First Aid Kits-What You Need To Survive
I mentioned a few years ago that I hired a professional photographer to take pictures of my emergency preparedness items. I’ve taught classes on food storage and emergency preparedness at different churches, subdivisions, businesses, and other groups. With all the challenges we’re hearing about on the news, like the train derailment in Ohio, I thought I better update this post. I wrote the post a number of years ago but wanted it to be fresh on my mind, and yours.
It’s getting harder and harder for me to haul all my “stuff” to the different locations, so pictures are working great for presentations. Today, it’s all about first aid kits and the many ways you can put one together. First aid kits can be fairly simple, but you can also make them very large when it comes to their contents. You know best what your family may need, but this post outlines some basic ideas as we brainstorm together. I highly recommend getting a tourniquet, if you take some time to learn how to use it. Tourniquet
First Aid Kits-What You Need To Survive
Gather Up Your First Aid Items
Please look around your house and gather your first aid items to see what inventory you have so you can then evaluate what you need to replace, discard, or purchase. If you have a first aid kit already, that’s awesome!
If you’re like me, sometimes you need to discard expired over-the-counter bottles or boxes. Here’s the deal, you don’t need to purchase an expensive first aid kit, just start with a little and add the things you need as your budget allows.
The first few pictures are professional photos and then some of my own non-professional ones, but I wanted to share several ways to make first aid kits. Please note that you can purchase most of these first-aid kit containers at your local store or online.
First Aid Kits
The blog I wrote a few years ago making a first aid kit out of a fishing tackle box has been one of my most popular posts. The tackle box is fairly cheap to purchase and you can easily see most of your first aid supplies at a glance. I would add a Fingertip Pulse Oximeter (test oxygen levels) to this list since I’ve learned many of us have breathing issues and need to be tested often.
You can see the box open below with the supplies I use. Now, these are just a few items I have collected to fill this fishing tackle box. Here is the link to a great list if you can use it, remember everyone stores different first aid supplies. First aid: Supplies by Linda
Some initial first aid supplies to consider right now:
- Medications: whether it’s prescriptions you use daily, or over-the-counter items like ibuprofen, aspirin, allergy pills, ointment, sunscreen, etc. These come in handy whether you’re on a day hike in the backcountry, campout, river run, or in a true emergency. If you have a diabetic in the family, you’ll for sure need to include a syringe supply.
- Bandages and Gauze: it could be a small scratch or a major puncture wound, you need to cover it and try to stop the bleeding. Most first aid kits aren’t designed to address real trauma situations, but protecting from bacteria and blood loss is critical. Having some durable water-resistant bandages is a good idea since your challenges may come with some rain or snow.
- Splint Materials: this could include some short rods or wood sticks to hold the bones in place, twine or bandage adhesive, and a sling. Some people like a Structural Aluminum Malleable (SAM) splint that comes with a core of soft aluminum alloy layered between some foam. It is very pliable and can be bent to fit the needs of most bone breaks or muscle pulls.
- Special Tools and Equipment: some things that can make are real difference are latex gloves, scissors, tweezers, whistle, sterile pad material in various sizes, and tourniquet materials. I’d also consider a spoon for liquid meds, safety pins, straps to carry or tie down things, an emergency blanket, antiseptic wipes, a hand crank radio, masks like a CPR mask, and extra batteries.
Stanley Max First Aid Kit
Below, I did another post about using this Stanley FatMax tool storage unit. The Plano fishing tackle is great, but it’s quite heavy for me to carry. It’s perfect in my house for the first aid supplies I use all the time at home. I decided to fill another larger container, thus the Stanley FatMax came to my mind as a great option when I saw it. Plus, it’s fairly inexpensive and has wheels. It also has compartments to place items so you can find them with easy access. I looked up Home Depot and Walmart, they still sell this gem.
I also liked this unit because it’s made by a reputable manufacturer, has plenty of room to pack things, and it folds up to a reasonably compact size considering all it holds. Although it isn’t ultralight, the bottom line is it’s really a survival kit!
I wanted something I could take to a school, church, or out to my street if I needed to help people. Keep in mind I am not a doctor, nurse, or anyone in the medical field. I have done extensive research as to what needs to be in a first aid kit. We will all fill our own kits with supplies we feel comfortable using based on family size, members with special needs, finances, etc.
I can put more supplies in this Stanley FatMax unit, so it was a perfect fit for me. I highly recommend this Medical Handbook. I think this handbook and my book Prepare Your Family For Survival will really help you be prepared for the unexpected more than you would be without them.
Take some time to read both, take notes, and ensure you feel comfortable that your family is as prepared as possible. There are so many things that can come up to surprise us. Prepare now so you’re not surprised when you discover you’re missing some critical items when your family is in real need.
Now, I realize everyone may not have a lot of money to fill their first aid kits right off the bat. If you have a box, start with that. Most of us have some extra buckets in our homes, they would work great as well.
I did purchase some black vinyl lettering for these 5-gallon buckets, but a magic marker would work great too! Make the job for yourself as simple and easy as you can. Just pick up a bottle of this, a box of that, some band-aids, and some Benadryl, that’s all you need to do to get started.
