Preparing for a Dental Emergency Reply

Emergency-Dental-Repair-dental-first-aidDisasters can become an even greater disaster if you are coping with the pain of a broken tooth, particularly if it is severe pain such as is caused by a broken tooth with an exposed root.  Since a trip to the dentist may not be feasible in an emergency situation, it’s a good idea to include a dental repair kit in your at-home emergency supplies.  You may also want to add a small 1-tooth repair kit to your GO-Bag, and your vacation or business travel bags, too.  Dental problems seem to frequently happen at inopportune times, so we need to be prepared for this potential problem.

The basic components of a dental repair kit can be bought online.  A complete (1-tooth) kit can be purchased for under $15, or you can build your own for $7. 

Since dental emergencies take various forms; a broken tooth, a lost filling, or a crown (cap) that has fallen out, it is important for your emergency dental kit to be both universal and reasonably complete.  At a minimum, it should include: pain killer, dental glue, compact cotton balls (pellets) or gauze, round toothpicks, dental floss, dental wax, and tooth-filling material.  Optional but valuable additions include: medical gloves, a small mirror, magnifying glass, and a small, lightweight flashlight.  (In a bind, you can use Super Glue to reattach a crown).

Inexpensive dental repair kits may not have all of these supplies but they can be a great place to start; augment your pre-packaged kit as necessary.  Emergency repairs of dentures and partials requires additional materials made specifically for this purpose.

At a minimum, GO-Bags should include dental wax which can be used to cover a broken tooth that has an exposed root.  Tooth pain is not just inconvenient; it can create a life-threatening distraction.

In addition to the other obvious problems, tooth pain (or any other pain) will drain your body’s energy reserves at a much faster rate.   You may be able to cope with the pain, but it can nevertheless become a serious impediment to safety at a time when you need to be focused and attentive to problem solving. 

Pre-packaged dental repair kits are not all the same, and professional-grade repair materials are a must, but you don’t need to purchase an expensive kit to get what you need.

Emergency_Dental_Repair-Dentemp-CustomThe 1-2 tooth repair kit illustrated in the photo (DenTemp Custom) was purchased online for $4.85.  It is not complete, but it does have two critically important items, so it can form the basis for building your own kit.  The DenTemp package contains Zinc-Oxide and Eugenol putty, a material which can be used to repair or replace a missing filling or cover the void of a broken tooth.  Zinc oxide forms the putty and the Eugenol reduces inflammation and protects the nerve of the tooth. These are the same materials that many dentists use to bring temporary relief to their patients.

Thankfully, application of these tooth repair materials not only doesn’t require a dental degree, it doesn’t even require any experience.  A good kit will include diagrams and all the instructions needed, so being trained by your dentist in how to use the kit is helpful, but not necessary.  If you are building your own kit, make sure you include printed instructions which relate to the materials contained in your kit.  These instructions can often be found on the product manufacturer’s website.

Since it is difficult to accomplish dental repairs when you can’t see what you are doing, in most dental emergencies it’s easier to have someone else do the work on the damaged tooth.  However, it’s certainly possible to do it yourself.  Many people have accomplished the task alone, with excellent results.

Most dental repairs can be accomplished by touch, but a mirror is helpful if you find yourself alone.  If you have the benefit of having the help of another person, you will find that a lightweight, small flashlight and magnifying glass (or a magnifying glass with a built-in light) will be a great help.

How do these detail repair kits work?

Emergency_Dental_Repair-Kit-DentalMedic-byAdventure_Medicine-2Pre-packaged dental repair kits are not all the same in regard to how complete they are, and what materials are used.  The inexpensive dental repair kits found in many drugstores are typically inferior for emergency use, especially when you many not have access to a dentist for many days.  The first aid kits made by “Adventure Medical Kits” are reasonably complete yet relatively inexpensive, so it’s no surprise that their emergency dental kit is similarly useful (DentalMedic Kit by Adventure Medical Kits, $15).  Be sure to check the contents list of the kit before you make your purchase decision.  Just because the package is larger or more expensive does not mean that it contains a larger quantity of useful supplies.

All the better kits utilize a similar process.  Here is how they generally work:  The area of the tooth which needs to be treated is first dried as much as possible using dental cotton pellets or gauze.  If you have electricity and a hairdryer, consider using it on the lowest setting to thoroughly dry the tooth which needs repair.  Be sure to test the hairdryer first to make sure the air isn’t too hot or forceful.  (Keep the hairdryer at least two feet away from the mouth to avoid problems.)

