Medical Readiness: Proactive Personal Responsibility Reply

Prevention is KeyA message from one of our 36READY team doctors:  Whether your focus is preparing for a major natural disaster or one that is human caused, too many of us focus on two or three areas of preparedness while ignoring or putting off other important issues.  As a friend recently reminded me, “We tend to prepare most vigorously in the areas of our interest.”  Very true.  When we concentrate on one, or just a few facets of preparedness we are often neglecting others which are also critically important.  These deserve our attention, too.  We cannot afford to be myopic when it comes to preparedness.

Medical readiness is such a topic.  Unless your career or vocation is in some aspect of medicine or public health, your medical preparations are probably inadequate.  Having a well-stocked first aid kit is not enough.

Be proactive.  Be thorough.  Make preparedness a lifestyle of readiness.


Prevention is the first step in medical preparedness.

Safety Precautions.  During an emergency situation you will likely engage in activities, and use tools, that are not part of your typical life.  Simple precautions such as properly handling a knife, hammer, chain saw, ladder and other tools which can inflict injury, are a must.  During an emergency situation, medical care may not be readily available, so even simple injuries can become serious as a result of inadequate treatment or infection.

Relatively minor injuries like a twisted ankle can disable you, or reduce your effectiveness at a time when you need every ounce of your physical abilities.  Be safe.  Wear safety glasses, gloves, toe and ankle-protecting boots, as well as and other activity-specific safety gear.  Safety is your #1 priority during an emergency situation.

Expect fatigue.  Stress and physical exertion will increase fatigue, and the onset of fatigue.  Fatigue mixed with hazardous activities, tools and equipment is a situation ripe for disaster.  When possible, frequently rotate heavy physical work among several individuals.  This will delay the onset of fatigue and help heighten attentiveness.


Stay Hydrated.  As the tagline of the most popular water bottle/bladder manufacturer reminds us, “Hydrate or Die.”  This isn’t an empty slogan.  After air, your next priority for survival is to drink water.  Generally, at least 100-oz of water per day for an adult, much more as the temperature or exertion increases.

Adequate hydration is critical for your health, additionally so if you are engaged in manual labor, hiking, or operating in a hot climate.  Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are very dangerous but entirely preventable conditions.  The likelihood of either condition can be significantly decreased with frequent rest breaks and adequate water (and mineral) intake

Naturally, the water you use must be potable (i.e. safe for drinking, cooking and brushing your teeth).  Unsafe water can kill you.  If it doesn’t kill you, it can make you extremely ill with diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

During periods of exertion or high temperature, add to your water a Gatorade-like sports-drink powder product that is high in electrolytes.  Recipes for homemade electrolyte-replacement powders can be found on the Internet.  They typically include Kool Aid for flavoring to make it palatable to children, sugar, electrolytes and salt.


Get Physically Fit.  Strength and stamina may be life-saving attributes in an emergency situation.  With almost any disaster your physical abilities will be taxed.  Moreover, those who are physically fit and suffer an acute illness or injury almost invariably recover more quickly, more completely and with less medical intervention than those who are physically unfit.

Fitness requires consistency, time, perseverance during fatigue, and a mindshare commitment.  With your physician’s approval and guidance, setup a slowly graduated program to improve your overall fitness.  If you have not been getting exercise, start with a daily walking program or other aerobic exercise, alternating days with resistance (weights) training.

Many of us know how and what to do, yet we fail to consistently apply our knowledge. If you don’t know what to do, get your physician‘s help or find a certified trainer with a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) degree.  Private gyms are oftentimes better than big chains.

The time is now.  Add exercise to your daily schedule as if it is an important appointment.  It is.  Recruit a friend to join you; together you can help each other remain consistent.  You are more likely to faithfully exercise if you are doing it with someone.


Lose Excess Weight. Morbid obesity is a common and serious medical disorder involving excessive body fat, but simply being overweight by 15-20 pounds can also create health risks.  Excess body weight increases the risk of other health problems.

Stress and new levels of exertion during an emergency situation can be deadly for an overweight person.  Excess weight also interferes with basic physical activities such as breathing, sleeping and walking.  It will be a serious handicap in a scenario where everything is being accomplished by strenuous physical activity.

Those who are significantly overweight are at much greater risk for developing other serious disorders, too.  This can include health problems such as:  diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, chronic heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux disease), gallstones, degenerative arthritis, and even stroke and many types of cancer.  Medical conditions such as these can reduce your survivability during even a minor disaster, so do what you can now to improve your health.

