22 August 2013

Even If You Do Succeed, Try, Try Again.

    Well, I'm back. I'm sure you haven't been sitting on your computer for two weeks refreshing the page to see if there was a new post. If you have, I'm sorry I made you wait so long...but you really need to get out and do something with your life.
      Have you ever gone camping or on a road trip, or even just out of town for the weekend? You go through everything you think you will need, but you always end up forgetting something, or you didn't even think of it in the first place to be able to forget it. Maybe half the stuff you brought didn't even get used. It happens, I understand. Maybe you're a poor planner, but it was probably just a mistake. No harm done...unless you do it again.
     Planning is important, however, you can't plan for every situation. You either plan for one situation, like going out of town for the weekend(or a flood, tornado, or zombie apocalypse), or you try to have a basic plan that can cover your needs, even if it doesn't cover all your wants. A good plan, though, will cover needs and wants...and when it's not good enough, you learn your lesson and do better.
     Preparedness is all about having a plan. While I was gone, I stayed in the desert for two weeks. It wasn't some high-speed live off of the land type thing, which would have been cool, it was just a desert, and I was there as a medic for some guys firing artillery. Here's a picture:

This is a screenshot from a video, I'm not that good of a photographer.
      Moments like that were pretty awesome. The rest of it...well, it was hot and dusty. I tried to think of a few things I would need to make myself a bit more comfortable and be able to do my job better. One thing that I don't think I'll be able to go without again is a solar shower. It was super handy. It's the only shower I used out there and it held enough water for two showers(for different people, you don't need two for yourself). You set it out in the sun during the day

...then you hang it up to use at night.

     Of course, the higher you hang it, the easier it is to use. This wasn't high enough, so I moved it. In an emergency, hygiene is important. I'm going to talk more about it in a different post, but for now, just know that I am super glad I had this as part of my plan.
     It was also helpful if somebody had a cut or scrape. They could wash their hands of all the dirt(which was everywhere) or blood(which wasn't quite as common).
     I also had a way to wash a little bit of laundry, which will be discussed in the hygiene post. I brought enough clothes to end up not having to wash all my stuff, but my buddy didn't, so he got to use it.

     Typically, I work out of an aid bag. It's kind of big and bulky, and it's a pain to get into, especially if it's just for a band-aid or something. So while I was packing, I decided I would separate my heavy duty, real bad emergency aid bag stuff from the Barbie band-aids and Benadryl.

     I put both of those into the bag on the left and grabbed it when somebody's feelings were hurt. We even had some candy we could give out if our patients were really good. I kept things like gauze, band-aids, and neosporin in the green box, and medicine and stuff in the little bag. Much better than grabbing my whole aid bag.
     I made two last minute decisions that became part of my plan. I brought a cooler from home and some sport drink powder from the grocery store. We had water provided(I still had some bottles of my own just in case), and we usually had ice provided. Ice in the cooler was great for a nice cold bottle of chemically purified water. It was also nice to have in case somebody was suffering from heat exhaustion, or something like that. The problem with the water was that it was foamy and it tasted bad. Well, the sport drink powder change my little world. A cold bottle of Powerade sure beats a warm bottle of swamp water. Those are two things that have become part of my plan for good.

     So did everything run smoothly and perfectly? Was I comfortable and happy all the time? Nope. Some situations will not be perfect, you just won't have the resources you need. Emergencies will be a lot like that. You may not be comfortable and you probably won't have ice...unless it's a bad snowstorm, then you might have too much. Well, what did I learn? We sure could have used more shade. I know what you're thinking, "Don't you have enough shade sitting in that big metal box of an ambulance?" The answer may surprise you...Yes. That's right, we had "enough," but it was still pretty miserable. We could have acquired some camouflage net material to put up. That would have done the trick. In the real world, in an emergency, a tarp can be excellent for shade. A broom for sweeping off all the dust would have also been handy.
     My first aid kit worked great, but I've decided I could do better. Soon, I will post my upgraded, working off the tailgate, first aid kit. I'll give it a try and see if it's better than what I had. I thought I had a good idea, but even good ideas can be improved.

     It's all fine and dandy to make a plan, but if it doesn't work, then you should probably do something about it. Even if it did work, what can be done to make it better? I learned quite a few things. Some things could have gone a little better and some things could have gone a lot better. There is only so much that is under your influence, but you have the power to make the most of it. When you acknowledge that something can change, then do something about it. If you learn something, but don't change or do things differently, then did you really learn anything?
     We never have it all figured out. We can't plan for every possible situation; we can plan for a few, but what we should focus on are our needs. If you get a chance to figure out how to provide something you need, other than the normal convenient way, then try it out. If you have a need, such as food or water, then think about what you would do if those things weren't accessible for a time; if there is a leak in the water main and it needs to be fixed, or a tornado or winter storm prevents trucks from getting to the grocery store.
     Having a few things on hand can make all the difference. Your plan can include your basic needs and the needs of your family. Try it out, learn something, and make some changes. If you're going camping soon, that's a perfect time to practice life without electricity or maybe even running water. Figure out what you need to live and what you need to be happy. I don't recommend being miserable in an emergency, it takes the fun out of it, so plan for some ways to be comfortable.



  1. Where would we be able to find a solar shower like you have? Love that idea!

    1. I bought mine from Sportsman's Warehouse, but I'm sure you could find one anywhere sporting goods are sold. You can find them online, too. Check out the reviews on them first, some are better than others. This one has been great.

  2. great idea separating the different level of first aid into two bags.