How to Set a Broken Bone or Treat a Dislocated Joint

Broken Finger

In modern society we seldom think about our proximity to professional help. Even in extreme cases, help is near at hand.  Imagine a worst case scenario, a hiker, miles from the nearest electrical outlet, slips and breaks his leg.  Modern technology can summon help in an instant. Sure, the hiker may have to endure some time before help arrives, and help may arrive via helicopter, but help is on the way. What happens when help is no longer available?

Most of today’s first aid is focused on the small time period between an injury and when the doctors and nurses take over. If the doctors, nurses, medical imagery and the like were to disappear, this would force the entire treatment regimen on the individual. What would you do if a family member breaks a bone in SHTF? Luckily, the Survival Doctor answers this very question. Check out this excellent article on setting a broken bone when no help is available:

Read more at… How to Set a Broken Bone or Treat a Dislocated Joint

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Administering First Aid: Do You Have Basic First Aid Skills

First Aid Skills

First, ask yourself, do you have basic first aid skills, first aid supplies and a willingness to render aid to someone who is injured. If you simply have no skills at all, or fear to give aid, but want to learn to overcome your fear or reluctance then it is important that you take accredited classes.

Reading about giving first aid, or watching videos online could mean you are receiving information that is not correct and this could have serious consequences. 

For more information on classes and where to find one near you visit,

You need some experience so you “do no harm”. This means you know enough not to move certain injured persons, for example, which may result in greater injury. You need to know the level of your own training, and have the ability to assess the injured person to some extent. The objective is to preserve life and to prevent further injury. Typically, you would not move an injured person if there is no need to move him or her.

Obviously, there will be situations where not moving an injured person would result in certain death, such as when a person is trapped in a burning car or structure. Decisions have to be made quickly, and having training and some experience means you are more likely to make the right decision.

Remember you can render aid to an injured person by simply comforting them if you do not have any skills, or are hesitant for any number of reasons to render aid. It is a choice you have to make, and in some cases there are ramifications when giving aid, so it is important once again that you take classes, learn the laws, and build skills, which will lead to greater confidence.

You want to preserve the life of the injured person, but you also want to preserve your own, and the life of others that may be helping. Before rushing to help you have to make sure the situation unfolding will not cause you injury or even death.

Situational Awareness

Other countries and people not friendly to us have learned from past conflicts how Americans treat their wounded. On the battle field if an American soldier is wounded medics rush to their side. The enemy knows this, and this is one of the reasons antipersonnel mines are often times designed to maim/injure and not necessarily kill. The enemy knows that a soldier’s comrades will render aid and this means soldiers are distracted from the battle and are grouped in one place.

The enemy also knows that killing or injuring a medic has a psychological effect on troops, so what better way to lure out the medics and Causality Evacuation (CASEVAC) helicopters or other methods of transporting the injured then having troops injured. The hard reality is that dead people do not need aid, so injured personnel create more chaos than dead people do, and injuries tie up soldiers or even first responders who would otherwise be engaged in the situation at hand.

Terrorist will stage attacks so they can kill or maim those rushing to give aid after an attack.

You have to assess the situation before rushing to give aid. People at traffic accidents will rush across busy highways endangering themselves and others to help those injured. You have to ensure your own safety. You becoming injured means you are of no help to those you are trying to help, and of course, you certainly do not want to become injured. Parents are instructed to take the oxygen mask and place it over their own faces first, so they stay conscious to help their children when on an aircraft.

In a SHTF situation there may not be medical professionals on hand, no one to call, no hospitals or first aid stations, so it is on you.

Rushing in sometimes can lead to more injuries or death, but you only have seconds to evaluate any situation, and to do so effectively you need certain skill sets. You need skills, knowledge and above all you must have practiced rendering aid under various conditions.

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Trip Wires

How To and Where To Set Trip Wires For an Early Warning System

Homes set back in the woods may need an early warning system, a system that alerts you that someone is prowling your property or sneaking up on the home. If you are off grid using alternative power sources, you may not have enough electrical resources that would allow a wired alarm system and/or surveillance cameras, so what is the alternative.