A completely dry tooth will make it possible for you to achieve a better bond between the broken tooth and the tooth repair material, so take the time needed to thoroughly dry the affected area.  Have all your supplies at hand and everything ready to go before starting to work on the tooth.  If possible, wash your hands with disinfecting soap before starting.  Medical gloves are best, but many people end up removing the gloves once they get into the task–dental repair work requires all the dexterity you can muster.

Once the tooth is dry, the tooth putty from the kit is applied.  Gently tamp it into the damaged area of the tooth with a damp cotton pellet.  Or, use a rounded toothpick after removing its sharp point.  Rather than break the toothpick which will splinter the wood, use a knife to carefully cut the sharp tip from one end of the toothpick.  Next, remove any wood debris from the toothpick surface before proceeding.  Now you can use the flat, non-pointed end of the toothpick as a tool to tamp the tooth repair material firmly into place.

To fill the void of a lost filling, or to repair a broken tooth, the putty should be mixed fairly dry, making it possible for you to roll it up into a ball that doesn’t stick to your fingers.  Place the ball of repair material onto the broken (dry) area of the tooth, and then shape it to cover the entire region of the break, being careful to keep it off of the smooth, undamaged area of the tooth.  (Since the tooth repair material will not bind as well to the smooth, undamaged surface of the tooth, extending excess repair material onto this area can result in the repair being less durable, and not lasting as long.)

The filling material can be shaped using rolling action on the little cotton ball or gauze roll, or with a round toothpick or even your finger.  Make sure that the filling material is level or lower than the tooth above or below it, as even after the material is cured, you don’t want chewing to add unnecessary pressure on the temporary filling.  When in doubt, make the filling lower than the surrounding teeth.  The filler material does taste bitter, but it’s not toxic in these small quantities.  The bad taste will go away in less than an hour.

It is important to keep excess pressure off of the repair for the first 20-minutes.  With most of these kits it takes 60-minutes to achieve a complete “cure” of the filler material, after which you can resume drinking and eating.

Emergency_Dental_Repair_Travel_KitSee the manufacturer’s directions on how to use their products.  The instructions incorporated into this article are generic, and are provided simply to illustrate how easy it is to use these do-it-yourself dental repair kits.

The dental repair materials contained in kits such as these are for temporary dental repairs, so the repair material is designed to not fully bond to the tooth, thereby making it easy for a dentist to remove the temporary repair.  So it is easy to understand why these kits do not provide a durable long-lasting, long-term repair.

Emergency dental repair kits were originally designed for people who travel to remote areas of the world, or regions without easy access to competent dental care.  The objective of the manufacturer is to temporarily solve common emergency dental problems, giving you time to return home to your dentist, or at least to an area where you can get professional dental care.

Since these materials do not provide for a permanent bond with the tooth, temporary repair materials can soon fall out if there are no undercuts on the tooth, or if the broken tooth does not have a rough surface to help the materials adhere.  Yet in optimal conditions, these temporary dental repairs can last 3-months or longer.

Longevity of the repair is best achieved by completely drying the tooth before making the repair, by proper mixing of the repair material, and after the repair is made, by careful eating.  Avoid chewing on ice, foods which contain seeds, hard or sticky candy or other hard or sticky foods, and in other abuses of the repaired area.

Emergency_Dental_Repair-Kit-FieldtexIf you are preparing emergency supplies for a family or group, it is a good idea to have a more elaborate emergency dental kit, or at least several of the  smaller kits.  Keep in mind that an inexperienced user can easily need two of the small, basic kits to accomplish the repair if the initial effort was not successful.

For those wanting to prepare for longer-term emergencies, sailing adventures, jungle treks and other activities which may prevent you from visiting a dentist for an extended period of time, more kits or a larger kit will be needed.  If longer-term care is your preparedness goal, it is best to consult with your dentist and get their help in preparing a kit specifically for your purpose and expected duration.

A 2-week GO-Bag and all in-home emergency supply kits need to contain at least one dental repair kit per person.  These kits are small and lightweight, but since space in a GO-Bag is a premium, you may choose to not include a dental emergency repair kit.  If this is your decision, at least include a small piece of dental wax.  Like duct tape, dental wax can be used for many emergency and repair purposes, in addition to providing relief to a painful, broken tooth.

High Demand for Potassium Iodine Reply

Potassium-Iodine-65mgWhen this current flap dies down, consider buying potassium iodine as a just-in-case drug for your emergency medical kit.

The current rush to purchase (by civilians) is likely due to Japanese nuclear debris which is now washing up on the beaches of the west coast of the United States.   This development, combined with the U.S. government’s huge order for an unspecified purpose in the same time frame, demonstrates that existing stockpiles will instantly disappear if this emergency drug is ever needed; thus the need to maintain your own supply.

