One of the scariest aspects of a post-disaster scenario is the lack of medical care we may be able to access.
Clinics and hospitals might not be functional if the electrical grid goes down, and even if they are, they will be short staffed and overloaded with patients.
If we’re suddenly cast into crisis mode, we’re going to wish we had kept up with all our doctor’s and dentist’s appointments. We’re also going to lament the fact that any medicines we take on a regular basis will run out all too soon.
And if we haven’t put together an extensive first-aid kit, we’re going to wish we had a lot more medical supplies than we do.
Fortunately, the stuff has not yet hit the fan. There is still time to prepare for this possibility, but that time is now.
You and your family need a medical preparation strategy to go along with all your planning for emergency food, water, clothes and other essential items.
Here are some of the steps you can take to be as prepared as possible:
- Ask your doctor for “advances” on your medications. Explain to him or her your interest in preparedness and your desire to have at least three months’ worth of medications in hand. Assuming none of those meds have expiration dates shorter than that, there’s no reason why you could not do this with most medications. There’s no telling how long a crisis will last, but entering that situation with three months’ worth of medications sure beats three weeks’ worth.
- Build a substantial first-aid kit. Think about all the pills and treatments you and your family members use on occasion now, and stock up on each. This can range from acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin to cold and allergy meds, antacids, anti-diarrheal pills and vitamins. Don’t forget to include bandages, gauze, medical tape, burn ointment, splints and cotton balls.
- Store them the right way. With items such as bandages, how you store them is not particularly important, although you should keep moisture away from them. But medications are different, and if they are exposed to too much air, extreme temperatures and sunlight, it’s possible they could lose some of their potency. When possible, keep them in sturdy storage boxes to protect them from the elements.
- Plan to keep it cool. Do you or any of your family members take medications that require refrigeration? That could be a big problem if the grid goes down and an even bigger problem if you have to bug out rather than hunker down at home. Insulin is an example of a med that needs to be kept between 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit. But some newer types don’t require that, and may be worth looking into. Either way you should own a solar-powered generator.
- Practice basic first-aid techniques. There’s a good chance medical help might be unavailable during a crisis, so the more you can do for yourself or your family members, the better. Maybe you can’t perform surgery, but by taking a first-aid training course, you’ll be able to do a lot more than you might think. It will be worth your time, even if a major crisis never occurs.
- Keep comprehensive paperwork. Your bug-out bag should include documentation for every family member’s health history and current medications. Even if you have everything memorized, you might not be around when someone needs to access that information to help one of your family members, so be sure to include it.
- Learn local disaster plans. The more self-sufficient you are, the greater the chances that you won’t need any relief from government agencies. But it’s better to know what they offer and not need it than it is to not know what they offer and then need it. Find out where emergency shelters are located and what they plan to offer in terms of medical assistance in case of a disaster.
- Plan to help others. You and your family members are your top priority when it comes to dealing with a crisis. But if you have neighbors who are unlikely to be able to help themselves in that type of situation, you might want to include them in your plans. Find out in advance what they might require in terms of medical help in an emergency.