You can make ad hoc systems, and they can be complicated ones that require some electrical skills, or simple ones that essentially use noisemakers to alert you. You can use battery operated wireless sensors, for example, that are activated once an invisible beam is broken. They can be placed virtually anywhere within range of the wireless alarm, which would be on your person or close by, so it can be heard.

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Seeds Seedlings

Seeds, Seedlings or Both When Starting Your Garden

For most people it would be a combination of sowing seeds directly in the ground or in pots and transplanting into the ground using seedlings. The seedlings can be ones that you started yourself indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost, or you can purchase seedlings from your local home and garden store.

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Night Time Patrols: Guarding Your Perimeter

Night Time Patrols

For the sake of this article, it is assumed that you would have a small unit of friends/family helping you guard a Prepper compound, home or complex of some sort. If you are by yourself or are limited on personnel then it is not likely that you would be out patrolling and leave the home or compound unprotected.

Survival is about making decisions based on the reality on the ground. You cannot be everywhere at once, so it would not be wise to try and protect/defend a large structure/compound with limited personnel. It may be better to abandon a larger target, as it were, for one that would be easier to defend.

Being able to identify targets is crucial, and this will be the most important part of guarding your perimeter at night, because if you cannot identify the bad guys then you lose. This means you need the ability to paint any target with light. Flares are one option along with handheld or weapon mounted lights. Lights mounted on poles that can be activated by someone in the compound or by guards using a remote control is another option. All options should be available.

Keep in mind using your handheld or weapon mounted light will give away your location, so use with caution and never remain in place after activating/deactivating any light source.

Next you have to be able to maintain a certain load out and then keep track of gear and equipment in the dark. Loaded magazines, rations, medical supplies, and communication devices must be within reach at all times. This requires organization and the proper pack. You will also have to perform all functions with the pack on your back. Setting the pack down to look for the nearest tree or bush means you may have to activate a light to find your pack again and thus give away your position. Light and noise discipline must be maintained at all times.

Practice carrying your pack around in the dark through heavy brush, across shallow waterways and so on. Practice removing and exchanging magazines in the dark, eating rations without light, and taking a bathroom break with the pack shouldered without light. Know where every piece of gear is located by feel.

Before you can patrol any perimeter effectively you need to have boundaries, in other words, how far to patrol in any one direction. Become as familiar as possible with the terrain. If “booby traps “or other personnel deterrents are activated make sure everyone knows where they are.

Carry a compass at all times. It is easy to get confused in the dark and being able to orientate yourself with a compass is important. You certainly do not want any friendly fire accidents so all roving and static guards must know where the compound is relative to their positions.

Whether in darkness or daylight everyone must be familiar with fields of fire, all cover, and concealment, key terrain features all obstacles and avenues of approach.

Guards must know their direction of fire when they engage the enemy so it is important that everyone carry range cards that depict all fields of fire for all positions. Roving guards of course could be anywhere along the perimeter once contact is made, but each guard should have a designated static position that they can take up if possible.

Roving guards and certain Listening Posts (LP’s) at night act as an early warning system. They must be positioned far enough out, so once a warning is given those in the compound have time to react.

Set up signals or codes so guards can warn the compound without breaking noise discipline. A simple code, for example, could be two keys of the microphone for all is well and three breaks for distress. Set up times when all posts are expected to check in. Do not use a single key break as a code, because of the chance of accidentally keying the microphone. Set up a code so guards do not have to speak except in extreme cases.

Roving guards will need all necessary materials and gear to sustain each guard independently of the compound. This means they need adequate ammunition, rations, water, medical supplies, and communications devices among other things.

Long Range Patrols can extend miles from the base camp and their main mission is typically intelligence gathering, and possible harassment of enemy units. Any person assigned to gather intelligence must be well trained in all manner of survival as well as demonstrating efficiency with any weapons they carry.