Liquid potassium iodine which is often sold for this purpose, is generally inadequate to the task.  If you don’t have medical expertise to guide your purchase selection, you may want to follow the U.S. government specs which are included below.

A U.S. government purchase solicitation recently posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, indicates that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has sought an emergency purchase of  potassium iodide tablets, 65mg each, packaged in unit dose packages of 20 tablets.  This DHS purchase was for 700,000 packages (of 20s), for a total of 14 million tablets.  The supplier must deliver these packages of medicine before February 2, 2014.
Drug Purpose:  Potassium iodide helps block the absorption of radiation by the thyroid gland which is easily damaged by exposure.  These tablets will not stop severe radiation poisoning, but they may reduce the damage to a human body which has been, or may become exposed to lower levels of radiation.  
These tablets have traditionally been used to aid victims of nuclear accidents, and proactively by members of the military and emergency workers who may become exposed to radiation in the near future.  
Under current regulations, U.S. state governments which have populations living within 10 miles of a nuclear plant, are encouraged to maintain a supply of potassium iodide.  However, this is not a federal mandate.  

The current purchase quantity by DHS of these tablets is unprecedented in recent years and reflects a perceived need for this drug domestically.  (

DHS does not stockpile supplies intended for military use.)  Information regarding the size of the U.S. military’s inventory and recent purchase activity which may have been made by the Department of Defense, is not available.

Portable Personal Records for Emergency Situations Reply

Micro_SD-CardOne aspect of disaster preparation which never seems to get any attention is access to important personal records.  These may be urgently needed during a time of disaster or emergency, but without advance planning you may not have what you need.

Basic records which are critically important include basic identification such as copies of your driver’s license and passport, as well as proof of insurance, basic medical records and copies of prescriptions.  You should also have photos of each family member, as well as emergency contact information for family and friends.

Copies of essential records should be kept in three places:

1.  Secure protection in your home or place of business;

2.  Off-site in a safe deposit box of a financial institution; or, encrypted electronic ‘cloud’ storage with a company that has its servers in a different state; and

3.  An ultra small portable data-storage device which is kept in your wallet, pocket or purse.  Since most people are well aware of the needs in the first two categories where there is an abundance of information, this article focuses on the third category which is essential but often overlooked.

Photocopy IDA few pages of photocopied documents such as your driver’s license, medical cards, and passport, can (and should) be kept in a Ziploc bag stored in your emergency essentials knapsack (Go-Bag). This is a good start, but it isn’t nearly enough.  Since we live in a data-dependent world we also need a digital data storage solution which makes it possible to safely carry dozens, or even hundreds of pages, of truly essential records.  To do this, we need an ultra-small and durable mobile device.

For many people, low-cost is also important, so this article provides both our recommendation as to the best option, as well as the best low-cost solution.

Whatever data is essential to your everyday life and well-being needs to be backed-up and securely stored on a portable device which you keep with you.  (Examples of these types of documents are included at the end of this article).  Since size and weight are factors which limit practical implementation, this article explains how to responsibly meet this need with minimal inconvenience.

These same documents, and more, should be kept in a safety deposit box or uploaded to cloud storage in a different city or country, but it is still advisable to keep a copy of essential information with you at all times.  Disaster often strikes unexpectedly, so access to stored data can be terminally interrupted.  For example, if a bank is destroyed in the same storm as your home or place of business, the documents stored at those locations might be gone forever.  Similarly, cloud (Internet) storage of data can be damaged or lost, or it can be inaccessible when you need it.

Thankfully, the miniaturization and low-cost of data storage and advances in data security, now make it possible to carry this essential information with you at all times.  Even if your house or office is burned in a fire, damaged as a result of flood or storm, or otherwise inaccessible because you have fled the area to escape from turmoil, or simply because you are on vacation, important records can still be quickly accessible as long as you have access to a working computer.

This article provides ideas on how you can safely and securely store essential records in a small lightweight package, so that you can keep this important information with you at all times.  Various tools can be used to accomplish this, but this article describes what we consider to be the two most viable solutions.

The process starts by using a scanner to copy your important records, transforming them into PDF documents which can be opened with any computer.  At the end of this article you will find links to free software for making and reading PDF files, and for the products mentioned in this article.

Ultra-Small Data Storage Options

For many, they see their laptop computer or smart phone as the place to store this vital information.  That’s fine, but since these tools are prone to theft and damage, and security of the data is iffy even if you use security apps, this isn’t sufficient.  Keeping this data on an encrypted memory card or USB device is far more secure and even more portable.

