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The following guide will cover the required items for chainsaw operations, tree felling, and debris removal. This guide is intended for someone new to using a chainsaw, the occasional chainsaw user, human powered alternatives, and anyone interested in clearing debris following a storm. The example equipment used in this guide can also be used for firewood processing, it builds an initial tools baseline for woodsman operations, and focuses on personal protective gear required for safe operation. Lastly, when dealing with high powered cutting tasks and tools that need to stand up to a beating, it is best to purchase quality items the first time. The quality items recommended in this guide are more costly than cheaper alternatives, but you should never skimp on personal protection or quality materials; to include chain and axe metals.
If you are new to tree felling, chainsaws, and other woodsman tasks, Surefire Woodsman offers two excellent DVDs on the subject (The Informed Woodsman and Timber Felling: Pro Tips).
The key to medical preparedness is planning for the possibility that you may not be able to receive professional medical treatment when an injury or illness presents itself. In the present, we simply go to a family doctor, urgent care center, or emergency room when medical assistance is needed. The harsh reality is that these securities can be interrupted rather easily. Mother Nature can disrupt our normalcy bias with little to no warning; Hurricane Katrina (2005), the 2011 Joplin Tornado, and Hurricane Sandy (2012). These storms have proven that traveling to a doctor may not be an option during an emergency situation, especially during the onset of the disaster. Roads could be congested, closed, or blocked, emergency and medical responders could be overwhelmed, or you may have been directed to Shelter in Place. So, what happens if you suffer a major injury during this time period? Do you have the required medical supplies on hand and the knowledge to bridge the gap until you are able to receive proper medical care?
Some wounds are left open to heal, instead of being closed by sutures, staples, or strips. This process is called Secondary Wound Closure; also known as secondary intention and spontaneous healing. In fact, secondary wound closure is the natural process for how our body deals with healing wounds. During secondary wound closure, the body gradually closes and heals on its own, through wound contraction by myofibroblasts. Without getting too far into the “medical weeds”, think of myofibroblasts as the things that conduct tissue repair through regeneration. During secondary closure, the wound heals by layers and ultimately closes itself by rebuilding tissue.
If you want to properly close wounds, then you will need the appropriate medical supplies. Of course, you can use anything that you can get your hands on, but the goal of medical preparedness is to ensure you have the correct supplies for the task. First, you need to choose if you will build kits or keep your supplies in their original packaging, or a combination of both. If you have a mobile or outdoors mentality, we recommend building kits instead of having bulk supplies. If your goal is to set up a home clinic, then leave your bulk supplies in their original packaging; packaging materials for kits cost additional money. Additionally, there are different types of wound closure kits, from small kits to get the job done to large kits just like the emergency room may use.
Primary closure involves using sutures, staples, or strips to close a wound and is an important aspect of wound management. But, before we get to that point, you must first understand the different types of wounds.
The Individual First Aid Kit, or IFAK, has become a “buzz word” of the Preparedness and Survival communities; conduct a simple YouTube search for IFAK to see what I mean. The IFAK is standard issue for every U.S. service member deployed in combat, and given my combat experience as a soldier and defense contractor, I can tell you that IFAK’s save lives daily. Hopefully, that series of events you are preparing for is nothing like what our brave men and women face on foreign battlefields every day. But, if you ever need to treat a major traumatic injury, at a minimum you will need an IFAK.
In your capacity as the medic for your retreat or Bug Out Location (BOL), or in any situation you may find yourself in, you may have a requirement to use an IV to treat a patient. Intravenous therapy, or IV therapy, is the administration of liquid substances directly into a vein. The word intravenous simply means "within a vein", but is most commonly used to refer to IV therapy. IV therapy can be intermittent or continuous. Continuous administration is called an intravenous drip. Compared with other routes of replenishing liquids, the intravenous route is the fastest way to deliver fluids and medications throughout the body (Source).
Download our Handout: Introduction to IV Administration
Right, so you have been designated the "Medical Officer/Doc/Medic" for your group’s retreat/BOL and you need to set up a "clinic area" to deal with any, but hopefully not too many, patients. If you are new to this task, it can be overwhelming. The following article leverages my experiences dealing with outdoor concerts and multi-day events, to come up with a basic list of things to make your clinic function efficiently.
Download the Handout: The Medical Clinic
As Preppers, how many times have we heard our most basic of needs referred to as “beans, bullets and bandages?” It’s a fairly generic means of describing the need to stock up on food, personal protection equipment, and health care supplies. Of course we aren’t stocking up on just beans alone, nor are we storing just bullets. And, it would be foolish to think we could get by with nothing more than bandages in our medical emergency kits. In the event of a major catastrophe where professional medical services may become nonexistent, we will be pushed into the position where we must rely on ourselves and the medical supplies we have stockpiles to see us through. Quite possibly for many years.
An often overlooked aspect of survival is first aid. Sure, most of us carry a small first aid kit in our Survival Bag or vehicle, but how long would you expect this kit to last? Even if you had a moderate amount of medical supplies stored at your home, you run the risk of exhausting your supply in just a few days. For those that take first aid and medical treatment to the extreme, you understand the importance of long term medical care.