Common Medical Emergencies Every Prepper Should be Ready to Handle

The most challenging of the many problems that beset a survivor in his attempt to carry on indefinitely in the survival situation is the severity of medical problems that may arise from any number of incidents: injury from an accident or acts of violence, the danger of infection or disease and many others.

Dealing with Injuries When SHTF

Survivors who have lived through these ordeals speak of the despair they experienced as the result of poor emergency medical training and inadequate medical supplies. They relate how their lack of training and inability to help themselves contributed to a general degradation of morale, while others who had been well – prepared for medical contingencies found that their ability to treat their wounds on their own played a big part in maintaining a positive attitude and thus contributed to their successful survival outcome.

Three types of emergency health issues will be discussed: breathing, bleeding, and shock. It’s important that you understand what each of these common medical emergencies are and what causes them. It’s important as a student of survival to at least have a basic understanding of first aid since you’ll most definitely be faced with medical emergencies when SHTF. You’ll be dealing with gun shot wounds, collapsed buildings, and much much more.

Breathing Problems

Breathing can be obstructed or stopped by a variety of events, including but not limited to: in an unconscious person, the tongue relaxes and can block the air passage leading to the lungs; foreign matter can get trapped in the mouth or throat and end up blocking the air passage; inhaling smoke or the vapors from some irritant, or even an allergic reaction can cause inflammation and swelling of the mouth and throat, causing the person to be unable to breathe; also, if a person’s head is bent forward so far that his chin is actually resting on his chest, this can block the air passage.

Bleeding Problems

The degree of severity in bleeding is the important factor in determining the urgency of the problem. If the severe bleeding is coming from any major blood vessel, the situation is very critical.

The amount of blood that a person can lose and stay alive is not great: if one liter of blood is lost, the victim will experience “moderate” shock; loss of two liters, however will send him into a severe state of shock and mortal danger. If the amount of blood lost rises to three liters, death is almost certain.


Shock is a reaction to something happening to the body. Another name for it is “acute stress reaction”. Technically it’s what happens when the heart can’t pump enough blood to fill the arteries with adequate pressure to send the required amount of blood to the organs of the body. Here’s what to do about it:

  • Put the person in shock on a flat surface. Put their legs about ten inches above the rest of his or her body.
  • If they have lost consciousness, put them on their side or on their belly. Make sure the head is turned to the side so they don’t choke on their own blood or vomit.
  • If you can’t get the person in the right position easily, or if you are worried you will do more harm than good, get them in a simple flat position and don’t keep moving the individual.
  • Put a blanket or any other way you have of warming their body. Take off anything wet they’re wearing and put dry clothes on them.
  • Try to get them to swallow small amounts of warm salt water or sugar water, but only if they’re conscious. Don’t try to force fluids down a throat if the person has lost consciousness.
  • No matter how well they recover, make sure they get at least a full 24 hours of rest after the initial trauma.

If you are the person in shock and you are alone, lay down immediately with your head below the level of your legs. Try to do this out of the way of wind and weather, for example by either getting inside or getting up close to a wind barrier.