Safety And Injury Prevention After SHTF
Not only is general safety and injury prevention a priority consideration during present time, but will be infinitely more important during a post-collapse era where medical attention, facilities, and quality care may be difficult or impossible to obtain.
During such a time, people will be adapting to a more labor intensive lifestyle, and one thing that goes along with that way of life is the risk of physical injury.
The time to prepare for it is now. Here’s how…
Injury prevention is the key to one’s physical safety. It may sound like a simple concept, but in practice it is often overlooked.
Why? Because we are often only focused on the job at hand. To get it done. To implement safety protocols takes a bit more planning, time, and even manpower (or womanpower ;) ), however these protocols may prove enormously valuable having prevented injury (or worse).
A protocol is a sort of agreement, custom, or obligation. ‘Safety’ protocols are previously thought out procedures, processes, or prevention’s, which are designed to better ensure one’s safety. Obviously these will vary with what you’re planning to accomplish versus the risks at hand, but common sense (hopefully) should reveal the potential dangers and corresponding preventative measures…
Not everyone has common sense though, and there’s little doubt that during a time of SHTF that many will injure themselves while not having taken preventative measures and precautions.
Perhaps the most generally effective safety protocol is to involve two people rather than one. Often simply having two people involved in a task is enough to prevent accidents because there’s ‘another set of eyes’ on the task. Since there is always more than one way to do something, the opinion of another will help to expose risks and alternatives – which may be safer and/or better… If injury does happen, the other person will be there to assist or get help.
Every process of a given task has its risks. Some risks of some tasks are minuscule while others may be potentially deadly. Today’s subconscious presumption is that quality medical care is always nearby. Tomorrow’s SHTF may shatter that notion and force you to carefully consider what you’re doing before you hurt yourself. Even a seemingly ordinary cut can kill you without modern medicine if it infects beyond the ‘point of no return’.
General recommendation: ‘Think’ (about safety) before you act.
Safety Gear and Equipment
Just as various tasks require specific tools, there are also ‘tools’ for one’s safety. Safety gear.
Again, following ‘SHTF’, there will be much more physical labor. Working with one’s hands. Work Gloves (lots of them) will be an enormous asset and essential equipment for injury prevention. I cannot overemphasize this.
A word of advice… do not bother with ‘cheap’ work gloves. While they might last a short while doing very lightweight ‘soft’ tasks, they are essentially useless for ‘real’ protection.
Note: How To Find Your Glove Size
Another important bit of safety gear are quality work boots. I suspect that many people today do not have a good pair of work boots. Instead they rely on ‘sneakers’ as their casual wear – which provide little to no ‘real’ protection.
Good work boots should come up over your ankle and should be of a good fit. Proper fitting boots is a very important thing!
Given that there are so many tasks to consider while thinking of safety protocols and safety gear, I believe I’ve exemplified the notion…
Let’s hear your ideas for safety considerations following SHTF, and the things we can do to help prevent injury…
Safety gear-equipment ideas and tips coming in from comments:
Safety glasses (with sides)
Work clothes (heavy duty)
The ‘right’ tools for the job at hand
If it hurts, stop doing it…
Communications (2-way radio)
Tick check after being in ‘the woods’
Be careful when assisting those who are bleeding (infectious)
Stretching exercises before labor
Avoid mental fatigue
I couldn’t agree more Ken. For years I never used work gloves and I was always getting slivers, cuts, and abrasions. A few times those became infected. They were minor infections treated easily with antibiotic creams. After the SHTF those minor infections can turn deadly as your body will be dealing with lots more stress and your immune system may not be as strong depending on your diet. So prevention is the key.
One of the best preventative measures (now & later)…keep current with your Tetanus shot for all family members. This nasty germ lives in garden soil & you can easily track it into your house.
Protection from the regular shot will be effective after 2 weeks, but will last for 10 years. (The expensive shot you get at the hospital after an injury will work immediately & last for 10 years also.)
Make sure your kids have all their shots also. No need to catch whatever goes around *#$%* civilization.
Good topic as usual.
Boots, gloves, safety glasses, tough work clothes are all things that will be required. Take care of the little things before they turn into big things. It helps nobody if you “man” your way through something and end up on your back with an infection from a teeny scratch. And make sure your shots are up to date; nobody wants to survive an apocalypse and then die because they were too lazy to get a tetanus shot.
Being in construction most of my life I have seen a LOT of stupid accidents most minor, a few very major, and 3 deaths, I even know if a man that lost his arm (elbow down) because of an infection from concrete, the concrete got inside of his rubber gloves and entered in his blood stream through a few small cuts. Sadly almost every one was preventable “if only”.