In reality you are always in a defensive position when you occupy any territory or structure and this typically puts you at a disadvantage unless you have overwhelming superiority as far as personnel and weaponry.

You need a bug-out plan whenever you occupy any space because if an overwhelming force attempts an offensive against your position, you need to be able to bug-out safely.

Recommended Load Outs For Roving Guards

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Bugging Out the Basics

Bugging Out Basics

The following article is not a plan, it is however, designed with the hope of getting you pointed in the right direction.

It seems that many articles about survival and bugging out make declarative statements. In other words, according to some, if you do not do this or that then you will die. This may be true in some cases, but the reality is that every situation is different. Your survival will depend on skill, planning and material things and luck does play a role, but as some will tell you, you make your own luck. 

Past articles have typically advocated against bugging out unless certain conditions have been met because of the inherent dangers associated with moving about during a crisis, leaving a known situation for an unknown one. There are dangers associated with bugging out that you would not typically encounter if you sheltered in place.

That being said however, some will leave and embark on their journey away from what they consider a danger zone regardless of conventional wisdom. In a crisis, just like in certain other situations, perception becomes fact.

People will have to decide based on instinct or what their eyes and ears tell them, because traditional sources of information will not be available. However, much of the decision making will be based on emotions, and not always on facts or logic.

Things to Consider

Bugging-out is not the end of it therefore your plan will need to be a multi-staged one. The first part of the plan would be evacuation from the danger zone. It has to be done quickly, safely and efficiently.

There is simply no point in leaving one dangerous situation only to find you are in worse shape.

Get out of the area quickly. Once the decision is made you cannot linger. In some cases, it may take you all day just to clear the urban sprawl if you are on foot and this is where it gets dangerous. If you cannot leave in a vehicle then you really are in a perilous situation, probably more treacherous than sheltering in place.

Leaving before the highways become clogged is your only chance, so this means you will have to leave before the need to flee is evident to others. You need to be informed and you need to make certain decisions based on information you have gathered. You need a plan in place for information gathering.

You have to be confident that the situation will escalate to where your life would be in danger if you stayed. You of course, would have to leave well ahead of the danger, so you are taking a chance. You may leave and then realize you did not need to, and now you are miles from home, have used up supplies, and may not have access to fuel to get back home. You need to plan for this as well.

You have to be able to sustain yourself independently of others. In other words, you cannot make a dash for the nearest drive thru window or hit up the local grocery store. If you do not have it in your bag you have to do without it.

There is a reason why bug-out-bags are also referred to as 72-hour bags. You cannot carry enough on your back for an extended period. Seventy two hours of supplies is the reality for most people. Water, food, clothing and medical supplies are heavy. You need a plan for resupplying yourself.

The Objective

Distance from the danger is important. If your city is attacked for example, you cannot linger in the area, so you need to know the fastest routes out of the area.

You need a destination in mind, a destination that is some distance from the hot zone. You need a way to get there, and assuming you can leave on foot is not thinking the plan through and it means you probably do not have a good enough plan.

Anyone can come up with a plan but not everyone can carry out that plan. It takes practice and hands on experience or otherwise your plan will not be based on reality. It is easy enough to plan on bugging-out with the spouse/partner, children, and other family members. Easy enough to imagine this is what you would do, that is until you have to do it, and this is when plans meet reality and many will fall apart at this point if you have never conducted a dry run,  and then tweaked your plan based on what you found out during your dry run.

How to Plan On Bugging Out

Know what you expect to achieve before you come up with a plan, and then come up with back up plans. Do you plan on setting up camp at the nearest Motel 6, go to a relatives or friends’ home or do you have other destinations in mind.

Much depends on the crisis, so in essence you will not know what your plans are until something happens. If the crisis is localized then you could seek safety with friends or relatives miles away, or at a motel in another city, but if the crisis affects the entire country then where do you go.