Micro SD CardOption #1:  Memory Card (Approx. Cost, $10)

Memory cards such as those used in digital cameras are relatively inexpensive and ideal for data storage as well as photo storage.  Card readers for these memory cards are abundant, but adding an extra-small USB card reader to your GO-Bag is nevertheless a good idea.  In an emergency situation the data contained on your memory card can be accessed using almost any computer—as long as you have a card reader along.

At little more than ½-inch and less than the weight of two aspirin, the ultra small memory cards like the SanDisk ‘micro SD card’ (15 mm x 11 mm x 1.0 mm, 0.5 grams), is a portable data marvel. These tiny cards can store from 8 GB-32 GB of data or more, so they are ideal for this purpose.  Be sure to buy a well-known brand card like SanDisk as quality is important.

Transport and Packaging of Your Memory Card:  After you’ve added data to your memory card you need to protect it.  To protect the card from moisture and damage and still keep the package small, insert the card into a tiny Ziploc bag such as those used for electronic components or jewelry.  For added protection, consider adding a piece of rigid plastic to keep the memory card from flexing, and then wrap the plastic bag with a small piece of tinfoil to shield it from static, etc.  When you are finished, this little package can still be smaller than ¾-inch (20mm) in size and less than one gram in weight.  Using a piece of duct tape, secure the tiny package to the inside of your wallet for safe storage and ready access, or to the underside of your wristwatch or some other item you wear daily.

Total cost of this project (depending on the storage capacity of the memory card you select), can be as little as $10 (USD).  Note: Remember to always encrypt confidential data; see the below section on “Data Security is Essential” for suggestions.

IronKey USB DriveOption #2: ‘IronKey’ Encrypted Flash Drive (Approx. Cost, $37+)

Designed originally for the U.S. government, defense contractors, and to meet the needs of those who transport secret corporate data, an IronKey flash drive (aka/ ‘USB drive,’ or ‘thumb drive’) is the most secure portable data storage method available to the general public.  And, it’s small enough to carry on your key ring.

An ‘IronKey’ data storage device requires a password to open it, and the data stored on the drive is fully encrypted.  Even the least expensive IronKey model, the D80 (4GB $37; 32GB $116), automatically encrypts anything you add to the drive.  Since it uses the high industry standard of 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption, it is very secure.  At only 3 x 3/4 x 3/8-inch (75mm x 19mm x 9 mm) in size, and designed to ‘plug and play’, you can insert it into the USB drive of any computer to quickly access your stored information.

If you want an even higher level of protection, select the IronKey S250 or D250 USB drives (capacities range from 2GB-64GB, $109-599).  These have an even higher level of encryption, 256-bit AES Cipher-Block, chained-mode (government-grade) encryption, plus an impressive tamper-proof design of the drive itself.  For routine daily use of your personal computer, as well as during a disaster situation when you are using someone else’s computer, these models include the IronKey ‘Identity Manager’ which provides a safe and quick method to store and retrieve all of your passwords.  In regard to durability, all of the IronKey USB drives are water resistant, but the S250 and D250 drives are waterproof and extra durable.  Follow the link at the end of this article to compare the different IronKey models.

ironkey-KeyRing2Summary: When kept on your keyring, your IronKey USB device is available for daily tasks such as routine data transfer between computers, as well as for recovery of your personal records after a disaster.  Though not as compact as a Micro SD card, the IronKey USB data drive (models S250 or D250) is the option which provides the most durable and secure, portable data storage.

For Info on the D80, visit: http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/secure-portable-storage/d80.html

For Info on the S250 and D250, visit: http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/secure-portable-storage/250-personal.html

*** If convenience, ease of use, and easy-setup are important to you, a ‘IronKey’ flash drive is your best choice.  If cost or small-size are your most important consideration, then use a Micro SD Card to store your important records.

Data Security is Essential

If you are storing your data on a memory card or anything other than an IronKey USB drive, confidential data needs to be encrypted.  This is essential for keeping your data secure even if your storage device has been lost or stolen.  Identity thieves would have a field day if they got their hands on your personal records, so all confidential data needs to be password protected and encrypted before you make it portable.

Some manufacturers of USB drives have models which password protect the data.  In our experience, this is inadequate.

At the very least, use the encryption software which probably came with your computer.  With both Microsoft and Apple computer operating systems there is an encryption option built into the software.  Though far from ideal, this software can be used to encrypt the data on a memory card or portable drive.  This protection is far better than nothing, but there are better alternatives.

To learn more about the software that is built into your computer’s operating system, use the “help” feature of your operating system to learn how to access and use the tool.  On PC’s running the various versions of Microsoft Windows operating system, the file encryption feature is referred to as ‘EFS’ (Encrypting File System).  If you are using a Mac computer, you will find the encryption software by searching for the term ‘FileVault’.  Keep in mind that if you utilize either of these methods to encrypt data on your portable drive, you will only be able to access your data by using the same type of computer (PC or Apple), and in some cases, the same version of the operating system.  This might seriously limit your ability to access your data after a disastrous event.

