"As a formally trained and certified (but now expired) EMT, first aid has always seemed to be second nature to me; automatic. I realize that this is not the case for everyone. However, I fell that everyone should at least have a basic understanding about first aid and know the basics of being a first responder. There are many first aid and first responder courses that are available from the red cross as well as other sources in your community. If you don't have a basic knowledge of first aid this is where I recommend that you start.
Since the time that I certified there have been significant changes in many emergency medical standards including CPR certification. This is yet another skill that needs continued practice and education. As with any stressful situation when your adrenaline is flowing you will need to have a cool head as others will be depending upon you. Practice and knowledge will help you to remain calm in an emergency.
Every family or group should have an experienced medical leader. If not experienced then someone with the desire to take on the challenge. This person should be willing to learn the role of an EMT at minimum as well as take charge to see that the others in the group achieve a minimum of medical training too. When medical services are overwhelmed or unavailable this knowledge will be invaluable!
In an SHTF situation the most important aspect of emergency medical training will be the ability to quickly and efficiently care for the victim of trauma. This includes knowing how to deal with life threatening wounds quickly and efficiently. Focus on learning about how to treat lacerations and gunshot wounds. Focus on the ABC's. Airway, Breathing, Circulation. Knowing how to perform CPR and how to apply a tourniquet under pressure are particularly important. Learn about Triage. There are many other sources better than myself to teach you. My intent is to bring these to your mind so that you can work on them.
This brings me to the aspect of medical supplies. There is little that can be done to improvise the right medical supplies, especially when it comes to trauma. In a pinch if you don't have a medical kit would you have the supplies necessary to improvise in order to save someones life? This is why I ALWAYS have an adequate med kit with me at all times.
My interpretation of an adequate med kit depends upon the activity i'll be participating in at the time. I always keep the jump kit I put together when I was an EMT in my vehicle. This kit contains most everything that I would need if I came across a vehicle accident. When i'm hiking I usually carry only a small first aid kit that with small bandages and gauze that I would need to address minor cuts and scrapes typical of the activity.
In the past I have put together my own medical kits because I was not satisfied with the med kits that were available. My way of thinking has changed since I found MyMedic. Most other kits were either to generic or were missing something important to me or they were just poor quality. I carry this particular kit with me most everywhere I go. It has a small first aid kit that tears away that I can stick in my backpack but also has the clotting agent, tourniquet and trauma dressings essential for serious injuries until they can get further medical attention. The bag is very well thought out, is super versatile and attaches easily to my other packs. MyMedic has a variety of different kits for virtually every requirement. I have not yet found better thought out or better built kits. Period."