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#132377 - 05/08/08 10:35 PM Lesson learned from Burma
DFW Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 80
Call me more than a little slow on the uptake, but watching the videos of the aftermath of the cyclone in Burma, and the refusal of their government to let aid in, has me thinking about my long-term preparedness. (as though Katrina, Rita, wildfires, tornadoes, and floods in this country did not make the same impression)

I'm working on long term food/water, shelter, 72-hour and bugout kits, but I'm thinking I'm seriously underprepared when it comes to a long-term medical kit. A small first aid kit may be fine for the car or for camping, but in a real disaster, where help may not come for a long while, if at all, a SERIOUS kit needs to be considered.

I remember some that have been shown here that I will try to look up. That's fine for you EMTs (there seem to be so many of you here!) and other medical personnel, but for those of us "lay" people, are there any recommedations for what items to accumulate - while we are signing up for more advanced First Aid classes?

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#132379 - 05/08/08 11:43 PM Re: Lesson learned from Burma [Re: DFW]
Hacksaw
Unregistered


Every time I see disaster news footage of people stranded on the roof due to flood I think that if I lived in an area at risk of flood, I'd have an inflatable boat in the house if even just for that one purpose.

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#132380 - 05/08/08 11:43 PM Re: Lesson learned from Burma [Re: DFW]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
seriously underprepared?



I think we all think that. We will never have all we want to confront any problem that may come up.
_________________________



You can run, but you'll only die tired.


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#132382 - 05/08/08 11:50 PM Re: Lesson learned from Burma [Re: ]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
Originally Posted By: Hacksaw
Every time I see disaster news footage of people stranded on the roof due to flood I think that if I lived in an area at risk of flood, I'd have an inflatable boat in the house if even just for that one purpose.


Yea you would think they would buy one.


But these people are the stupid ones. The smart people bugged out long before the storm got there. Itís not like we donít get warnings for hurricanes and the like in this country. And then to not act on that warning, shows you how stupid these people are.
_________________________



You can run, but you'll only die tired.


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#132383 - 05/08/08 11:53 PM Re: Lesson learned from Burma [Re: DFW]
pforeman Offline
Member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 189
Loc: Iowa
I got my EMT training over 20 years ago and have not been to any refresher in over 10. That said, I still remember a lot of the basics from the time I was involved so I tend to get more "stuff" for a medical kit than some (like the one in the RV) but, your best item of survival gear is your mind.

Go and get some training - weekend stuff, work with the Red Cross or the local volunteer fire/rescue or something to build the skill set. That will do you much more in a long term situation than any stock of supplies.

Paul -

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#132392 - 05/09/08 02:42 AM Re: Lesson learned from Burma [Re: BobS]
philip Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
> Itís not like we donít get warnings for hurricanes and the like in this country.
> And then to not act on that warning, shows you how stupid these people are.

When they get earthquake warnings, let me know. I'll be the first on the road. :->

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#132393 - 05/09/08 02:43 AM Re: Lesson learned from Burma [Re: ]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2918
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Who knows if people even had the option to leave. Dictatorships usually restrict both information and movement rather severely.

From the reports I've read, it seems the storm surge was fast and severe (3.5 metres = 11.5 feet). Something about the strength of the storm and the shallow ocean topography made it especially bad. No warning of a surge was broadcast.

Anyway, I would guess that if you're dirt poor (barely enough money to eat), don't have fast transportation, and don't know a safe place to go, what are you going to do? You're going to stay put and take your chances. Harsh, but that's how it is.


Edited by dougwalkabout (05/09/08 02:44 AM)

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#132399 - 05/09/08 03:43 AM Re: Lesson learned from Burma [Re: BobS]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"...Yea you would think they would buy one..."

I have never been there, but I have been in other poor countries, and you have to remember that most/all of those people can barely get enough to eat, own few personal possessions, and therefore have no way to buy a blow up boat, or much of anything else. They literally live hand to mouth. They may be uneducated, but may not be stupid, just poor, and stuck where they were born, with no chance of improvement...
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OBG

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#132401 - 05/09/08 04:04 AM Re: Lesson learned from Burma [Re: dougwalkabout]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
IMO the main lesson from Burma doesn't have much to do with practical preparation.

The problem is Not a question of people unprepared. The problem is that you have several million people so dirt poor and desperate to find a place to scratch out a hand-to-mouth existence in an overpopulated country that they are forced to move out into tidal flats, marshes and delta swamp areas whose elevation above sea level can be measured in inches using only a normal compliment of fingers.

This is a situation of overpopulation, desperate poverty and people forced to take desperate risks to have even a minimal hope of scratching out enough food to stay alive.

Had some organization equipped each family with a back pack full of supplies the day before the typhoon made landfall and the outcome wouldn't have been different in any major way. The water and winds swept ashore and destroyed even the few substantial structures. The people had no place to store what little they had and most had no place to run.

The single most important thing that could be done would be to eliminate the need for people to live in these lowlands. Which, long-term, means population control. Had the people lived inland and only gone out into the flats to farm they would have had a place to go and a transportation system capable of getting them inland. Presented with a storm the people would evacuate.

As it was the people had nearly nothing before the storm. No resources to prepare if they wanted to. They were on land everyone knew would flood. But they had nowhere else to go. Now with even less to work with. Packed into the few bits of dry land and around the few available resources their half-starved bodies are subject to starvation and disease. Many will not survive.

