Emergency Preparedness and First Aid Kit Buckets
You can make several “dollar stores” first aid kit buckets on the cheap, one item at a time. I have written a lot of articles about first aid kits over the past few years. Here’s the deal, you can buy almost everything at your local dollar store, except for certain bandages, to fill a 5-gallon bucket for supplies.
I would highly recommend buying a good brand of “BandAids” because at the dollar store we don’t know how old they may be and they may not stick as needed on a cut or deep wound. Of course, some things will typically not go bad to the point we can’t use them, like gauze, scissors, etc. I’m going to show you a few first aid kits I have designed over the years and hopefully, they will fit almost every budget.
I actually got this idea from a reader, it was one of those cartwheel moments when I told her, “Oh my gosh, AWESOME idea!” She had been given some 3-gallon buckets and started slowly filling them with first aid supplies. I told her I could see a post coming using her idea! Thank you, Janet, for the 3-gallon bucket idea! I decided to get 5-gallon buckets because I have a perfect spot to store them.
I’m so color-coded, as you probably know by now. I decided on white buckets with red Gamma lids and I bought lettering for the American Red Cross similar symbol in red with black lettering to indicate a few items in the buckets. Gamma Seal Lid, Red, 3 Pack – New! – Boxed! – 5 Gallon Bucket Lids (Fits 3.5, 5, 6, & 7 Gal.) Storage Container Lid and 5-gallon food-grade buckets can be found pretty inexpensive in your local grocery stores.
I started writing what I would put in each bucket and it got out of control, so I narrowed the selection to the statements above on the white buckets. You could easily use a permanent magic marker in red and black and do the same thing. I speak at several classes throughout Utah so I needed to have them look a bit more professional, so I purchased vinyl lettering at a local store in town.
Table of Contents
DIY Dollar Store First Aid Kit Buckets:
Here are a few items you may want to add to your containers. I have a PRINTABLE: First Aid Kit by Food Storage Moms
Remember, just pick up a few items every time you visit a dollar store in your neighborhood. Pick up good BandAids at your local pharmacy or grocery store.
- B-12 Vitamins
- Ziplock Bags
- Zantac (Acid Reducer)
- Vicks VapoRub
- Tucks Pads-Which Hazel
- Tick Remover
- Surgical Face Masks (N-95), all sizes
- Stethoscope-I would buy a good one at your local medical supply store.
- Splinter Removal Kit
- Sleep-Aid Medicine
- Silver Cough Lozenges-my favorite ones: Original All Natural Silver Lozenges – Soothing Honey with Lemon: The Perfect Cough Drop for Cough, Throat & Mouth Health and Immune Support – Contains 30ppm Silver Solution in Each Drop
- Silver Liquid-I recommend this one: 30ppm, Triple Strength pH Balanced Colloidal Solution – Daily Colloidal Silver Supplement for Immune Health – 16oz Bottle of Silver Water
- Silver Gel-I use this one: Extra Strength Silver Gel – 35ppm Silver Gel Activated for Maximum Strength: Great for First Aid/Emergency Gel, Skin Irritations, Wounds, Facial Cleanser, Immune Protection. Therapeutic Grade. (1)
- Rolled Gauze
- Quick clot
- Pregnancy Test
- Pepto-Bismol Chewables
- Petroleum Jelly
- Beth: my oncologist also recommends Merthiolate for surface antiseptic as it never expires.
