SHTF First Aid: When small cuts kill

I was invited to check guy who was badly beaten by few guys, man who invited me offered me to introduce me to some man who had connection with smugglers, so i can get stuff cheap if i help this guy.

first aid

When i entered house, guy was laying on bed, could not move too much, lot of bruises everywhere on body, he was conscious, in pains, pretty much drunk. On first look he did not have some serious open injuries, my biggest concern was that i was pretty sure that he had few broken ribs, strong pain while deep breathing, and while moving his body, and clear mark of boot on his chest, obviously someone was jumping on him.

I could not do too much with broken rib, actually i only wrapped him with some layers of clothes, to improvise some kind of belt, and hope that broken rib did not induce some more serious injury to lungs, or something else.

He was coughing and spitting blood, but again i was hoping that comes from broken teeth, not from stomach or lungs. Minor cuts and bruises we just rinsed with rakia, and that s it. Nothing more we could do.

And guess, what? Few days later, i was called again, and everything was fine, except nothing was fine. One of the pretty much small cuts on his hand got infected, it was small cut, in normal times would not required sewing or stitching, maybe butterfly closure. But it turned bad.

I’ve spent days and days cleaning and removing dead tissue from that wound, trying to do something, some of his friends manage after some time to get some antibiotics, child dosage in suspension with expired date of use.

I used scalpel, not medical, it was scalpel for some wood work, i removed tissue with that, his family used mixture of honey and some pine stuff for wound, i used rakia and peace of old rubber glove to keep it open.

Anyway he survived, he did not lose his hand, but he lost function of three fingers. It was pure luck that he did not lose his life. And funny thing, not the broken ribs killed him but small cut almost killed him.

Probably nothing would happen if i had Iodine and enough sterile gauze, not to mention stuff like topical antibiotic, or Ciprobay tabs or any of this.

Now of course I’m prepared and have everything, for topical, oral, intravenous use.

Later he told me that guy wanted to hit him in the head with some agricultural tool for digging, he missed his head, he just scratch his hand with that.

Just basics can go a long way

Anyway, point is, to buy today full set for treating wounds, does not cost too much, sterile gloves, compress, forceps, butterfly closures, antibiotic treatment, povidone, hydrogen peroxide, anti tetanus shots, sutures… everything, it can be found for maybe 100$ here.

Is it worth 100$? Yes, it can worth 1000$ or 10000$ it can be priceless actually. When it comes to you or your family member it is priceless, if you helping someone else, you can say a price.

first aid set

I learned medical profession before SHTF and work now for over 20 years in medical field, mostly emergency room and see people stabbed and shot every week. Often I’m person who has to get them ready for transport when they still lay in their blood. Here are two simple things you can do now to help your chances of survival.

Just learn basic procedure for treating wounds and make sure people around you know it too. You might be unconscious when you need treatment and loved ones should know how. Too often people treat things and make things worse not better.

Most wounds that you are going to care are gonna be small cuts, lacerations. I am not saying that you are not going to be in situation to treat gunshot wound, or open fracture on leg for example, i am using laceration as a example to show some basic rules, everything else takes much more to say, and needs to be addressed as separate and big subject.

      1. Use protection if you treat wounded man, gloves, mask, face shield, gown… whatever you have if possible.
      2. Stop any massive bleeding (if it present) by direct pressure on wound, elevation (extremity) or pressure points.
      3. Remove dirt from wound by irrigation, i prefer hydrogen peroxide and sterile water, use sterile swab or sterile forceps for that.
      4. Use iodine on sterile compresses, and dress the wound with bandages.
      5. Start with antibiotic treatment (Xiclav or similar antibiotic)
      6. Inspect wound every day, clean it, then use Iodine and compresses and bandaging.

Now remember, this all matters for you if YOU are only person with some medical knowledge and some medical supplies, if there is no doctor, no hospital, in other words if SHTF for real. If there is a higher medical authority than you available, look for it.

These are some general rules, exceptions are many, stab wound you can not flush in some cases, you can kill man in few seconds if you instantly remove knife from his leg (example), is he allergic on antibiotics? What if wound become infected after few days? Antibiotic ointments oral antibiotics or IV antibiotics?… Much more to say about this. Anyway, the standard procedure will get you out of biggest trouble in most cases.

Basic EDC (every day carry) First Aid Set

Now here is my basic first aid EDC (every day carry). I have in bag with my gun. I have that bag usually with me or in car.

Military First Aid Bandage / Field Dressing, 6-pack, Camouflage, 4″x7″ with Gauze Ties
Military bandage is used to quickly plug hole in sterile way. It is first thing that you gonna put on any bigger wound, it is made from something like gauze pad and bandage all in one, point is if you do not have time to take too much time on the place, just use military bandage to cover wound, stop bleeding, and bandage it, all in one, and it is packeged sterile. This is often first thing used just after someone is shot or stabbed.

