Emergency Health Preparations
Health care services can be especially vulnerable to emergency situations. Plan ahead to prepare for your family's health care needs.
Put together a basic first aid kit. You can get a basic first aid manual from your local American Red Cross chapter or any bookstore. Here are some recommended supplies for a family of four. Your pharmacist can help you find these supplies.
- disposable burn blankets
- sterile burn blanket
- 1" and 2" adhesive tapes
- 500 ml or one pint hydrogen peroxide
- 500 ml or one pint sterile water (for wound washing)
- 4x4 gauze pads (sterile and non sterile) (24 count)
- 1" bandaids (12 count)
- knuckle bandaids (12 count)
- 8x10 gauze pads (sterile) (6 count)
- multi-trauma pads (sterile) (2 count)
- rolls of gauze (3 count)
- ice packs (3 count)
- triangular bandages (2 count)
- eye pads (4 count)
- 1/8" and 1/4" steri-strips (2 each)
- ace bandages (4 count)
- rescue shears/scissors
- 12 oz betadine (antiseptic-germidical) or 1/2 oz pkgs or 1 oz tube
- cotton balls/Q-tips/cotton applicators (12 count)
- penlight or flashlight
- safety pins and sewing needles (6 each)
- over-the-counter pain medication and digestive aid
- 30-day supply of prescription medicines
If you or a family member, or someone you might assist in an emergency is dependent on medical devices, ask the physician what alternatives are available to electronic or electrical medical devices, or what you can do if the device fails for any reason.
Emergency Medical and Dental Care
The greatest concern in an emergency is reaching someone who can help. If the phone lines are down, you might be able to reach emergency services by amateur radio. Even if phones or radios do work, there is no guarantee that emergency equipment will work correctly, or that they will be able to respond to your call. That leaves it up to you.
- Take an advanced first aid course and CPR. (Call the American Red Cross at 530-885-9392 for schedules) Learn especially how to tell the difference between life threatening or non-life threatening conditions. When in doubt, however, always err on the side of caution.
- Ask your doctor and dentist what to do in a variety of situations, such as a knocked-out tooth, fever, broken bones, falls, etc. Make sure you have all the medications needed, extra prescriptions filled, etc. Learning how to deal with such situations yourself will reduce the likelihood of panic, and increase the chances of survival for the ill or injured person.
- If emergency services can't be contacted, you'll need to transport the person yourself, properly and safely. Make sure you know the location of the nearest emergency facilities and try to contact them before you go.
- Remember, don't expect the same quality of care you're used to if there is a general emergency in your community. Try to help out, not demand that you be treated before others.
Regular Medical and Dental Care
- Schedule needed exams and tests promptly.
- Consider obtaining hard copies of your medical file, x-rays, etc.
- If you require medication regularly, ask if the doctor will give you an extra prescription that you can fill and store it at home.
- Talk to your doctor and make plans to deal with possible emergencies.
Pharmacies and Medication
- Like most businesses, your pharmacy maintains its records on computers. If you take medication regularly, it is a good idea to ask your doctor to write an additional prescription ahead of time, in case your pharmacy experiences any problems or delays.
- There may also be problems with locating or processing your personal information or insurance information. Don't forget to bring cash.
- Errors may still occur after the crisis situation. Check your prescription information carefully for your name, drug name, dosage, quantity, expiration, special instruction, etc.
- If you or your family take prescription drugs on a regular basis, talk to your physician about what you might need to have at home in case medical care is not readily available.