Ask your physician for help in maintaining a 2-3 month supply of the medicines you need.  This may be a life saver during a disaster.  Notwithstanding, if your medicine is left behind or damaged as a result of a disaster, or the situation is protracted and you don’t have access to a pharmacy, your health problems may proliferate explosively.  Weight loss is a simple way to mitigate these potential problems.

Excess weight isn’t just a health risk; it may also reduce your ability to respond to the disaster.  Moreover, as your family and friends try to help you, it may increase their risk, too.

If you are overweight, schedule a doctor visit and start dealing with this problem today.  Lose the weight.  It can save your life and maybe the life of your loved ones, as well.


Eat Right.  Our bodies require high quality nutritional sources to run all of our bodily systems.  Even if you are typically health conscious about diet and nutrition, you may not have access to the foods you normally eat.  A change in diet can cause stomach upset, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea.  Keep medicines for these ailments with your food supply.

It is difficult, but nevertheless important to be nutrition-aware during an emergency situation.  Read food product labels, be aware of calorie intake (a minimum of 1,200 calories for most adults), and do what you can to maintain a balanced diet that includes fiber (and plenty of water).  You may ordinarily avoid fats and sugar, but these may be advantageous if your situation involves stress or exertion.  Alertness and good decision making are aided by a balanced diet.

An extended period of dietary deficiency can also produce serious illnesses.  The classic example is scurvy, a disorder that was literally killing British sailors who were at sea for extended periods.  Scurvy, caused by a lack of vitamin C, was easily prevented once sailors were given citrus fruits and other foods high in this vitamin. (For British sailors, a daily ration of limes was added to their diets.  As a result, the “Limeys” no longer suffered from scurvy.)


Take a Multivitamin.  Consider taking a daily multivitamin, now, and rotate a supply through your Emergency Supplies Kit and GO-Bag.  Since vitamin products degrade quickly when exposed to heat, light and moisture, keep this in mind when you select your storage method and location.

It’s not just advertising “hype” that multivitamins can enhance health, particularly for those who don’t eat nutritionally well-balanced meals.  Keep in mind, too, that people have different nutritional needs.  For example, growing children have different nutritional needs than adults, as do pregnant women and women in their reproductive years.  Seniors need age-specific multivitamins or supplements.

Though some physicians and dieticians dismiss the need for vitamins and supplements, most people find them helpful.  Today, most of our foods are over processed or prepared in a way which significantly decreases their nutritional value, so taking vitamins and selected supplements seems to provide some added “nutrition insurance”.

With the help of your physician or a competent advisor, decide what multivitamin is best for you; your health needs and your environment.  Since many major brands are useless because they fail to dissolve fast enough to be absorbed by your body, test each vitamin and supplement you are considering.  To test absorption, put the vitamin or supplement in a glass of room temperature water and wait 30-minutes.  If the pill has not dissolved in the glass, it may not dissolve in your stomach.

* As with medicine, protect children from unauthorized access to vitamins.

Selection of Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements.  If you and your physician think that it is safe to take these products, do your own research.  The websites for manufacturers of effective vitamins and nutritional supplements will contain more than marketing hype.  For example, the website for “Life Extension” ( includes information on clinical research conducted using their products, blood testing services, articles on specific health concerns, a helpful online magazine which includes erudite articles, and evidence that their products are routinely referenced in independent medical and health journals.

Vitamin and Supplement Details:  Multivitamins can be a cost effective way to cover all the basics, but you may also want to include nutritional supplements for specific health goals.  The following information is for an adult, and is provided only as an example.  We include it here to help you formulate your own plan.  What you take, and the dosage, should be determined as a result of your own research, and validated in consultation with your physician.

Vitamin C, 1,000 mg/day.  Vitamin C boosts the immune system and promotes rapid healing of connective tissue injuries (cuts, sprains).  Some nutritionists advocate much higher doses, especially during a disaster scenario.  However, with a normal diet that contains vitamin C (citrus fruits especially), 1,000 mg/day is generally considered adequate.

Zinc, 50 mg/day.  Reported to be a significant immune system booster.  Do not exceed a dose of 50 mg per day as a higher dose can produce adverse effects.

Magnesium, 500 mg twice or three times per day.  Magnesium helps to keep blood pressure normalized.  It also helps decrease the risk of stroke and heart attack and helps prevent muscle cramps.