- Nail Clippers
- Nystatin and Triamcinolone Acetonide
- Non-stick Sterile Pads
- New Skin Liquid Bandage
- Nasal Spray (Afrin)
- Nasal Decongestant PE
- Multi-Task Knife
- Monistat (Yeast Infections)
- Mucinex Dm
- Menstrual Pads and Tampons
- Lotion or Body Cream
- Lip balm/ ChapStick
- Mylar Blankets
- Hemorrhoid Ointment/Suppositories
- Heat packs-Heating pads
- Hand sanitizer
- Gauze Pads (sterile and non-sterile)
- Gloves (non-latex)
- Flashlights w/batteries
- First-Aid Shears
- First-Aid Book
- Eye Patches
- Essential Oils Book
- Epsom Salt
- Elastic Gauze Bandage Rolls
- Ear Plugs
- Ear-Loop Masks (N-95), all sizes-I get these on Amazon 3M 1860 N95 RESPIRATOR AND SURGICAL MASK Box of 20
- Duct Tape
- Dressings for open wounds
- Dramamine (motion sickness)
- Cotton Swabs
- Cotton Balls
- Contacts/Contact Cases/ Extra Glasses/Saline
- Cold Medicine/Cough Syrup
- Castor Oil
- Calamine Lotion
- Burn Gel
- Bug Spray – 100% Deet
- Boudreaux’s Butt Paste
- Birth Control
- Betadine/iodine swabs
- Benadryl, Liquid, and Chewable
- Bee Sting Kit
- Band-Aids/Butterfly, Several Sizes
- Bandage Scissors
- Apple Cider
- Alcohol: 90-100% proof
- Aleve (Naproxen)
- Anti-Itch Cream
- Antifungal Ointment
- Anti-Bacterial Wipes
- Allergy Medicine
- Ace Wraps : 3 inch & 4 inch
- PRID – Homeopathic drawing salve. PRID Salve
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Single edge razors, especially if bandages are needed, thank you, Peter
- Pixey Sticks, honey, and EmergenC thank you, Peter
- White labels approx. 5-1/2 by 8-1/2 white or clear for labeling the buckets, thank you, Peter
- B-complex vitamins
- D-3 Vitamins
- Mature Complete Multivitamin
- Omega 3 Fish Oil
- Vitamin C
- Essential Oils
Plano fishing tackle box that works great:
I filled this Plano fishing tackle box Plano Large 6-Tray Tackle Box with as many products as possible as listed in the PRINTABLE list above.
My Large First Aid Kit:
I filled this awesome STANLEY FAT MAX with as many of the items as I could from the PRINTABLE list shown above.
Please get a good emergency medical handbook:
The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way
Essential Oils Pocket Reference
May God bless you to be diligent in being prepared for the unexpected. Please make some dollar store first aid kit buckets with friends and family. You’ll be glad you did, I promise. Linda
20 thoughts on “Emergency Preparedness and First Aid Kit Buckets”
Thanks again for a great reminder. I’ve found the best price for bag balm and stretch wrap for wound care is in the equine section at Tractor Supply Stores. My oncologist also recommends Merthiolate for surface antiseptic as it never expires.
Hi Beth, great tip on the Bag Balm!! Thanks for the tip on Merthiolate, I just added it with your name on the post! Great reminder about that great antiseptic that’s been around for a very long time. Linda
One thing I would suggest for any type of first aid kit we build is to have the items that do expire in a ziplock bag so that you can just grab the bag periodically to go through and discard those that have expired.
I would also suggest keeping any manuals/books in some sort of moisture resistant bags.
Also something people need to keep in mind is where to store the first aid kits: if they are exposed to much variance in temperature, that will or can affect the efficacy of many of the items. Adhesives can melt and become a mess on bandages; the elastic in bandages can degrade; medications can and will become destroyed. Keep these kits in an area that maintains constant temperature and humidity.
Something else that I keep in my first aid kit is herbal teas. They are calming and may actually help your body recover more rapidly. Again, I would keep these in a separate ziplock bag so that I can recycle when they expire.
Hi Leanne, great reminder about keeping our first aid kits away from the heat. In my car, I have to rotate them all the time because of the heat. I love the baggie to rotate products, great comment! Linda
My medicine cabinets are overfull and I hadn’t thought of setting up the buckets, such a great idea, I can get the smaller icing buckets from the local bakery and have enough extra to stock some buckets.. since I never plan on escaping in case of an emergency, couldn’t walk far and have everything near me here but in case the house were to crumble, it best if meds and emergency supplies in 2 different areas…. thanks again for great help Jeanne, Mojave Desert, So Cal.
