What to Do in a State of Emergency

When Situations Devolve into Anarchy

Imagine this! You’ve been watching on the news politicians that go at one another’s throats, exchanging barbs and trading insults day-in and day-out. Things deteriorate, and before you know it, somebody gets shot at and killed. The country is fired up and society begins to deteriorate. The president and congressional leaders decide enough is enough. They send in the military to effectively shut down the country. Just like that, you’re in a state of emergency.

Don’t Get Caught Flat-Footed

One minute, you’re going about your business, shopping, taking the kids to school, going for walks with your dog. The next minute, there are bullets flying around on the streets and you’re locked indoors rationing food and toilet paper wondering what the heck happened! 

If you’re new to SHTF survival hacks, there’s 2 things you need to do to prepare for life shattering events, in the nature of war and calamity

  1. You need to know what to stock up on, what to pack and how to prepare for such SHTF-type situations.
  2. You need crucial first aid skills to address common injuries that can be sustained during calamities. 

Here are the top 8 things to stock up on during the build up of tensions in advance of a state of emergency:

  1. The number one thing to stock up on is not dry biscuits or rice…. It’s WATER! You can go two weeks without food, but you cannot go 24 hours without water. So stock up on your reserves of drinking water.
  2. Food – And plenty of it. Prioritize dry foodstuffs like rice, cereals, and tinned foods like canned beef and beans. 
  3. Cash is king during emergencies, especially in SHTF events that require you to flee. Hard cash, not digital dollars. Remember, the banks and monetary systems may be crippled or collapse during a war. Also, you may likely be without the internet to be able to do online payments and transfers. For this reason, make sure you have stashed enough cash, making sure to change it into small bills.
  4. Small portable radio and plenty of batteries or solar-charged USB ports. You need to keep up to date on the news, even when the internet is shut off. Worst case scenario, you find yourself needing to flee to remote areas.
  5. Plenty of warm blankets and clothing, as well as waterproof options for everything. 
  6. Pre-packed travel bag that’s tricked out with survival necessities and ready to grab and go in a quick exit scenario.
  7. A first aid kit is a must-have. You should have one at home and another in your bug out bag. You need to have prescription medicine, iodine, bug spray, sunscreen, salt.
  8. Defense and outdoor survival tools and hardware. These includes maps and a compass, waterproof matches, knives, small weaponry and ammunition. 

Most Important First Aid Skills to Know if SHTF

While it’s great to stock up and create an escape plan in a state of emergency, you also need to prepare for injuries. The type of Event will determine your exit, evasion and survival strategies. Different injuries may happen while you’re in survival situations, so it’s important to have some basic first-aid skills. 

The three immediate steps before performing first aid are:

  1. Assess the situation and get to a safe place immediately. 
  2. Avoid putting yourself at risk because you can’t help anyone if you’re also injured. 
  3. Determine the nature and extent of the injury and then implement the relevant basic first-aid measures. 
  4. Get to a place with professional support as quickly as you are able to. This also means that you need to have an idea of where the emergency centers and hospitals are as part of your escape plan preparations.

When SHTF and help is more than an hour away, there are four important first aid skills you’ll need.

1. Cleaning and Dressing a Wound.

Cuts, gashes and scrapes are common injuries that happen in emergency situations. 

  1. The first thing you need to do is stop any bleeding because loss of blood can lead to shock and further complications. 
  2. You will need to lift the body part where the wound is above the heart. The aim here is to slow the blood from flowing to the open wound. 
  3. Apply pressure to slow the bleeding.
  4. If the injury is severe, you may need to apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. (Covered next). 
  5. Once the bleeding has reduced or stopped, you will need to clean out the wound to avoid infection. You can do this using warm water with a little salt stirred in, or iodine. 
  6. After cleaning out the wound, apply iodine and cover with clean bandages.

2. Tourniquet Application

Tourniquets are tight bands used to stop bleeding from an injury to one of your limbs.

Scenarios where a tourniquet would be needed are car accidents, gunshot wounds, deep cuts or a crushed limb. 

Anything that can be tied tightly can be used as an emergency tourniquet for first aid. Think of scarves, belts, straps, shirts, towels or strips of bedding. 