In times of SHTF these types of accidents will be rare if at all, BUT other things will certainly come about, fighting, and protecting “what’s yours” will most likely be the huge percentage.
Unfortunately, so will injuries from everyday things that must be done that we now take for granted. Just gardening for example, getting a cut from pulling weeds and getting infected from the manure could be disastrous even deadly. Gloves, boots, clothing, and the right tools need to be had now, not after the SHTF. Honestly I’m a fairly tough-old-coot but even now I’m very careful about safety. Mainly I’m a pansy when it comes to pain, so I try to “do it right”.
I got cellulitis and it went systemic quickly — all from a wasp sting that occurred in my goat barn. I’m sure the wasp had settled on something less than ‘sanitary’ out there and the stinger gave me more than just the pain from the sting. Had I not gotten the very strong dose of antibiotics, I’d probably not be alive now. Who would ever think a wasp sting could do so much damage so quickly. Lesson learned: treat ANY insect sting with antiseptic/antibiotic cream immediately!
Good to know about the insect sting. I never would give an insect bite or sting another thought.
A typical injury can be as simple as an overworked, tired muscle that can lead to a muscle strain and/or spasm. Repetitive motion is notorious for this type of injury. If your muscle(s) hurt or you feel that burning sensation, stop before you are injured.
Ken, you just listed things that are required for my workplace, including working in twos if possible, but we have CB radios and cell phones if we work alone on a one man job and check in at intervals. That’s because we work in isolated areas and on forest trails.
Another prevention is we check ourselves for ticks every day spring to summer before they latch on being in infested areas of Lyme disease and plasmosis which can be in any woods or where wildlife lives, even birds. Surprising enough, I get ticks from graveled roads and in the grass.
In the early 1900’s my grandpa used to put the clothes he wore in the woods in boiling water before washing them after being in the forest to “kill the damn critters”.
Hygiene was important back then because my grandma who was a nurse said without it, lumbermen from the camps would have to come to the hospital to be bathed in Lysol baths, and when they took their clothes off, she said the clothes would be moving on their own from all the lice they harbored.
I might add hunting safety. My grandpa, who was some character, was deer hunting in a tree when he climbed down he left his gun cocked and shot himself in the foot. And that led him to the hospital 100 miles away where he met my grandmother, the nurse with the lice story and they got married. To atone for his unsafe behavior shooting his foot, he later taught hunter safety, became a game warden and the State Game Commissioner.
@Stardust, you beat me to it with the hunting story! My suggestion now would be take your son, daughter, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, (anybody who cares about you) hunting with you. Upgrade and get a 2 person tree stand and use all the safety items available. It can be deadly right now, never mind after SHTF.
I need to remind / warn people that if they render first aid to someone. Remember and be aware that there are some nasty viruses that are spread from blood contact. Hepatitis and HIV, etc. Please stock latex or latex free “surgical” type gloves and wash your hands and face very well afterwards. You also need to prevent blood spatter to your face and open wounds on yourself. Sorry for the yuck factor. Beach’n
A home medical stash should include several clear plastic face shields like those used while using a bench grinder (wear good safety glasses under the mask). They should be part of the PPE you don before entering a sick room or treating a wound. These shields are cheap at places like Harbor Freight.
All the points are good! With having to do more things ourselves manually, please consider a few moments of stretching exercises as a preventive measure. Just like athletes about to engage in a game. Doing this can prevent a pull or strain that might put you out of action for days or weeks and that could prove to be a dangerous predicament when we find ourselves in uncertain times.
Having backup, Extra, PPE, AKA safety glasses, mono goggles, steel toe boots, work gloves etc. on hand before SHTF for future use would be wise also.
I did a similar post a week or two ago. As a retired optometrist, I would like to remind everyone about eye safety. You should have safety glasses with side shields for most activities after a collapse. Even this is not 100% safe. Contact lens wearers should discontinue wear the very minute hygiene becomes compromised. An eye injury or a corneal abrasion can be sight threatening and any resulting infection can be potentially life threatening. Spare glasses are a survival necessity if you require visual correction to function. If you can not recognize friend from foe at a good distance you may not be a survivor.
And a scratched cornea huuuurts! They have those wonderful, instant-acting pain relieving eye drops in the ER, but I don’t know how to get them for stocking my medical kit for SHTF.
I too have witnessed men die on Construction sites. Sometimes from their own stupidity and sometimes from other peoples stupidity.
Every one MUST remember they are responsible for their own safety. That includes making sure the people around you are not going to get you killed or hurt. Safety equipment/protocols normally come about because people have DIED due to the lack of same. I suggest you use them especially eye safety. You get blind you get dead in a SHTF situation.