To achieve a much higher degree of data security, use the free encryption program, ‘TrueCrypt’ on your memory card or portable storage device.  This free software provides true 256-bit encryption, and it will also run on nearly all desktop and laptop computers.  For more information and to download TrueCrypt encryption software, visit: http://www.truecrypt.org/.

TrueCrypt encryption software provides a very high level of encryption, plus it makes it possible to hide encrypted files, so even a hacker who has accessed your memory card won’t be able to find the files.  On the TrueCrypt website, be sure to read the ‘Beginner’s Tutorial,’ which is part of the TrueCrypt User’s Guide.  In it you will find instructions on how to set-up the software in ‘portable mode’.  This method loads the TrueCrypt encryption software onto the memory card (or flash drive), and lets you partition the drive.  This makes it possible for you to run the encryption program on nearly any computer, and lets you store both encrypted and unencrypted data on the same drive.  The minimum size for a memory card used for this purpose is 8MB, but a larger memory card will be needed if you plan to store much data.

Whether you use a memory card such as the SD Micro Drive or a flash drive (aka/ ‘USB drive,’ or ‘thumb drive’), remember that you must routinely have it with you, so that your data is available to you when disaster strikes.  An encrypted drive that is left behind may not be a security risk, but the work of preparing it will have been wasted if you don’t have the drive with you when you need it.

What Records to Store and EncryptWhat Records to Store: Encrypted and Unencrypted

Even the most basic personal data such as your driver’s license should be encrypted.  However, you may want to make some information, such as photos and your address book, accessible without entering a password.  At the very least, an unencrypted text file which includes your contact information will make it possible for a lost or stolen drive to be returned to you, and emergency contact information available to authorities, so that they can notify your loved ones if you have been seriously injured.

Remember to add PDF ‘reader’ software to your memory card or USB device, too.  You may need to borrow a computer which does not have this software installed (see links at the end of this article), and the owner of the computer may not want you to download software onto their computer.  Or, the Internet may be down making a download impossible.

It’s up to you to decide what records you store, and what you encrypt, but don’t let a lengthy list delay implementation.  It is much better to have an encrypted drive with just a little information stored on it, than to have nothing at all at a time when it’s needed.

Start with preparing your memory card or USB drive’s encryption.  Then, use a scanner to make copies of your most important ID cards and documents, perhaps starting with what you carry in your wallet.

These scanned records should be stored in PDF format, so that your documents can be read, and even printed if necessary, using any computer.  The below list isn’t your list, it’s simply included to stimulate your thinking, to help you develop your own list of important documents.  If your list is long, don’t let the enormity of the task prevent you from starting right now.  Store your wallet documents now, and get started with the project today.  Continue it as soon as you can.

Consider, too, that you might want to include the same records for your spouse, children, or other close family members or trusted friends.  It’s a simple task to make two identical sets of emergency records, and two identical portable drives.  You might even use the same password on both drives so that you and your spouse can both access either drive.

When you make two identical memory cards or USB drives, your spouse will be able to carry a backup of this same essential information.  If you are separated by circumstances, each of you will have what you need.  And, if one or the other is lost, damaged or stolen, you will both have what you need on the surviving device.

Records to Consider IncludingRecords to Consider Including: 

  1. Driver’s License
  2. Company or Employee ID
  3. Concealed Handgun License (CHL) and Firearm Records
  4. Passport (The two page spread which includes your photo)
  5. Social Security Card
  6. Medical Insurance Cards
  7. Dental Insurance Cards
  8. Organ Donor Card
  9. Pharmaceutical Prescriptions or Prescription Medicine Labels
  10. Medical History & Immunization Records
  11. Copy of your Last Will and Testament
  12. Vehicle Insurance
  13. House/Office Insurance Documents
  14. Titles for Vehicles and Property
  15. Property Descriptions with Serial Numbers
  16. Professional Licenses or Certification Documents
  17. Credit Card Numbers & Contact Info for Card Companies
  18. Banking Information, Including Account Numbers and Passwords
  19. List of Other Access Codes and Passwords
  20. Important Membership or Affiliation Cards (Particularly those which give you permission to occupy facilities and property which you might want to access during an emergency)
  21. Letters of Permission to Occupy Land or Facilities
  22. Address Book (Contact information for family, friends and colleagues)
  23. Photos (Be sure to include close-up, passport-like images of yourself, family members, key friends and colleagues that you might want to find during an emergency situation.)
  24. Physical Description (Yourself, family, friends, and colleagues)
  25. Fingerprints and copies of dental x-rays
  26. Maps and Directions

To download a PDF copy of this article for printing, click here:   Portable_Personal_Records_for_Emergency_Situations.