Fish Oil, 2000-8000 mg/day.  Fish oil is an effective anti-inflammatory, and also has effects similar to mild blood thinners.  These two beneficial effects may help decrease the risk of heart attack and brain attack (stroke).

Other Popular Supplements:  Green Tea Extract, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine).

Are we facing a major national disaster? Reply

The Prayer at Valley Forge, by Arnold Friberg.

Situation:  In the United States we are influenced by a “normalcy bias,” and this hampers our recognition of the ‘red flags’ which warn us of disaster.  These warning signs of the times are usually present before major disasters and emergencies strike, so we need to look for them.  Plus, we need to properly evaluate what we see.  For those of us who want to do what we can to prepare for the future, including disasters and emergency situations, it is imperative that we recognize the key indicators.

This might include simple activities such as monitoring weather reports, or more complex such as seeking-out news reports on economic and social conditions.  When we are armed with this information, we have the opportunity to make informed decisions.  We can formulate a plan and incisively prepare for the future.  At the very least, we can generally avoid the full impact of a disaster.

Since most of our news media is useless for this type of news monitoring, consider using a news consolidator website such as Drudge Report, and trusted independent news sources such as World Net Daily  Using sources such as these, it is a quicker and simpler task to find relevant news stories and track developments.

But first, we must learn to recognize the signs of the times.  (Below you will find a sampling of topics to watch).  Then, we need to have the will  and determination to skillfully prepare, remembering that knowledge without effective action is useless.

The heart of the U.S. problem:

A vast majority of the U.S. population has never faced serious adversity.  This absence of adversity, coupled with the physiological condition of  “normalcy bias,” encourages most people to think that life will continue as it always has, with relatively minor ups and downs but without major change.  We need to recognize this natural tendency, and then overcome it.

We need to look for, and evaluate the signs.

“But He [Jesus] replied to them, ‘When it is evening, you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’   And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’  Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”

Matthew 16:2-4, NASB

What are our signs of the times?  Consider a few of the indicators…

In the U.S. we have out-of-control government spending.  Plus, we have accumulated a staggering national debt which now exceeds our entire annual Gross Domestic Product.  (GDP is $15.5 vs. our national debt of $16+ trillion).  This costs taxpayers $3.9 trillion each year just in interest on this debt.  Inconceivably, despite our financial predicament, the federal government is expanding its spending binge.

The U.S. government now spends more than $3.5 trillion each year on government programs and services, despite the fact that our Income Tax revenue is only $2.4 trillion.  And this total does not include State debt, which adds another $1 trillion to our national deficit.  Consider this—the total assets of all U.S. companies combined, adds up to $25 trillion; while the unfunded liabilities of our government exceed $121 trillion.

The United States is bankrupt—and there’s no one to bail us out.

The magnitude of our problem is epic.  To better understand the scope of our situation, consider this illustration:  If you had established a business the day Jesus was born (two thousand years ago), and you lost $1 Million each day since then, you would not accumulate $1 trillion in debt until the year 2737.

Unfortunately, along with our astronomical financial debt, we suffer under a pervasive public attitude of entitlement, too.  This now controls who is elected to public office.  Political candidates who stress austerity and the need to cut spending are not elected.

Despite the financial precipice which is before us, half of all Americans are still demanding more government-funded freebies.  As these people seek unreasonable benefits, they disregard both their own future and the survival of our nation.  “Tax the rich” and other painless solutions have no basis in reality, yet placebo cures continue to be touted.  Head-in-the-sand delusional thinking with self-centeredness reigns, so our ‘normalcy bias’ has become increasingly dangerous.

When serious adversity arrives, it will be a surprise for most people.  They have ignored the signs of the times, and they will be totally unprepared.

We can expect that when the government finally starts to respond, the first baby-steps of belt tightening will result in rioting.  This can quickly escalate into serious widespread lawlessness, so the government will likely back-off and fail to implement the essential spending cuts.

Less than 1% of the population is prepared to handle the adversity which now seems unavoidable.  For those who are not already prepared, time is short.  Preparation needs to become a priority.

The United States is a divided country, and these divisions are now greater than that which preceded the U.S. Civil War.  