Even getting aid to them now is sadly laughable. Aid or no aid they will, until something major changes, just go back to where they were. Where they will have more children and scratch out a bare existence until the next storm comes.

As tragic and sad as the losses, estimated in the tens of thousands now, are they pale against the numbers long-term. Every few years another ten or twenty or one-hundred thousand will die. Perhaps three times that every decade. Thirty times, or many more because of the rising population, every century.

So we see the same call for aid and sad faces and the tugging at the heart strings. But in a few months everyone will forget. The same mantrap of a situation will exist as poverty and overpopulation force people to live with the Sword of Damocles over their heads.

Unless we, they, are willing to address the underlying causes of this situation we are largely just soothing our own consciouses by handing out what amounts to smiley-face band-aids and lolly-pops at a massacre.

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#132407 - 05/09/08 04:55 AM Re: Lesson learned from Burma [Re: Art_in_FL]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2918
Loc: Alberta, Canada
What Art_ says is sadly applicable to a large part of the third world.

On the one hand, the sad televised faces, and the short-term aid, are indeed band-aids. It's a kind of triage, I suppose; you help who you can in a given situation. The broader solutions to improving people's lot, and reducing further tragedy, are mired in politics, corruption, indifference, and so on.

On the other hand, the resilience of people in such desperate circumstances is truly remarkable. Given half a chance, and they will keep on as best they can, even in the face of such immense tragedy and loss. In that way, we can learn a little from them. Faced with such bleak and hopeless prospects, I don't know whether I'd lose the heart to keep trying. These people are survivors every day of their lives.

FWIW, I refuse to give up on people. The simplest things make their lives better. I think that long-term projects by NGOs tend to have more practical and useful impact "on the ground" than talk-talk from politicians. So I support several organizations with a bit of my hard-earned cash. As an old book suggests, if you have two coats ...


Edited by dougwalkabout (05/09/08 04:58 AM)

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#132410 - 05/09/08 05:25 AM Re: Lesson learned from Burma [Re: Art_in_FL]
James_Van_Artsdalen Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 449
Loc: Texas
As was said, few Burmese can afford reasonable preparations, be it a boat or backpack of food.

Evacuation may not have been practical anyway: I don't think the area has the infrastructure in terms of rail or road, train or bus.

And their problems are only beginning. This was the primary food production area in Burma and it has just been substantially inundated by salt water. Rice exports from Burma have been falling from 4 million tons years ago to under 40,000 tons now, which implies that even before this the country was barely able to feed itself.

And speaking of salt water inundations ... the satellite images suggest the salt water spread well inland. What will they drink?

I suspect that living inland and farming on the coast is not realistic. Transportation is a luxury there. I doubt many third world farmers can afford to living beyond easy walking distance of their field.

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#132413 - 05/09/08 09:47 AM Re: Lesson learned from Burma [Re: James_Van_Artsdalen]
MDinana Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2196
Loc: Beer&Cheese country
To get back to the OP.... stuff to accumulate?

lots of 4x4 (bulk come in 100 packs), gauze rolls (bulk is usually about 12), a few ace wraps. Maybe a SAM splint. Some Immodium/Pepto, some Benadryl or other allergy pill. Whatever personal meds you take. Some sort of NSAID (aspirin, motrin) or Tylenol. Don't forget to rotate this stock out. Maybe a roll of Toilet Paper (while waiting for the Immodium to work). A box of various size bandaids, a tube or 2 of Bacitracin or Neosporin (apply lightly!). Some butterfly bandages or steri-strips, if you can get someone to show you how to use them properly. Gloves, if you feel the need.

That should do you until a first responder shows up.

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#132461 - 05/09/08 08:37 PM Re: Lesson learned from Burma [Re: NightHiker]
OIMO Offline
Opinion Is My Own
Journeyman

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 57
Loc: UK
If you are flush with cash and want to cover all the bases take a look at the modular first aid kits designed for yatchs that operate 150nm+ offshore and/or 24hrs+ from medical care.

Some of them are designed to be as 'novice' friendly as possible just in case the trained personnel are the ones in need of medical attention, however they are not cheap!

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#132471 - 05/09/08 11:50 PM Re: Lesson learned from Burma [Re: OIMO]
James_Van_Artsdalen Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 449
Loc: Texas
For preparations in the US...

I've been directly hit by three hurricanes on the coastline, and my opinion is "if you have to ask, evacuation is the answer". Others with more experience will likely say the same - the list of things you need is long, varied and not obvious.

Food, water and cooking fuel for 3 weeks. The means severals gallons of water per person per day for 20+ days, not a drop less. If you don't feel silly storing so much water it's not enough.

Axe and pry bar, chainsaws, chains, chain oil, gas. You may have to cut your way out of shelter and will spend a few days clearing roads.

Heavy boots and heavy gloves. There is sharp-edged debris everywhere and no emergency medical treatment for a while, so avoiding needless risk is important.

A flashlight is good for inspecting the shelter immediately after the storm passes but otherwise don't work at night - stepping on a nail is a real possibility and never worth it.

There are plenty of displaced fireants and snakes as well as nails and glass so a medical kit ought to contemplate those as well.

The main thing is to remember if that the "first responder" is several days away, maybe 2-3 weeks. And supplies need to last that long unrefrigerated.

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