You need a plan for natural disasters as well as one for manmade disasters. Forest fires, flooding, hurricanes, and other disasters may force you from your home. This type of crisis is generally localized however, and it is simply a matter of getting out while you still can. Getting to an area not affected and having the means to sustain you and your family until the crisis abates and it is safe to return is the intent. If the power grid collapses then your plans to find a motel, go to a relative or friend’s home is not applicable.

What Do You Need

  1. You need a threat analysis so you can prepare for the most likely. Heavily populated areas are targets for attacks for obvious reasons, but again you cannot decide to leave until the area has been attacked or if an attack is expected. The problem is if you know then others will as well.
  2. A destination is critical. You cannot just grab your bag and wander aimlessly until things settle down.
  3. Supplies are critical but again you can only carry so much. This is problematic, because unless you have a destination with shelter and a cache of supplies that can sustain you for longer than 72-hours you cannot survive for long. Herein lies the problem with bugging out.

Your plan has to cover all of the above and then you need backup plans. What if the weather is cold, what if a family member is sick or has an injury that prevents them from leaving.

It is not this articles intent to tell you what you should do one way or another, only you can decide that. The intent here is to get you to think about possibilities and to make you realize that disasters come in all shapes and sizes and no one plan is a “one size fits all”. The plans have to be tailored to you and your family and to what is happening on the ground and they have to be adaptable. In other words what is applicable today may not be relevant tomorrow.

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Survival Knot Tying

The Importance of Knot Tying In A Survival Situation

Skill is what will save your life in a survival situation, and often times it is the simplest of skills that you have, which will be the most useful. Most of us already know how to tie a simple knot. We learned how to tie our shoes at a very early age, and possibly even learned how to lash our books together for easy carrying.

You can tie ribbons on gifts, and may even tie off certain cuts of meats, so knowing how to tie knots is not new, but the type of knots you may need in a survival situation may be new to you.

Knot making is a simple mechanical skill, a skill that you will never forget, but it takes practice, repetition in other words so the skills become natural. In stressful situations you want skills that come to you without thinking, where your hands and muscles know what to do without thought.

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Wilderness Survival Basics Continued

Wilderness Survival Basics Continued

Some people when they find themselves lost in a wilderness environment believe they can walk themselves to safety. In some cases you can of course, but the point is, if you know how to get back to civilization then you are not lost.

Lost means you do not know which way to go, or how to get back home, so where does that leave you. It leaves you lost and it means you have decisions to make, decisions that can impact your survival.

The reality shows and even some survival articles you may find online focus on food. They do this because the average person panics because of food or the lack of food once they find themselves lost. Once you know food is not available the minds tells you that you are hungry and this can be a distraction and it can be deadly in some cases.

When people get hungry that is all they focus on and in a survival situation some may take chances by eating mushrooms for example, because they saw it on TV or eat insects, and berries or plants that may be toxic.

Set Yourself Up For Survival

Before setting out inform someone of the general areas in which you expect to be hiking, hunting, or camping. Let them know when to expect you back, so if you are not back when expected, the authorities can be notified. If you know someone will be notifying the authorities then you can hunker down and wait. Your objective as always is to survive until rescued.

Shelter Basics

Do not spend all day building a roof over your head and ignore ground insulation. Build a bed instead and then if time permits build something for overhead. It does not matter how well the roof is constructed if your body conducts all of its warmth to the cold ground. You may fall asleep and never wake up if you do not have good ground insulation. You can cover yourself with leaves or dried grasses and you can survive if you have adequate insulation between you and the ground. Even if the air temperature seems warm the ground is colder and you must be aware of this to prevent hypothermia in cold weather.

Help Those Helping You

Do what you can to help your rescuers’. Build signal fires or trace SOS in the snow by piling vegetation in the form of the lettering so it stands out against the white snow. Rescuers may be in the air, walking your trail or traveling along the coastline in watercraft, so make sure your signaling can be seen from the air and ground.