How to Apply a Tourniquet:

  1. Tourniquets are placed on bare skin. You will need to cut, tear, or remove clothing on or around the wound.
  2. For a tourniquet to work, it needs to be placed in a position that’s closest to the heart. This means that you need to estimate a position that’s a couple of inches above the injury. The Red Cross recommends tying the tourniquet at least two inches above the injury. 
  3. Never tie a tourniquet on a joint.
  4. Tie a knot in the fabric. Any knot will do. 
  5. Use a windlass to tighten the tourniquet. You can improvise using a pen or a stick to do this. This step will hurt. 
  6. Keep monitoring the bleeding to see when the flow starts reducing, so that you know when to stop pressure.
  7. Treat the person for shock and get them to the nearest professional medical facility as fast as possible.

3. Making a Splint

In the event of sprains or bone fractures during a state of emergency, it is important to splint the limb to immobilize it. Splints are makeshift rigid devices used to stabilize a limb. They reduce the risk of further injury to the muscles, bones, or joints until professional treatment can be administered.

Makeshift splints can be crafted from everyday objects, as long as they are rigid, straight, or reasonably flat. You can make splints from items such as:

  • Wooden broom stick
  • Rolled up newspaper
  • Plank of wood
  • Broken-off branch
  • Rolled-up towel

If your makeshift splint has sharp edges, you will need to pad the splint by wrapping it into another material. You could also pad the arm to protect it and keep the victim comfortably supported.

How to Apply a Makeshift Splint:

  1. Try not to move the injured limb.
  2. If there is an open wound, you will first need to control any bleeding. Clean and bandage the wound. Controlling the bleeding prevents the victim from going into shock due to loss of blood and also prevents infection.
  3. Place the splint carefully on the side of the limb. The splint should rest on the joint above the injury and the joint below the injury.
  4. Fasten the splint with ties to hold it firmly to the injured limb. It should be tight enough to hold the limb still, but should not cut off circulation.
  5. Avoid making any ties on any wounds or directly above the injured area.
  6. Keep checking the limb for any signs of reduced circulation. If blood circulation appears compromised or reduced, loosen the ties. 
  7. If the person complains of more pain, ensure that the ties are not above the injury and loosen the ties. If pain is extreme, you may need to do away with the splint altogether.
  8. If the injury is on the arm, putting the arm in a sling is also a good idea. Slings help provide additional support and keep the injured arm in place, keeping it immobilized and stable.You can easily make a sling using a piece of cloth or even a long-sleeved shirt. 

4. Performing CPR and Rescue Breathing

Although we’ve left it for last, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is one of the most important first aid skills you should know. CPR basically is a technique that helps you restore someone’s ability to breathe. It’s a technique that manually pumps the heart, and also forces air into the victim’s lungs.

These are the steps to follow to do CPR:

  1. Check for signs of breathing. If the victim is not breathing, then you need to start chest compressions. 
  2. Begin chest compressions. With one of your hands on top of the other, interlock your fingers and use the heel of the lower hand to compress the victim’s chest. The area to compress should be in the middle of the chest. 
  3. Push down just 2 inches into the chest and lift, at a rate of 100 compressions per minute. 
  4. With each downward push, allow the victim’s chest to completely recoil when you lift your hands, before pushing down for the next compression.
  5. Start rescue breathing after a count of 30 chest compressions. First, tilt the victim’s head back and pinch his or her nose to make sure that air is forced into the lungs. We don’t want the air to escape out of the lungs.
  6. Covering the victim’s mouth with yours, breathe a big breath into the airway, down to the lungs. You should be able to see the chest rise. Wait for the victim’s chest to fall before repeating with another deep breath. After two rescue breaths, resume chest compressions. 
  7. Repeat by alternating 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths.
  8. Stop and check the victim for spontaneous breathing. If the victim is still not breathing, continue with CPR, alternating 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths.
  9. Once the victim’s breathing has resumed, ensure he or she is brought to the nearest medical facility for professional care.

Watch for the Signs of an Impending State of Emergency

Whether it’s earthquakes, floods, election or political violence or even World War III, the threat of a state of emergency is always looming. Sometimes we have time to prepare for those SHTF events, and other times we just get caught up because we are too busy to notice the warning signs. At the end of the day, your best bet is to do the Boy Scout thing… Be Prepared

Do you have advice about what to do during a state of emergency? Leave a comment below or contact us directly.
State of Emergency

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