College First Aid Kit
I gave this to my granddaughter as a high school graduation gift. The box is a medium size box so it wouldn’t take up a lot of room in her apartment or dorm.
I didn’t want my granddaughter to go out at night to pick up some fever-reducing products, Vicks VapoRub, lip balm, cough syrup, or Imodium. Yes, I sent her some of my favorite essential oils. It’s what a grandma does, right?
First Aid Kit For Kids
I’m a grandma and a mom, and when the grandkids come to visit, sometimes we need some supplies just for the younger ones. So I try and keep supplies that are age appropriate. I rotate and discard the expired ones, as needed.
Some of the ones you may want to consider are Tylenol, Motrin, cough syrup, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, Orajel, lip balm, and allergy tablets, just to name a few. A thermometer would be awesome and add some cute band-aids and the kids always smile with a cute band-aid on their boo-boo, right?
I am so thankful that a reader, Joanne D. reminded me to put a “print” button on my website. I realize a few of you print and organize my articles. I’m so grateful you can use them. If you teach others, that will melt my heart. Let’s teach the world to be prepared because I can tell you this, the government will not be able to take care of all of us.
Southern California Snow Storm 2023
We will be on our own, we must be self-sufficient. I saw something on the news from Southern California where they had a huge snowstorm in the city. They received more snow than ever before. My recollection was ten feet over a period of a couple of days at most. The residents knew a big snowstorm was headed their way ahead of time. The problem was the people had no idea it would be this much snow.
Most cities aren’t equipped with the snow removal equipment or the personnel to be able to clear the streets, keep the power grid up and running, and clear the highways with a storm this big. One lady on the news was surprised the city’s street workers where she lived hadn’t been by to help clear their street or at least provide some food. Wait, did I hear that right? They were expecting some food to be delivered when the streets couldn’t even be scraped fast enough for people to drive on.
Please let me remind everyone to keep food for emergencies such as this one. Here’s an article from the New York York Times on the Southern California snowstorms. It was free for me to read, because I hadn’t hit the limit of 2 articles per day, so I hope you can read it. It has some really good pictures.
If we have a disaster or unforeseen emergency, we may be on our own for 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, or possibly more. You may know I’m not a doomsday prepper, I’m a mom and grandma trying to teach the world to be prepared for the unexpected. May God help this crazy world we live in today. May God Bless the World, Linda
18 thoughts on “First Aid Kits-What You Need To Survive”
We’ve got trifold bag in the house along with extras, IFAKs on vests and armor, kits in go bags, kits in the vehicles and additional gear like litters.
Our team medic has got more stuff than 2 for us could carry lol.
This will be our next purchase for testing and evaluation.
Its good to have other like you around in the world. Too many times in emergencies I find myself alone.
I stopped and assisted in a bad car wreck 2 yrs ago and an off duty volunteer firefighter was yelling about no one else having equipment and supplies. I asked him where was his personal kit as I was working on the lady, with my IFAK, and he said “well I don’t need one cause I’ve always got the truck”. I said “apparently not always”. It sunk in as we lost her.
Oh Matt, wow, that’s crazy the volunteer firefighter wasn’t prepared. I’m so sorry you lost her, but you tried!! You had the supplies to try! I need to get this rescue essential, GREAT TIP!! It’s great to have people like you!! Linda
Very good idea with the divided kits. So many of your posts are so helpful.
Hi Todd, thank you much, that means a lot to me. Lida
Many years ago (before I carried a first aid car kit), I was first on the scene of a semi- truck tipped on it’s roof. Driver trapped! Bad head wound, bleeding all over. At least I had a cell phone (few had them back then) to call for help. And I had some med training as I had worked as a CNA. I took his pulse, respiration rate to tell 911. Grabbed a towel to apply pressure to head wound. Held his hand, told him to stay still and help was on it’s way. Next vehicle just happened to be a person who was a volunteer first responder (he was on his way to work). Yes, he had his big kit! I was glad to step back, then ran to re-park my car across road to stop traffic so emergency vehicles could get thru (from the direction the first responder told me they’d be coming). Asked another driver to do the same on the opposite end. I learned how having just any med knowledge and keeping calm is So important. That same day I bought a car kit. This was on a truly rural road. That first guy did come and find me, thanked me, saying my towel and pressure actually Had Helped. As had my stopping traffic, telling people to stay in their cars. I told him that I was dang glad it was him who just happened along …I think it took almost half an hour before the ‘jaws of life’ stuff was there.
It’s too bad your first responder was complaining. I do wish that high schools or drivers Ed classes would teach about having a med kit. I have always carried supplies in case of car breakdown (thanks, mom!)but I really didn’t think to put in med supplies. Linda, your including this topic/supplies in this article could save a life. Unfortunately, a lot of young people don’t/won’t carry one, including mine! I just saw the med kit I made for my young one was put on my storage cabinet: he had too much sports equipment plus his get-home bag to keep in his trunk…at least he kept his ghb. Lol, of course he actually has had to use things from it when he got stuck in the ditch in winter.