Hi Jeanne, the icing buckets are a great idea!! I’m not planning on leaving my house unless I have an earthquake and my house caves. Good idea to have a bucket in two different areas. Great comment on the icing buckets! I love it! Linda
Great ideas there, that I will adapt to my situation. May I suggest proper first aid training though? Once you are trained, you realise what is most important is the SKILL to deal with emergency medical situations.
Hi Paul, great comment! We should all get some first aid training. I love it! Linda
In looking over the list of First Aid supplies I would add single blade razor’s (or one of the new electronic beard shavers) to allow you to get to the skin near body parts covered by hair (thinking guys here). It also helps in allowing tape to stick to the bare skin and not pull the hair out when removing (ouch). Also include some honey or pixey sticks to sweeten the herbal teas and something like Emergrn-c packets. And last comment, you can get 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 (white or clear) printable shipping labels to make your oun custom identifiers for the storage buckets.
Appreciate the work and help you are providing all of us.
Hi Peter, oh my gosh, I love your comment! I’m adding your ideas to the post!!! Thank you so much!! Linda
The local store has a bakery in it and they toss the 5 gallon, the 2 gallon buckets if no one asks for them, some of the smaller ones are square, making the best for stacking with less lost space around them, and of course safe for only food grade has been in them.. i use some for dog water containers and others for planting , the white blocks the desert sun as when using the black pots I need to cover with burlap to keep them from baking, Tomatoes love heat but not on their roots,
HI Jeanne, I wish we could get the word out about these icing buckets. I know people have commented on them before. Great tip! Linda
The local Animal Control was paying $5 a piece for them at a Big hardware store for the animals, Now getting the ones that are safe for the creatures and disposable if old and saving money too, the food buckets are so nice for they were made for food, not tools or paint, etc. your local restaurants and fast food have them, even the pickles come in buckets for the big food places, I sure like the safe ones even for storage of rags or what ever. Walmart has given them to me too , Even if you have to pay $1 each it is a safe food bucket, just wash out the icing and fill, cap and save for the future. I store dog and cat food in plastic bags in the buckets, lids fit tight, great when I had chickens too…. but rats will eat thru the buckets if left in a shed….
Hi Jeanne, rats eat through the buckets??? Oh my gosh, I didn’t know that!! When they are food grade, you are getting a bargain, the best idea for so many things. Love It! Linda
-a bucket in the trunk can be a lifesaver, in hot or cold country, a blanket, a gallon of water and some snacks can get you thru a car breakdown in snow or Desert heat, another bucket for flares, small fire extinguisher, warning red cones, and hope you never need them… Buckets can keep your food storage much neater too, all rice in one, sugar and flour in another one, pastas in one more, and 5 gallon bucket make a great cheap potty, just have the sawdust/shavings and a sack of lime near it,
Always need new ideas for uses, for food storage and other needs..
Hi Jeanne, great tip on the different buckets for the car. It’s all about being prepared and you are, I love it! Linda
I like the idea of labeling and decorating the buckets. It’s looks good and the advantage is that it’ll prevent anyone from grabbing a bucket for other uses. This way your bucket is left untouched and it’s cleanliness won’t be compromised.
It may seem unimportant, but we’re attracted to shiny things and in an emergency it creates confidence. People can see it, sense it’s purpose, read what it is without question and it demonstrates organization and reflects preparedness efforts.
A first aid kit needs to be able to handle physical damage, treat illness through medicine and cover minor issues, debilitating conditions and provide care for potentially life threatening conditions and injuries. A bucket seems like a lot until you consider all it can hold and it’ll cost a little money, but it’s insurance that we’ll have what we need for most common issues and comforting to be self reliant and prepared when help isn’t available.
Hi Frank, I call it insurance as well! I would rather have too much and be able to share with others than not have what I need for an unforeseen emergency. I always love your comments, Frank, thank you! Linda
Hi Bill, thank you, Linda