Today I am going to talk to you about Dr. James Hubbard’s (AKA The Survival Doctor ) new book, Living Ready Pocket Manual: First Aid, which is being released today. I received an advanced copy and am really impressed with it. This isn’t the typical first aid book that just explains how to stop bleeding, how to do CPR or how to address burns. This book is clearly written by a person, in this case a doctor, who is a prepper. Dr. Hubbard covers the usual topics you would expect but he also covers how to disinfect water, bone and joint injuries, how to treat gunshot wounds and bites from a variety of animals and insects.
The main thing I like about this book is how he covers the supplies you should have in your first aid kit. He not only lists the item and quantity he thinks you should have but also gives notes on the item, and also lists alternative items. For instance, he lists cotton balls; in the notes he says that cotton balls are great for packing a nosebleed, and that adding petroleum jelly will make for easier insertion. He adds that cotton balls with petroleum jelly make great fire starters as well! For alternatives he lists tampons or strips of cloth for nasal packing.
He does list some items that are fairly advanced, and I asked him about this. You can read his response in the Q and A section.
I like that he lists multiple ways that items can be used with alternatives because many of us who don’t have the training might not think of using duct tape or super glue to close small cuts.
Dr. Hubbard does a fantastic job of explaining symptoms, as well as how to treat a wide variety of wounds, bites, burns, illnesses and reactions. Like any book, the information does you little good after or during an emergency. I highly recommend getting some basic training and reading books like this one now. That way you have the information and can use the book as a reference during treatment if needed.
I had the chance to ask Dr. Hubbard a few questions, here they are.
Chris: What would you say are the top five medical emergencies the average person should know how to treat?
Dr. Hubbard: Good question. They may vary according to the situation you’re most likely to be in—for instance, a car accident, a flood, a snowstorm, a camping trip, or just hanging around the house. And, of course, there are situations where expert help is a 911 call away and times when it’s not. Here are five pretty common problems no matter the situation.
First, a cut. The immediate lifesaving treatment here is to know how to stop the bleeding. Everything else can wait.
Second, a burn. Know that the first thing to do is cool it. Then what to do afterward.
Then there are sprains and broken bones. Many times it’s impossible to tell the difference, but the initial treatment is the same.
For head trauma, you need to know the danger signs of a really bad trauma and how to properly move someone if they’re not fully conscious and you can’t rule out a concurrent neck injury.
Finally, chest pain. Know the warning signs of a heart attack, and know CPR and how to use an automatic external defibrillator—AED.
I’d like to add that the odds for which type of emergency will happen can depend on what diseases you or the people you’re around might have, such as diabetes, heart disease, seizures, etc.
Chris: I really like how you laid out the first aid supplies; listing the amount and the alternatives. If someone is just starting to build their first aid kit, what are the most important items to purchase?
Dr. Hubbard: Forgo anything fancy and make sure you get items you know how to use. Some of the basics would be gauze, tapes, Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone ointment, scissors, a lighter or matches, and safety pins. There are so many things you can do with a few safety pins. And, of course you know I’d say a good medical manual. Equipment that you don’t know how to use is useless.
Chris: Some of the items you listed are a little more advanced than someone with basic first aid knowledge. Something I have thought about was having more advanced gear on hand, in hopes there might be someone with advanced medical training who just needs more gear. What are your thoughts?
Dr. Hubbard: That’s a great idea. In fact, if you know someone like that around, ask what they’d advise you to have. I’d say, some scalpels, suture and a suture holder. It would be nice to have syringes with needles, IV fluids—with tubing and catheters or butterfly needles to start the IV—injectable antibiotics, and lidocaine, but all of those require prescriptions. And, like in the question about common emergencies, if someone has a specific disease, there might be specific supplies that you’d need.
Chris: Once someone has taken a basic first aid, CPR and AED class, what would you recommend for the next level of training?
Dr. Hubbard: The basic, hands-on courses go a long way. Be sure to take a refresher course every few years. Next, you could check with your local fire department about what training is available if you volunteer. And, early this year, I’m going to have available several multimedia courses I’m really excited about. Just stay tuned to my blog.
Chris: One of the big events that most concerns me is a pandemic. I believe that imposing a self-quarantine is one of the best defenses. How can we know when the time is right to impose a self-quarantine? If we go too early, as many did during H1N1, we risk taking sick days and pulling kids from school. If we do it too late, we run the risk of exposing ourselves while we wait.
Dr. Hubbard: Well, you could check the CDC.gov website which could tell you their statistics on how widespread the disease is and how fast it’s spreading. And just be aware of what’s going on around you. One more thing would be to check any local websites you trust.
Every few years there’s a flu scare, but most don’t become pandemics. However, there have actually been about five flu pandemics over the last 100 years. The last was in 2009 to ’10—H1N1. And, of course, there’s always a chance of other new viruses that are even more dangerous.
If you have the luxury, I’d suggest staying in as much as you can any time a lot of people around you start getting sick or you start hearing reliable news that something bad is going around. Keep your kids home from school a day or two. Either the scare will blow over quickly and they can catch up, or you’ll find enough facts to keep them, and you, in longer.
I have a few first aid books and am glad this one is in the collection. I’ve followed Dr. Hubbard for a while, and am not surprised at all by the high quality of this book. If you are wondering what supplies you should have at home, in your BOB, or are in the marked for a solid book on first aid, I recommend looking into this one for sure!
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