Hi Wendy, wow, this is a great comment! I love hearing you were instrumental in helping with this accident. I sure wish we could get more people to carry a first aid kit or two. We all need to stay calm, you learned this first. I wish drivers ed and high schools would teach about road accidents and the need to carry supplies at all time. Great comment, Linda
Thanks for the good info. Questions: how do you keep your kit from getting super hot in cars in the Summer and super cold in cars in the Winter? I believe they would loose effectiveness if kept in cars with very high/low temperatures. Which items would need to be replaced and how soon??
Hi Irene, that’s a very good question. We have extreme heat here in Southern Utah in the summer so I trade out the items I’m concerned about a couple of times of the year. I don’t store any liquid in case it leaks or freezes if I go up north. The bandaids are fine, I test them a couple of times a year. I only store enough medication for one year. I just rotate it. I have BlueCans for water which will withstand temps of 145-150 degrees in the stash. I can’t worry a lot, I just know whatever I have will have to work if we have an event. So far, that’s worked. Duct tape is my BFF! Linda
LOL at the duct tape comment. Four true tape/duct tape stories. When my dad was a kid he fell off the porch steps and from that fall a part of his ear got cut off and my grandfather just taped it back on and it grew back together. When I was a kid I was playing hide n go seek by hiding underneath a ’70’s era couch and when someone sat down on it the spring cut deep into the side of my knee and after cleaning it with peroxide they then just slapped duct tape on it. When I was in my 20’s I had a deer hit my car which busted out my back passenger side window. Since I always keep duct tape and clear painters drop cloth in my car, I just taped up the window and proceeded on my way to work. When I broke two of my fingers while fishing, I just taped them together with a stick and duct tape until I finished fishing and got back to the house to properly splinter them up. I spent my entire life in the south I can honestly say that it’s a cardinal sin to never have duct tape on hand whether it be in your car or in your home as its the proverbial prep to keep on hand for everything.
Oh Darla, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this comment! Duct tape is a must for sure. Your 4 stories prove we always need duct tape in our home, our car, or when fishing! Great tips! This is why we stock a lot of up! Linda. P.S. Cardinal sin if we don’t stock it, yep!
When I saw your comment about the So Cal residents being upset that they weren’t being help with food while snowed in, made me think about how outraged I was when I saw this on the news a few days ago. I live here in So Cal and while I do not live where it snows, I was shocked that people that live in an area that snows and could be potentially snowed in, not prepare for it. It seems for some people, their disaster relief plan is to expect someone else to take care of them. While they may have had more snow then they usually do, I am surprised that they are not aware of when they may have more snow and replenish their food supplies beforehand.
HI Roxanne, I’m glad you saw that on the news the other day. I was hesitant to mention it but felt I needed to because there really are people out there who are not prepared at all to take care of themselves. I had to back up the episode to be sure I heard what I thought I heard! Oh my gosh!! I have a daughter who lives in Flagstaff, AZ. and this year they have gotten so much snow and it still is coming down! She sent me a picture of her 6-foot husband standing on their driveway with the snow at least 2 feet above his head. Crazy weather. Oh yes, she has food storage and water stored. I’m glad you saw that newsreel, it’s pretty scary if you think about it. I would not want to tell my kids, we have no food and no way to go get some. Thank you for commenting, Linda
Thank you, Linda and all posters on this thread about first aid kits. I think a lot of people may decide not to bother with tourniquets, but I would suggest that you rethink that issue. According to the professor of the First Aid course on using Tourniquets that we sat under, he says it only takes 2-3 mins for a person to bleed out and die, if the wound is bad enough or in a very unfortunate place. Then, you really should learn about or get instructions and practice using one! You could save a life or even your own if you know how to use a tourniquet!
Thanks again to Linda and all of you “post-ers” with such great suggestions and reminders!
About the snow-bound people in So. California: Wow! You mean to say they truly thought someone would come and feed them for free??? Well, maybe someone who owns their own airplane…. Dream on, buttercup! That is why one Scout Motto used to be “Always be prepared!” In other words: learn some responsibility, plan ahead and grow up!
Hi Jess, oh my gosh, I love your comment. I will add the tourniquet to the post (great reminder), thank you! I got the giggles over, Dream On, Buttercup! LOL! I haven’t heard that phrase for years, love it! Linda
I would change a couple things, being sensitive to latex. . I would (and do) use nitrile gloves.. also, be careful with duct tape on people with latex issues as the adhesive contains latex. I still use duct tape, just not directly on skin. Oh, if you are not sensitive to it, I have heard you can put duct tape over a wart and just leave it on. Supposedly, when the duct tape falls off, the wart will be gone. Have not tried, obviously, but it sounds good!
Hi Jan, good to know about the duct tape adhesive, thank you! That wart idea sounds awesome! Linda
I never need a first aid kit, until I need one and it’s so annoying! I really need to get my butt in gear and get our around. I bought one from Sam’s Club a long time ago and the kids burned through that one no problem! Thanks for the tips.
Hi Jess, oh having young kids uses a lot of first aid supplies. Especially band-aids!!! Linda