I recently received a communication from a paramedic who asked what I keep in terms of silver and gold for barter purposes in a collapse. In a true collapse, having some of this on hand would be very useful, but only in the early stages when people don’t yet realize that “money” may be worthless in terms of your chances for long-term survival. Food, items for defense, and medical supplies will, over time, become the most valuable surplus items you can have for successful trading.
Food will be in short supply, especially in urban environments once grocery stores are empty. Few have the knowledge of how to grow their own through gardening. Gardening has a learning curve and is subject to the whims of the weather such as the amount of rainfall, storms, and extremes in temperature. Soil conditions and pests will also be a factor, dependent on where you live. Although I’ve been through Master Gardener training in my state, I still sometimes have failures in my attempts to grow certain crops.
Once people know you have surplus food to trade, items for defense will be important for protection. It’s hard to believe that the desperate or unscrupulous would not make you a target in times of trouble. Whatever materials you have for home defense, make sure that you know how to use them safely, and practice with them regularly. A gun, for example, in the hands of the inexperienced may be a danger to themselves as well as to those who wish them harm.
So why medical supplies? Medical supplies and the knowledge of how to use them will eventually, in my opinion, become some of the most valuable items to accumulate in quantity for barter purposes. You can make a wound with a weapon, but few will have the things necessary to heal a wound. Having bandages, antibiotics, blood clotting agents, and other medical materials will give you purchasing power in a world without ATMs, effective water treatment or rule of law.
This is why you can never have too many medical supplies in your survival storage. You’d be surprised how many dressings one significant wound will consume. Don’t forget that you’ll be in charge of caring for that wound from beginning to end in a true survival scenario. Barter only what you can spare.
Don’t forget the value of your medical knowledge as a trade item. Not everyone knows how to stop bleeding, deal with orthopedic injuries, perform long-term wound care, or treat infection. If you are the medic, your services have a value. What do you think that value would be in circumstances where a family has a child that is sick or a loved one that is injured? To me, this is a compelling argument for taking the time and effort needed to learn these skills, even in normal times.
This doesn’t mean that you should expect something in return every time you help someone in medical need. The value of good will in a survival community is not to be underestimated. However, grateful parents, if they’re able, will often want to reward you in some way for saving a child’s life, and this may increase the chances for your own family’s survival. Indeed, your services may become so valuable that you will become an asset that your community will make a priority to protect.
Food, water, and shelter are the most important things to have if things go south, but medical supplies and the knowledge of how to use them is a strong second. An understanding of what plants in your area may have medicinal value will also help, as pharmaceuticals will run out in a long-term survival setting.
I strongly encourage you to become a medical resource by learning skills that might save a life in dark times or even today. You’ll benefit your family, your community, and greatly increase the chance that you’ll succeed, even if everything else fails.
Joe Alton, MD
Fill those holes in YOUR medical storage by taking a look at Nurse Amy’s line of kits and supplies at store.doomandbloom.net. You’ll also find her DVD “Guide to Medical Supplies” to see what you should consider having for the uncertain future. They could save a life in times of trouble…