C-A-T Combat Application Tourniquet – Black by North American Rescue Brand
To stop massive blood loss.

Sterile Latex Exam Gloves, Individual Peel-Open Package, Medium, Box of 50 Pairs
There are also sets with mask and gloves in one sterile package. I use that.

Prestige Medical Fluoride Scissor, Black, 7 1/2 Inch
EMT scissors, it is very heavy duty scissors, for quick removing clothes from patient, i often use it on my job for cutting seat belt. Quickly, sharp and with guard so you can not cut or stab patient and good ones can even cut wire.

Povidone Scrub Solution, 16 Oz
Kills bacteria.

KENDALL VERSALONTM All-purpose Sterile Sponge, 4 Ply, 4″ X 4″, 2/pk – Pack 25
+ 3M Medipore H Soft Cloth Surgical Tape – 2″ wide –
+ 3M Steri Strip Skin Closures 1/4” X 3” – 10 Packages of 3
+ Kerlix Type Gauze Rolls 4″X4 yds, Sterile, 10/bag
If I have more time to treat wound or follow up treatment.

I have a bit different things but as most of you are from US or other country with Internet shops I looked products similar to mine up. As you see it is not much but it can make a big difference. Difference between life and death.

First Article of Selco’s Survival Guide

*The upcoming course that launches next week consists of several elements such as interviews, some videos, Selco’s supply list and a guide about what Selco thinks is important when it comes to survival. This article here is the introduction to the guide. If you have subscribed to our newsletter you will get early access to join the course that will launch next week. (This post was written by Selco but edited by Scott, a native English speaker)*


Scope of this course

This course is about the simple and raw side of survival and not the fancy bells and whistles part. I believe this raw and very basic side of survival sometimes gets forgotten. But in the end it is not things like fancy freeze-dried blueberry muffins that will help you survive when TSHTF (The Shit Hits The Fan).

There is nothing wrong with trying to prepare to keep your living standard even if TSHTF, but that is not the point of this course.

No matter how many freeze-dried blueberry muffins you have stocked, the day will come when the last one is gone and all you have is your big sacks of rice or grain, if anything at all. This course begins at that day. The focus here is on the uncomfortable, stinky, brutal and depressing side of survival. This is what I can talk about best, because this is what I experienced.

This course is mostly about what I experienced in my time during the Balkan war, how I coped with it and what helped me to survive. Often in life, we learn only when we are forced to, and in this course I will share what I was forced to learn during my year in hell.

Fewer rules, more principles

Jay and I sat together and tried first to establish some basic principles. Because unlike rules, principles are universal and in all sorts of unexpected situations they will help guide you toward right decisions and right actions.

There are many great books and resources concerning technical aspects of survival: so no, you will not find recipes for candle-making in this course. It is simply better to get a book about that.

The three parts of the course

The first part of the course consists of the interviews Jay did with me. These will introduce you to the experiences that taught me the tough lessons I am trying to pass on to you. You will come to understand the mindset that helped me survive and stay sane during my year in hell . Walking in my shoes a bit will prepare you to better cope with unexpected situations that may arise in your own life.

In the second part of the course, you will find several chapters of advice on topics such as security, trading, movement, water & food, and first aid & hygiene. While the interview part of the course lays the foundation and helps you to see things from my point of view, in this part of the course I offer concrete and practical advice. I will talk about the lessons I’ve learned, and how I might approach the next crisis differently.

In the third part of the course, I go through some of the equipment and resources I keep on hand, providing you with a detailed list of what I stock and why.

Been there, done that.

In the end, this guide is a set of personal opinions, based on a set of personal experiences. There is no one single way that works for everyone. If this course can help you to anticipate and adapt to any unexpected and dramatic upheaval that may come your way—the kind of disaster we all hope never comes but must be prepared for anyway—it will be a success in my eyes.

Since my experiences during the Balkan war I have been preparing for whatever might come next. I have never stopped. It was first all about weapons but my focus has changed over time. I have settled on a way of preparing which I’m confident is the right way for what I expect to happen in the future. As a member of this course, you will be informed whenever I modify my setup or plans. So as long as we all have the Internet let’s enjoy the ride into the darkness together.

You will learn a lot of things in this course, but like learning to play a guitar only practice will get you ready for the challenges that might await us in the future. Please use what you learn here, think about it and put it into action. Just having a map that shows you how to get up the mountain doesn’t mean you are ready to get up there. The only way to know this is to get out and try things. Throughout the guide I will recommend ways of practicing the techniques I have shared with you.

Finally I want to send a big thanks to my family and friends, to Jay for contributing his psychological knowledge and coming up with all those hundreds of questions that helped me to remember, Scott for editing this guide, and also to everyone on the Internet who has encouraged me to share my experience. Thank you and now let’s get started.

*To learn more from Selco, check out his online course.*