Survival Friday: Excerpt from The Green Beret Survival Guide SurvivalFinal

Again, if injured, this can quickly become the number one priority.  When considering first aid, think not only of the body, but of the mind.  As noted in the first case study in the Andes, when the group received the devastating news that the search for them had been called off, that could have easily caused many of them to give up mentally, which leads to a very quick physical deterioration.

In the Civil War, it is now estimated there were 750,000 combat deaths.  Two-thirds of those came from disease.  Of those killed in battle, many suffered survivable wounds but because of inadequate medical treatment, a large percentage of those died.

I started this book discussing the mindset needed to survive.  There is also a mindset needed to live.  Two people with the same wound:  one dies, the other lives.  The difference?  A burning desire to cling to life as opposed to giving up.  One key to this is that everyone on your team has to be positive:  when I see someone on a TV show or in a movie look at a wounded person and go: “You’re really messed up!” I shake my head.  That’s not projecting a positive attitude.

Every member of your team should receive basic first aid training.  This goes beyond the local CPR course.  Frankly, the chances that you will have to perform CPR are higher in day-to-day living then in a survival situation, as other types of injuries will be more prevalent.  A few hours spent going over first aid basics can yield great results.

Spend the money on well-stocked first aid kits.  The two types of supplies that are going to be in great demand in an extreme emergency are weapons/ammunition and medical supplies.  We’ve already noted that you need at least a month’s supplies of whatever medication you take.  If it appears that the extreme emergency will be of lasting duration, getting more of that medication is a priority.

Here are some prepackaged first aid kits:

At the more expensive, more extensive end is this Elite Large Fully Stocked GI Issue Medic First Aid Bag:   Elite Large Fully Stocked GI Issue Medic First Aide Bag

 For trauma, here is a basic kit, The Molle Tactical Trauma Kit:  Fully Stocked MOLLE Tactical Trauma Kit First Aide Pouch

 I also like to have a basic first aid kit in the car and house that actually gets used (and restocked) in day to day living, the Adventure Medical Kit Weekender:  Adventure Medical Kits Weekender First Aid

As with all the products I’m posting, what you really need is to have the expert on your team in each specific area be the one who decides what gear the team needs.

Everyone must understand the priorities of triage:

  • Breathing
  • Bleeding
  • Broken

Check injured people in that order.  It’s the order in which a person dies.  However, like everything else, there are exceptions.  Arterial bleeding (spurting blood) can kill as quickly lack of oxygen.

The ability to treat yourself with basic first aid is critical.  In Special Forces we even trained how to give ourselves shots and IVs.  Many people have died from injuries that were not lethal.  But because they didn’t know how to deal with the injury, panic set in, which leads to shock, which kills.

Stay up to date on physical exams.

A critical part of first aid that many people ignore in survival situations is personal hygiene.  Preventing illness is more important than treating it.

Keys to first aid:

  1. Train, train, train.  CPR, stopping bleeding, stabilizing broken limbs.  All are priorities.  Learn how to recognize and deal with hypothermia and dehydration.
  2. Prepare, prepare, prepare.  Antibiotics are critical.  So are bandages.  Splints.  Medicine.
  3. Learn how to field expedient some supplies.
  4. As part of your Area Study (coming next) you will be familiar with health threats in your area.  Be prepared for them.  This includes not just flora and fauna threats, but environmental ones.
  5. If you wear glasses, have a back up pair, and also back ups stored in your cache.  Even using old prescription glasses is better than nothing.  Don’t throw those glasses away, store them.
  6. When building your team, a person with medical training should be a high priority.