“Compromise” is considered to be the art of politics, but this becomes difficult or impossible when the individual’s foundational principles and basic beliefs are at stake.  With a number of contemporary issues, compromise is literally impossible.  For example, if a Pro Life person believes that abortion is the murder of children, how can that individual ever come to a position of compromise with a Pro Choice advocate?  An agreement to murder fewer children will not pacify either side in this conflict.

We’ve all seen the effects.  When a country has a sufficient number of people who hold strenuously to a different bedrock viewpoint, these factions will become increasingly hostile to each other.  If people with the same viewpoint congregate in the same geographic area, this leads to natural division.  But when people from one area take resources from the other group to advance the abhorred cause, it is perceived as theft.  When one group seeks to impose their agenda or subvert the beliefs on the other, this is seen as something akin to guerrilla warfare.  This conflict is not diminished even if these actions are accomplished under the color of law.

Similarly, when one group sees the Constitution and Bill of Rights as inviolate, and yet another sees them as a “living document” and malleable, and subject to modification when expedient, this is another conflict which can’t be solved by compromise.  It requires the laborious Constitutional amendment solution, a process which those who disrespect the Constitution are unwilling to accept.  For the former the Constitution is the cornerstone for all other laws of the land, while the latter group sees it as an inconvenient obstacle to overcome.  Again, there is no compromise position.

Today, many Constitutionalists recognize that they do not have an obligation to obey any law which is clearly out of step with the original intent of the Constitution.  At the same time, the other group continues to use sympathetic activist judges to pass unconstitutional laws which facilitate their social agenda.  This leads to disrespect for the law, a condition which is intensified when the U.S. Attorney General and Justice Department openly refuse to enforce the laws they don’t like.  This puts the bedrock principle of justice and the rule of law at risk.

Developments such as these are more than divisive, they involve different foundational principles on which to build the nation and society.  

Widespread disputes such as these which have their basis in core beliefs, are indicators of coming hostilities.  The incidents and clashes rooted in these foundational differences are spreading seeds of division into the U.S. population.  Once planted in the hearts of fellow countrymen, they will either produce healthy social transformation and reform, or destructive resistance and rebellion.

When opposing factions become frustrated, they often work to manipulate the law to their own advantage.  This is seen as subversion by the other camp, and these laws or regulations become signs of oppression.  When a group’s sense of justice is offended, open hostility and civil disobedience is not far behind.

We are now seeing the development of both real and perceived oppression, but the tipping point may be reached by economic crisis, not an escalating trend of social dysfunction.  Patience and tolerance will become brittle, perhaps to the breaking point, once adversity surfaces.  Hardship and affliction seem unavoidable, and open hostilities are becoming increasingly likely.

Signs of the times which lead to social upheaval are often not the result of one factor such as an economic meltdown.  It is a combination of factors which produce the perfect storm in a society.  And, this confluence of events can produce disaster quickly.

Like a watchman on the wall, we need to monitor our growing financial crisis, the growing Constitutional discord, issues which are perceived as relating to justice and justice denied, and any new incident which might quickly fan these glowing embers in the tinderbox of social discontent.

This smoldering tinderbox may be fanned into fire by an unrelated problem.  When combined, overnight these can “tip” our frail economy into disaster.  Here are some unrelated issues which have this disruptive “tipping” potential: 

We are suffering under a dramatic decrease in the value of the dollar.  Salaries are stagnant, and the buying power of most Americans is diminishing.  The cost of food, fuel, and other essentials is increasing, requiring changes in lifestyle.  Some people will resist these changes.  Additionally, at some point a large number will have insufficient resources to meet their basic life-sustaining needs.  During this period, family debt may rise to unsupportable levels, and bankruptcies will become a far larger problem than mortgage foreclosures.  Consumers will eventually riot once a sufficient number of people are adversely effected, or the added burden of a massive number of debt defaults will accelerate into widespread corporate financial default.

The role of government is expanding; personal liberty and privacy diminishing.  Politicians are using race and class warfare to manipulate voters.  Historically, this technique easily spirals out of control and produces unintended consequences.  The activities of our elected officials are no longer transparent and visible to the citizenry.  Special interest groups have inordinate influence.  We have conflicting laws, and overbearing government agencies.  This makes it difficult and costly to engage in routine business.  This creates an environment of uncertainty, instability, and distrust which inhibits business growth and economic recovery.

Disruption in shipping systems will adversely affect the availability of goods.  Whether instigated by union strikes which lock-down our ports or trucking companies, or by skyrocketing fuels costs or fuel shortages which make transportation unprofitable, the reduction and delay of shipments to our stores may create a buying panic.  Combined with other “fear” factors, this may initiate a domino effect.

