boy and girl scouts also contain great information.

First Aid kits are important. Many of them even come with some basic first aid instructions. Kits are a great place to start, but usually don't have all the things you would need in a true, larger scale disaster. We have added triangular bandages, big pieces of cloth, large gauze bandages, etc. to our first aid supplies just to be better prepared. We hope they will never be needed, but we want to be ready just in case. You never know when the time will hit that you need it.

Just last weekend we went up sledding as a family. A man on an innertube collided with a teenager who flipped and landed face first on the hard snow. It bloodied his nose and scraped his face up pretty badly. His parents were not right there on the sledding hill. He had come with a few of his friends while his parents stayed behind at their cabin. We were the adults that were close enough to help. One of us ran to the lodge to call 911. We also put a call in to his parents - thank goodness the boy was coherent enough to tell us the phone number at the cabin. (Many families don't have phones in their vacation homes. We were thankful that they did and that the boy had the number memorized.) He had flipped so violently that we were concerned about a neck or back injury so we could not move him. We got the bleeding stopped and treated him for shock while we waited for his parents and the ambulance. We will never know the end of the story, but we are grateful we had our basic first aid kit in the car and the knowledge of how to help him until other help arrived.

First aid training is important for all of us. Having the supplies and knowledge available to help brings great peace to those who are hurt and also to those who are able to serve.

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