Racquetball Equipment

Prepare for medical emergencies in the absence of help

CAMDEN, Tenn.—Almost everyone, even those focused on preparedness, are “woefully” unprepared medically, said Jake Drumm, former paramedic and founder of Drumm Emergency Solutions.

“Most people think they should just buy a big first aid kit and they’re done,” he said at a June 12 self-reliance festival in Tennessee.

Drumm says it’s more important to get training, learn how to use the equipment you have, and have basic knowledge about mid-to-long-term care.

He teaches courses on how to handle first aid emergencies in austere environments, such as a post-tornado or hurricane, vehicle accident, shooting, or more generally if emergency medical services are unable to are not readily available.

“It’s doing medicine when you can’t afford medicine,” he said. “We need to think beyond initial care.”

The main cause of death for the 1 to 45 age group is accidents; half of them are trauma related to blood loss, Drumm said. A person can bleed in three minutes.

Drumm’s top five first aid kit recommendations reflect these statistics.

The first element is a combat-approved tourniquet and knowledge of how to apply it, for how long, and how to relieve pressure without poisoning the body, and the permanent damage it can cause.

The second item Drumm recommends is a quality pressure bandage, often called an Israeli bandage, to help stop bleeding.

“Learn to apply pressure” to stop the bleeding, he said.

The third item is a kind of dressing gauze, preferably a military style dressing that includes a hemostatic agent to help blood clot.

The fourth item is a chest seal for any penetrating trauma to the chest, such as a gunshot wound, and the fifth is protective gear for the caregiver – gloves and eye protection (a pair of 5-a-side racquetball goggles $ will suffice, Drumm said).

Destruction is left in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in Grand Isle, Louisiana on Aug. 31, 2021. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Beyond first aid

When emergency services are not available immediately, or at all, many other factors come into play when caring for an injured person.

Drumm uses the acronym HITMAN to walk through the somewhat daunting, but obviously life-saving, extended field care essentials.

HITMAN is the list to use beyond the first 15 minutes of emergency care.

“So it could be another 15 minutes, it could be 15 days, it could be 15 months,” Drumm said.

The “H” stands for hydration, hypothermia, hygiene and high anxiety.

Two measures of how well a person is hydrated are how often they urinate and the color of their urine (lighter is better).

“The No. 1 cause of death is exposure/hypothermia in austere healthcare environments,” Drumm said. “All these people who were injured and died, generally died of exposure.”

When it comes to hygiene, if you, your patient, and your equipment aren’t clean, other illnesses or infections can cause additional problems.

Drumm said avoiding “high anxiety” is an essential part of first aid.

“You have to calm down to give good care,” he said.

The “I” stands for infection and increased temperature. Learn how to manage fever. With few exceptions, “as long as this fever is controlled, as long as you drink and eat, this fever will not kill you,” Drumm said.

The “T” stands for tourniquets, tendencies and storage.

“Let’s just say you have to put a tourniquet on someone and it’s going to be six hours before some kind of final treatment,” Drumm asked.

“Do you think you should leave the tourniquet in place for six hours?” Nope.”

Drumm encourages people to learn the tourniquet conversion protocol because releasing a tourniquet that has been left on too long can be fatal.

When it comes to trends, it’s important to keep detailed records of vital signs and treatments, including times.

“Because in extremis, you won’t remember anything. You will have no idea what you did 20 minutes ago to your patient,” Drumm said.

Tidying up means constant cleaning.

“You won’t be able to stay clean in an austere environment. And what that means is you have to work double, triple overtime to keep clean, keep your patient clean and keep the area clean,” Drumm said.

Tornado in Kansas
A tornado rips through Andover, Kansas, April 29, 2022, in an image from video. (Corey Novascone/@cfromtheict via AP/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

The “M” in HITMAN stands for drugs.

A large portion of the American population takes prescribed medications daily, including antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or antipsychotics.

“Who thinks it’s a good idea to stop having that cold turkey in the middle of a very stressful event?” Drumm asked.

He suggests making a plan to wean someone off their medication over a period of 30 to 90 days.

“That’s probably the most important thing to plan for austere medical scenarios,” he said.

The “A” stands for analgesia, diet, and related issues.

Have a plan for pain control, suggests Drumm, but it can be difficult.

Food refers to nutrition and digestion.

“Your patients don’t stop urinating, pooping, and vomiting just because they’re sick or injured,” Drumm said.

“Many more people in Haiti died from cholera than from the great earthquake.”

Finally, the “N” stands for nutrition, night-night (everyone must sleep), and no-go.

Nutrition is the caloric intake a person needs to survive and thrive. A patient burned over 40% of their body surface area needs 10,000 calories over a 24-hour period, Drumm said.

And “no-go” is the decision to stop care and let someone die.

“It’s a real consideration with medical planning. Understand that people die, people will get sick, and they will get hurt with things that you won’t fix,” Drumm said.

“Because sometimes it’s hopeless. You get a 50% or 60% burn, and you have no pain control, and you have no fluids, and you have no way to treat the infection – that person is going to die.

“You won’t fix everything. We are humans. But there are things you can do to prepare now that will make any kind of crisis much more manageable. »

Charlotte Cuthbertson


Charlotte Cuthbertson is a senior reporter at The Epoch Times, which primarily covers border security and the opioid crisis.