Planning for medical emergencies is one of the biggest challenges one faces. This is especially true if the situation will occur with limited outside resources on which to rely. There are several things you can do to improve the odds for yourself and your loved ones, including solid medical knowledge, the leadership skills necessary to create a makeshift hospital, and a comprehensive medical stockpile.
Many people underestimate the immense value an education in a practical field like medicine will have in emergency situations. These types of skills can be bartered for goods and services in addition to being beneficial for yourself and those in your party. Training as a nurse or doctor is obviously going to be at the top of any resident wish list. However, any medical training will include basic skills that could be valuable.
Any career in the medical field will pay well and allow you to make interpersonal connections, receive continuing education, and give you access to information earlier than the general public. All of these are important considerations when preparing for an uncertain future. Be sure to keep any textbooks and potentially useful class materials with your supplies to use for reference.
Medicinal foraging and herbalism are other medical skill sets that will be indispensable for the long-term maintenance of medical supplies. There are local courses in most regions that will teach participants to identify plants native to the area and the best places to find those plants with medicinal and nutritional value.
Herbalism studies will teach people to prepare those plants as effective treatments and remedies for a variety of medical concerns. While many natural remedies are not as effective as their modern-day counterparts, they are far more effective than no care at all. The ingredients to prepare them will also be more readily available if modern amenities are unavailable.
One’s leadership style will play a significant role in how well any makeshift hospital is organized and run, as well as the type of patient outcomes it produces. In times of disaster, everyone looks for one person to take control and make them feel safe. That person will wield substantial power within the community, and knowing how to competently care for others is an excellent starting point.
The list of supplies needed, and the organizational effort required to run a field hospital are immense. Start with basic supplies and build as your training and budget allow. The most important component of successful adaptation will be in the training and implementation of any plans you make. Make an effort to have quarterly or annual preparedness training for everyone who will be working together in the event of a disaster. If everyone knows their role, where supplies are located, and how to handle specific scenarios the real event will go much more smoothly.
It is important to have a portable medical kit as well as a more comprehensive stockpile for larger emergencies. The portable kit should contain everything necessary for basic survival. The American Red Cross is a great place to find resources on a personal kit with basic components. The CDC and the WHO have excellent resources for planning on a much larger scale.
Don’t let the larger preparedness options overwhelm you initially. They are only appropriate after personal planning has reached maximum capacity. However, it is a good idea to begin looking ahead to create a plan for those who think they will want to take the initiative for their personal or local communities.