Links to Products Mentioned in this Article: 

– Free PDF Maker Software:  Girdac  http://www.girdac.com/Products/PDF-Converters/Free-PDF-Creator/Info/Features.htm

– Free PDF Reader Software:  Adobe http://get.adobe.com/reader/

– Free Encryption Software:  TrueCrypt http://www.truecrypt.org/

– Cloud Storage:  Dropbox is one of many options https://www.dropbox.com/

– SanDisk Micro SD Cards, General Information: http://www.sandisk.com/products/memory-cards/microsd/   These cards and card readers are readily available online, as well at electronics stores, and many other retailers such as Costco, Target, and Walmart.

– IronKey D80 Datasheet: http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/resources/documents/Ironkey_D80%20Hardward%20Encrypted%20Flash%20Drive_Sellsheet_Letter.pdf

– IronKey products are not readily available from retailers, but they can sometimes be found at online stores such as Amazon.com.  The below links are to the IronKey official website:

– IronKey Purchase Info for D80: http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/secure-portable-storage/d80.html

– IronKey S250 and D250 Datasheet:  http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/secure-portable-storage/250-personal.html

– IronKey Purchase Info for S250 and D250: http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/secure-portable-storage/250-personal.html

– IronKey Products by Type: http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/resources/documents/IronKey_Product_Diagram_Apr2013.pdf

– IronKey S250 and D250 Comparison Chart:  http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/resources/documents/IronKey_S250_vs_D250_SellSheet.pdf

You’ll Need More Than a First Aid Kit Reply

First aid and CPR training offered by the Red Cross and hospitals, is a good place to start.  But “first aid” is only the first level of care.  In a major disaster or extended emergency situation, you will need more.  Much more.

Standard first-aid kits, and conventional first-aid training programs, assume that you can quickly get the injured person to a hospital for treatment.  Unfortunately, this may not be the case.

In a disaster or protracted emergency situation you may not have access to a doctor or hospital.  Therefore, it is important to obtain first aid training, plus some additional emergency medical training.  Likewise, a traditional first aid kit is a fine place to start, but you will need to augment it with additional supplies.

It’s worth noting that most medical doctors are also not equipped to deal with the lack of access to a hospital, or at least the medical equipment of a clinic and the drugs of a pharmacy.  Hopefully, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals will take the necessary steps to prepare to serve in an emergency environment, but don’t count on it.  It may be the ordinary person who gains the skills, and assembles the basic medical equipment, medicines and reference materials, which will become critically important in an emergency situation.

Many aid organizations, particularly those operated by Christians, provide training for short-term mission teams who do volunteer work in developing countries.  These organizations can be a great help to you, too.  Through them you may be able to acquire no-nonsense medical and health training, reference materials, and advice on supplies.   Remember, in a long-drawn-out emergency situation, your area may become like a Third-World community.  These people are the experts.

Christian aid organizations and socially responsible publishers such as “Hesperian Health Guides” offer free PDF downloads of some of their most sought-after medical and health-care books and booklets.  Purchase these materials now, or, download and print them now, as you may not have access to a computer during an emergency situation.

If you plan to download free resources, make a donation if you are able, but don’t miss this opportunity to secure these important resource materials.  Visit the Hesperian website to order books, as well as to download free materials such as these books: “Where There is No Doctor,” “Where There Is No Dentist,” “A Book for Midwives,” “Sanitation and Cleanliness,” and “Water For Life.”  http://hesperian.org/books-and-resources/

If you are looking for a book to add to your medical supply kit, a great one-book resource is “The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook,” by medical doctor Joseph Alton and his nurse wife, Amy.  This can be ordered through regular book outlets such as Amazon, or directly from the Alton’s website:  http://www.doomandbloom.net/

Their http://www.DoomAndBloom.net website also has free video and podcasts teaching materials, and Joseph and Amy Alton also conduct survival medicine seminars around the country.  Also available for purchase on their website, is various medical kits and equipment such as trauma bags and suture kits.

Another new book, but unfortunately one we’ve not yet had the opportunity to review, is “Armageddon Medicine, How to Be Your Own Doctor,” by Cynthia Koelker, MD.  http://armageddonmedicine.net/

If it’s not practical for you to sign-up for an emergency medical class right now, at least buy the Red Cross manual, “First Aid–Responding to Emergencies.”  Plus, one of the two books mentioned above, and start building your Emergency Medical Supplies Kit.