Our welfare and education programs don’t work.  Young people graduating from school are unable to find the jobs and salaries they expected.  Nationally, unemployment and those who have become discouraged and given-up looking for work, is a predicament for more than 23 million Americans.  Last year the number of families on food stamps grew from 17 million to 47 million.  A seventh of the nation apparently can’t feed itself, and this number is growing rapidly.

Our borders are porous, acts of terrorism are on the increase, and there is a worldwide resurgence of  al Qaeda; militant Islam is expanding rapidly.  Iran will soon have nuclear weapons, and they state their intention to annihilate Israel, Jews, Sunnis, and Americans.  U.S. and Western governments have failed foreign policies of appeasement which project decadence, weakness and vulnerability.  The number of radicalized Muslims is growing exponentially as a result of the Madrasa school movement, which actively teaches students to hate all non-Muslim people.  The world is becoming increasing unstable, additionally so as these radicalized Muslims believe it is their duty to conquer the world.

At this same time, we are experiencing an increase in the number and severity of natural disasters.  We are also facing a growing risk of pandemics.

Christians are denigrated, anti-Semitism is increasing, and the biblical principles on which our nation was founded are intentionally hidden.  More Christians have been martyred in our lifetime, and more people now live in slavery, than in all prior history.

The institution of marriage and family are under attack, and we sacrifice unborn children on the altar of convenience.  Moral and spiritual decay is rampant, and those who extol virtue are publicly ridiculed.

Our news media suppresses truth, and mainline churches embrace political correctness at the expense of biblical truth.  And, we have a citizenry which Madison Avenue has coerced into mind-numbing busyness and trivial priorities.

These problems of the U.S. are mirrored throughout the world.  We are all facing an increase in economic and social instability, and the collapse of nations.

Can we continue down this path and maintain normalcy?  Absent divine intervention, collapse or major change is inevitable.   This may occur in a few months, or in a few years, but absent revival and painful austerity, we are quickly progressing down a path which leads to crisis and social unrest.

How will this play out?  What will happen?  No one knows.

What we do know is that we can’t depend on our government to solve our problems.  For example, even after our recent experience with hurricane Katrina, we still weren’t prepared for hurricane Sandy.  In both cases, we had warning, but still our government and fellow citizens failed to adequately prepare.  These are powerful reminders that we can’t depend on our government to solve our problems.

The United States government is preparing for major upheaval.  Here are two of the many documents which illustrate this effort which is unprecedented in scope:  US Army manual on emergency internment camps for US: FM_3-39dot40-USArmy-InternmentResettlement , also just one of the many Executive Orders issued by the U.S. president: National_Defense-Authorization_Act-March16-2012-ExecutiveOrder-PresidentObama.  Yet, despite the billions of dollars now being spend by the government on preparations, FEMA, Homeland Security and the other agencies that are preparing, will not be able to cope with a major incident.

It’s up to us.  We must become self-sufficient and self-reliant.

Since we have the ability to recognize the signs of the times, we have the opportunity to get ready.  To get ready, we must embrace each aspect of preparedness.  We must prepare financially, prepare with provisions, and we need to prepare to defend ourselves and our family.

Are you equipped and ready?  Are you self-sufficient and self-reliant?  Do you have a plan?  Are you ready for an extended period without being able to shop for what you need, without the protection of the police and fire department, and without any government assistance?

What are you going to do?  Will you delay, effectively putting your head in the sand?  Will you bemoan our state of affairs and complain to your friends, and wring your hands and fret about it?  Or, will you actually prepare, and help others become prepared?

Are you sufficiently prepared?  Are you ready to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a future which is unlike our past?

— Sig Swanstrom

2 Chronicles 7:14
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
God is in the business of changing hearts — including our own.  As the above picture of George Washington reminds us, we must put God first.  We must be righteous and humble, and fervently pray for God’s intervention, His Guidance, and His help.
God provided General Washington with miraculous assistance on many occasions.  Not the least of which was that the rag-tag troops of the United States were able to conquer England’s army, at that time the world’s foremost military machine, as well as well-trained and experienced mercenaries.

Prayer of George Washington,  New York,  June 8, 1783

“I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.”

The above prayer was sent by Washington as a “Circular to the States.”  It was delivered to each State governor for distribution to the people of the United States.