Use high ground for signal fires and along the water’s edge if near a significant sized body of water. Brightly colored material can work as well, life jackets, tent material, clothing and so on.

Above all stay put, shelter in place and let them come to you. Wandering around trying to find your way back will make it harder for those looking for you, and it increases your chances of injury, you will drink more water and use up valuable energy.

You Will Not Starve To Death

Something else will do you in long before you starve to death, but being hungry is not comfortable and it is a distraction as noted earlier. However, it is not worth attempting to curb your hunger by eating plants, certain bugs, mushrooms or berries unless you have extensive experience in identification of them. The only value you would get from a few leaves is a psychological one and the downside can be sickness or worse. Focus on water, shelter, and fire. These three things will keep you alive until rescued.


Even clear running streams will contain pathogens and bacteria and ideally of course, you would filter and then purify any surface source, but you may not have the means. Dehydration is a certainty, but sickness is not always certain and this is where decision making to survive comes in.

If you simply have no means of filtering or purifying and you need water to survive then you would have to drink the water. Obviously, it is better to be rescued sick then discovered dead.

The way to survive is to prepare to survive and this means telling someone where you will be and when you will be back and always carrying a survival kit whenever you venture outdoors.

Never leave home without the basics for survival and they are water and the means to collect and purify it, a shelter or the means to construct one,  fire starting materials and signaling material and finally food for energy and for morale.

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Fire Starting Basics

Fire Starting Basics

A previous article discussed the basics of wilderness survival, the basics meaning simple and straight forward. Information to get you started, and information that can actually save your life. No fancy tricks, and no years of training needed to learn the basics of surviving long enough to be rescued.

Once you know the basics however, you can then build upon them. You will need practice to gain confidence, so that you can actually change the environment around you allowing you to survive in it.

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Wilderness Survival: The Very Basics

Wilderness Survival

Your goal, if you find yourself lost or stranded is to survive until rescued or to sustain mobility so you can self-rescue.

Survival reality shows, for dramatization place the experts in extreme situations. If one were cynical, you might believe some of the situations were staged, because of the extreme nature in some cases, some but not all. Knowing this however, does not take away from the fact that you can actually learn something from the shows.

It is not likely you will awaken one morning to find yourself in the Alaskan wilds or in the middle of the Amazon with literally just the clothes on your back however. You started out on your outdoor adventure with the intentions of coming back in the same shape as when you left.

You likely started out with something, a bicycle, a backpack, possibly firearms, even an ATV in some cases and with items in your pockets as well. Items that can help you survive if you realize you have them.

A day hike, a mountain bike ride, a short hunting trip or you simply decided to grab your binoculars and do a little bird watching, but something went wrong. A wrong turn, a weather event, an injury or you simply wandered a few yards off the trail and became confused. Regardless of how, the fact is, you are now lost or stranded and you have to deal with it quickly, rationally and skillfully.

Survival Skills Are Not Necessarily the Same as Bush Craft Skills

Certain wilderness survival skills are needed for short-term emergencies where your sole focus is on rescue or doing everything you can to find your own way out of the predicament.

Bush craft skills are of course survival skills, and there is much overlap, but bush craft skills not only allow you to survive an emergency in the wild they also allow you to thrive long term in a wilderness environment. 

Lost Versus Stranded

Lost is just that, lost. You have no idea where you are, and of course, have no idea how to get back to camp, the hunting lodge or home.

If you become stranded, you may very well know where you are, but cannot get back because of an injury or mechanical failure with your bicycle, ATV, snow skies or even snowmobile.

Knowing You Cannot Make It Back and It Is Getting Late

There is always a debate on what should be a priority in a wilderness survival situation. Is it shelter first, fire, water or food.

The answer is it depends. If you do not have extensive wilderness survival training then shelter should be your first priority. You do not know what the darkness may bring, so your shelter should be constructed before dark, regardless of the weather conditions.