As previously mentioned, a standard first-aid kit isn’t enough.  You need a good first-aid kit, but that is only one part of your Emergency Medical Supplies Kit.  However, purchasing a first-aid kit which was designed for backpackers who hike into remote wilderness areas, is a good place to start.

Adventure Medical Kits made for those who enjoy wilderness backpacking, are great for GO Bags.  These can also serve as the foundation on which to build your Emergency Medical Supplies Kit.

These first-aid kits for wilderness backpackers, such as the Adventure Medical Kit depicted in the photo, are also great for inclusion in your GO Bag (Get-Out-Of-Dodge knapsack / evacuation kit).  However, you will still need to add some additional medical and health supplies.  Responding to a disaster involves more than backwoods hiking.

Retailers such as Recreational Equipment offer Adventure Medical Kits and related supplies (www.REI.com). http://www.rei.com/search?query=adventure+medical+kit   Many of the online companies which supply police and fire departments and EMT personnel, will also sell medical supplies to the general public.  (For example, BOTACH Tactical:  http://botachtactical.commerce-search.net/search?keywords=first+aid).

“QuikClot ACS Advanced Clotting Sponge TraumaPak” are used for gunshot wounds and in other situations to stop serious bleeding.  They have been used to save many lives, and 1-2 of these bandages should be included in every emergency medical kit.

Gunshot wounds and injuries involving serious bleeding, whether caused by an accident or as a result of violence, require specialized supplies for effective treatment.

The “QuikClot ACS Advanced Clotting Sponge TraumaPak” made by Z-Medica (see photo), has saved many lives because they are so effective in stopping bleeding.  Every emergency medical kit should contain at least two of these QuikClot bandages and one chest-wound sealing bandage.

Military surplus stores sometimes sell genuine government-issue medic kits, and these can include these items at a much reduced price.  However, beware of damaged supplies and counterfeit knock-off kits which might contain substandard products.

Another disaster-situation injury to prepare for is dog bites.  In a protracted emergency situation, abandoned pets will assemble into packs, and they will attack people, especially small children, in an attempt to secure food. Dog bites will become common, along with the more usual broken bones, cuts, and eye injuries which are routine to any emergency situation.

Keep this in mind:  The contents of a typical first aid kit were selected based on the assumption that the injured person will quickly receive paramedic care, or be rapidly evacuated to a hospital’s emergency department or trauma center.  As a result, buying a first aid kit may be a great place to start your emergency medical preparations, but it’s only a place to start.  A standard first-aid kit simply isn’t adequate.

In addition to specialized medical products such as QuikClot, in an extended emergency situation expect to encounter contaminated water and infection-breeding sanitation problems.  This requires different supplies and training.  Simple infection will likely claim more lives than the injuries themselves.

Be sure to do what you can to avoid injury and illness.  Don’t take unnecessary chances.  Be proactive in regard to injury and disease treatment, including the treatment of small cuts and abrasions, minor injuries and ailments.  Poor health also leads to poor decision making, which can result in additional health and safety dangers.

Make sanitation important.  Don’t just filter water, purify it.  If possible, drink water throughout the day, consuming at least 1-ounce of water for each pound of body weight.  (A 150-pound person should consume at least 150-ounces of water, daily).  Proper hydration (electrolyte balance) is essential for maintaining health.

When walking any distance, periodically check your feet for blisters. Apply a Moleskin-type product to protect sore areas before blisters develop, or on top of blisters to help them heal and to protect against infection.

If possible, wear dry and clean socks and underwear to minimize the growth of bacteria.  Don’t hike in wet shoes or boots, as this can result in blisters which can burst and easily become infected.

Blisters can also develop as a result of friction between your foot and footwear, a problem further aggravated by thin socks or  inadequate shoes or boots.  Use moleskin or tape to protect the areas of your feet where blisters tend to form.  Without proper treatment, a simple blister can develop into a debilitating injury.

Take what steps you can to avoid becoming chilled or overheated, and force yourself to eat, even when you don’t feel like it.  When possible, eat nutritious and balanced food, which includes protein, carbohydrates, fruit, roughage and fats.  Each meal probably won’t be balanced, but try to achieve balance in your day’s consumption of food.

When possible, wash your hands frequently, and maintain proper health standards in your environment, particularly before eating and after relieving yourself.  Bury waste to minimize contamination, and to reduce the transmission of disease by flies and other insects.  Establish a habit of not touching your mouth with your hands, and not mopping the mouth area of your face with a rag or handkerchief.

If you are with other people, watch each other closely for signs of health and emotional problems; talk with each other about health issues.  Prevention is better than the best treatment.