Mental mistakes due to fatigue /stress will account for many injuries. Make it a habit to step back and access what you are doing. A second set of eyes sure helps too. Common sense MUST rule your decisions.
I split the tip of my index finger this morning. Took my glove off and forgot to put it back on. Helping a friend set a new tub. Not a big deal now but it could be if it gets infected and no doctor to go to.
I personally believe this area of prepping is in the top 3 of being ready.
Eyes and lung safety lead the list. Knowing how to use tools/equipment safely is a must.
Ken’s hitting all home runs with the articles lately.
Kevlar is wonderful stuff! Chainsaw chaps with Kevlar lining are awesome. Fish filleting or meat-cutter gloves from woven Kevlar are a good plan also.
Push sticks when using table saws, avoid kickbacks by standing to the side’ Never use more blade elevation than necessary. Keeping tetanus up to date as previously mentioned is so very important. Tetanus is everywhere including your stool. I’ve had numerous patients assure me they were up to date because they didn’t want to get a shot. Then I’d tell them about tetanus and the vast majority decided they really weren’t that up to date! It’s not that easy to catch but if you do it is truly horrible.
I agree with the items stated, in addition I also consider a well stocked first aid kit with, moleskin for blisters, band aids, creams, even a small vial of witch hazel (astringent)for minor cuts/abrasions, and tweezers for those nasty splinters. Safety glasses always number one on my list. Quick story about a friend in Colorado who was starting a gas log splitter and jerked the pull cord which broke and the end snapped across his eye tearing his retina, he had several surgeries to finally fix the tear……and learned a very painful lesson.
I buy new work boots about once a year. I buy quality boots, so my old pair is always still in fair shape. Been doing this long enough to have six pair of spares stored. I’ve also given some away to the “boot drive” at work.
Safety awareness often comes from painful lessons. Thank God, I have been fortunate to not be seriously injured over the years, though there have been plenty of near-hits.
Safe work habits need to be passed-down to our young people too.
First of all, if you are going to do a dangerous action, think of it in terms of “measure twice, cut once”. Really take your time to think through the action, possible problems that could occur and how you will react if something happens. Having a well-thought-out plan in place can be life-saving.
One thing I always keep in mind out on construction sites is to make sure you make eye contact with those around you and to, as my DH says to “keep your head on a swivel”. You want to make sure you are looking out for yourself first but for others when activities like swinging tools, felling trees, etc. are going on.
Ear plugs/muffs, good socks and sock liners (prevents painful blisters), moleskin for blisters, hard hat, high visibility safety vest, a foam roller for rolling out those stiff/sore muscles and epsom salts (for salt rubs or baths) to help with bruising/muscle soreness from working too much. I agree too to watch out for repetitive injuries and to really watch your posture when you are working – use common sense body mechanics when lifting, working, etc.
Another thing I can’t live without is a good pair of knee-high muck boots. I have tried the cheaper brands but they either crack or I have badly rolled my ankle in them. My newest ones are snug and support my ankle well. Waders and other mud/water clothing/tools would be quite useful.
For those of us who have to deal with ice, having good ice cleats that fit over work shoes/boots (like the ones made by Ice Trekkers) make all the difference in the world when every step could lead to a dangerous or deadly fall. DH and I have the cleats with the “spike stars”, but my 78-yo dad (who still farms) has the chain link-type cleats and they work well. Snow shoes would be a great idea, too!
Finally, I love my LED headlamp! I can work outside at night and have both my hands free – much safer to do chores or other things.
Might want to consider boots with steel insoles like the jungle bootws we had in Vietnam. I would think that one of the things that would come back would be punji stake traps along with other assorted booby traps that the old vets know about.
Since moving to a cooler climate, I find myself buying and wearing more clothing from a company called Duluth Trading Post. I’m older and wiser now and I know I take care of the things I own so I buy durable goods and take care of them. (whether it be tools or clothing.)
Storage hint: In my car and in my home, I keep safety glasses/sunglasses and work gloves on a leash hanging from a headrest in my truck. When not in use, I store leather work gloves on a string holding 2 wooden clothespins (spring-loaded) clipping them by the cuffs. The gloves are allowed to air-dry between constant uses.
If you are not like that. If you go through life constantly breaking or borrowing and losing stuff, go buy inexpensive, disposable stuff at Wally World. Odds are it will become lost or broken well before it gets worn out.
Kitchen work gloves- Not just good to prevent dishpan hands anymore.
My hunting pack would hold several pair for use while gutting and butchering a large animal in the field. They keep my hands warm and dry while working with blood and viscera. They are much more durable than disposable medical type gloves and they store better as well. My hunting pack also contains ziplock bags to carry any organ meats for later use.
The only other thing needed was an ice chest with ice.