In cold weather not having an adequate shelter made within a few hours may mean the difference between surviving and not. You need shelter from the hot sun as well. People have died from heat exhaustion and/or dehydration while searching in the hot sun for water while lost.

The logical course is to seek shade/shelter until it becomes cooler. Conserve sweat, not your drinking water when it is hot. A shelter is as important in hot weather as it is in cold weather. Restrict your movement and stay in a shaded, sheltered area during the hottest part of the day. You want shelter from breezes to slow the evaporation of sweat to slow down the dehydration process.

If you are lost, staying in place is recommended and you should never attempt to hike through the woods in the dark. Nocturnal predators prowl the woods at night and this includes deadly reptiles such as snakes. You can also walk off the edge of a cliff, trip and break a leg or fall into a ravine, at the very least shelter in place until daylight.

A debris shelter can be put together within hour using what you find on the forest floor, with limited to no tools at all.  Poles propped on one side of a fallen log and covered with pine boughs, leaves and other vegetation would be considered a debris shelter.

Ideally, you would have a tarp or poncho in your backpack. A tarp or poncho together with some forest debris means you could have a suitable shelter made in no time. Once you have a shelter work on making a fire.

A shelter is not just for protection from the elements. Shelter and fire is needed for morale a psychological shot in the arm if you will, not to mention the very practical need for protection from predators and insects. Fire and shelter can protect you from predators and to more than just annoying insects.

Water is critical and once you have a shelter and fire then seek it out if it is an immediate concern, otherwise hunker down as darkness falls and wait until daylight.

If you panic, you may die and it is that simple, because people make mistakes when they panic, they fall off cliffs or into ravines while dashing from tree to bush, because they think they recognize the tree or bush.

Camp is just around the bend in their mind but it never is, soon the person is worn out, possibly injured, and they have sweated profusely and now need more water, of which they have little. They are still lost, exhausted, scared and it is now getting dark.

Get your mind straight and face the fact you are lost, and that you can think your way through it. You do have resources that you can use. You just do not know what they are until you evaluate your situation calmly and rationally and can see things for what they really are.

Anyone can get lost, even the experts can and do get lost, but the deciding factor when it comes to surviving is that the experts prepared to become lost. Whenever you set out for the woods, regardless of the reason or expected time in the woods, be prepared to stay in the woods overnight or even longer.

You need shelter, fire, water and eventually food. In most cases however, you would be rescued or would find your own way out before starvation became a problem. However, food/nourishment is needed for energy and for morale.

There is that word again morale. Self-confidence and the will to survive is important, the comfort from food is not to be discounted when in a survival situation. Food can calm your nerves, and most people would tell you that food would be their first concern if they did ever become lost.

If you have the skills to survive long enough to starve to death then you would never starve to death.

A Wilderness Survival Kit Is Not a Bug-Out-Bag

The biggest mistake people make is that they overload their bags. What happens when this is the case? The bag is left behind more often than not for those short forays into the wild. The kit is designed to be carried at all times, especially when you think you will only be gone for a few hours or even for just a few minutes.

Keep in mind a survival kit is not necessarily a replacement for the typical supplies you would carry if hunting, camping or even hiking. A wilderness survival kit should be an everyday carry (EDC) whenever in a wilderness environment.

Recommended Items Include:

  • A quality fixed bladed knife
  • A multi-tool
  • A lightweight and waterproof tarp
  • Poncho
  • Fire starting materials
  • Water
  • Water purification means such as purification tablets/ small metal container for boiling
  • Cordage, quality nylon rope or Paracord 50 feet at least
  • Protein bars, trail mix and/or several MRE’s
  • Signaling device or materials such as a whistle, mirror or brightly colored cloth or signal flags

The fixed bladed knife is worn on your belt along with a full canteen of water, with water in the pack as well. The poncho and tarp are tightly rolled or folded up and the rest of the items can easily fit in a small pack that can be shouldered or strapped to a bicycle for example. Not heavy or cumbersome so it can be easily carried no matter the situation.

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