Develop an emergency medical kit which includes medical equipment as well as supplies for treatment, not just first aid; and sanitation and water purification, along with a lightweight medical reference book, in addition to an ample supply of basic items such as band aids and antibacterial soap.

If you encounter even a small cut, abrasion, or blister, be extremely aggressive in treatment.  As soon as possible, scrub the affected area thoroughly with soap and clean water, apply an antibacterial treatment, and protect the injured area from contamination.  Replace soiled bandages and re-clean the wound whenever it becomes necessary.  Check the wound frequently for indicators of infection.

Broken bones may be splinted initially, but the bone will need to be set within a few hours.  Deep wounds need to be scrubbed thoroughly, ideally with a small sterile brush made for that purpose.  Bleeding needs to be stopped as blood loss can quickly create a serious health risk, even when the injury itself does not appear to be life threatening.

You may not have access to professional medical help for a very long time.  Be prepared to accomplish wound treatment, suturing, and bone-setting.  Your life, or the life of another, may depend on you, your training and your supplies.

If possible, add a wide-spectrum antibiotic such as Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) or Doxycycline to your Emergency Medical Supplies Kit.  Get advice, and a prescription, from your physician.

Though most antibiotics only have a shelf-life of a year, it’s worth asking your doctor for a prescription for a wide-spectrum antibiotic such as Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) or Doxycycline.  Purchase it and keep it in your GO Bag (Evacuation or Get-Out-Of-Dodge knapsack), along with the instructions and the pharmacy label.  Take note of the expiration date, and replace promptly to maintain potency.  (Be sure to store medicine and all dangerous items away from children).  Get instructions from your doctor, but in some situations you may want to administer an antibiotic regimen as part of the initial treatment, before the victim even has the opportunity to demonstrate symptoms of infection.

If you or a family member needs other medications, such as for a heart condition or diabetes, be sure to maintain a supply of these medications in both your GO Bag and your Emergency Supply Kit.  Keep a copy of the prescription documents, and other essential medical records, in your kits.

If it’s not practical to store these medications in your GO Bag and Emergency Medical Kit, attach a note to the bags with a reminder to get the medicine out of your refrigerator before leaving home.  Use “Blue Ice” and an insulated bag to store medicines which require refrigeration, and keep the bag out of direct sunlight.  In a vehicle, keep the medicine in the vehicle’s trunk, rather than the interior of the car which will super-heat if the vehicle is parked outside.

For centuries, essential oils have been used to aid healing. These have a place in emergency medical kits today because these healing oils can be used for a number of different purposes.  For example, Clove Bud Oil is routinely used as an anti-inflammatory, but when combined with zinc oxide powder it can be used as a temporary tooth filling.

Also, don’t discount the value of naturopathic remedies.  Common food items such as cinnamon, honey, sea salt and baking soda, have many medical and health-improving uses.  And, various organic Essential Oils have a reputation for aiding the body’s natural healing processes for both injury and disease, as well as for other practical purposes.

For example, Tea Tree Essential Oil and Lavender Essential Oil are often used as an antiseptic, and for antimicrobial and antifungal treatments.  Peppermint Essential Oil has been touted as useful as both an antiseptic and for antibacterial use.  Clove Bud Essential Oil has been used as an anti-inflammatory, insect repellent, and even for replacing a lost filling in a tooth. (1-2 drops of Clove Bud Essential Oil, added to Zinc Oxide, will form a paste that can be used to fill a broken tooth.  Bite down and hold for 10-minutes to give the compound a chance to harden.)  Other foods, spices and Essential Oils have long been used for many medicinal and health-enhancing purposes.   Whereas a medicine such as Neosporin is a useful antibiotic for cuts and abrasions, one essential-oil can be used for a dozen different purposes.

Since stress and changes in eating habits often result in stomach upset, heart burn, constipation, or nausea, be sure to include remedies for these problems in your medical kit, too.

Changes in your natural environment may call for the use of sunscreen lotion, insect repellent (100% DEET), tick-removal tweezers, medical mask (particulate respirator), safety classes, small magnifying glass, scrub brush for cleaning wounds, skin lotion, disinfectant, sanitation aides, and water purification devices or tablets.  These supplies are important, too.  Often used consumables such as antibacterial soap, band aids and medical gloves, need to be stockpiled in greater quantity.

Animals get injured and sick as well as humans, so don’t forget these creatures as you prepare for medical emergencies and health needs.  Your veterinarian, online vet supply store, or farm/ranch supply co-op can help you prepare to meet the health needs of your pet, or other animals in your care.

For lists of medical supplies which are recommended for disaster preparedness kits, refer to the Doom and Bloom or Armageddon Medicine books listed above.