Recently I have been updating some of my supplies and have made a few changes to this list of suggested medical supplies for preppers. While this is a fairly complete list, you may have additional training or medical conditions that require specialized supplies
I have not listed a quantity for most of the items, this will depend of the size of your group and the medical conditions of your family or group.
- A durable case – preferably with compartments for storage and ease of access.
- A good First Aid reference manual and a copy of the new Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook.
- A card with emergency numbers for all the members of your group (Poison Control, out-of-state contacts, etc.)
- Gloves (latex or nitrile) – at least 2 pairs, to protect against contamination and pathogens.
- CPR barrier – to protect against disease transmission.
- Large absorbent dressings/AB pads (5”x9” or larger) – to stop or control bleeding.
- Sterile gauze pads, various sizes – to stop bleeding and dress wounds.
- Roll bandages, various sizes– to dress wounds.
- Ace-type roll compression bandage – for sprains and strains. 3 and 4 inch
- Self-adhesive bandages (Band-Aids), various types and sizes – to dress minor wounds.
- Steri-strips (butterfly bandages) – for closing wounds in place of sutures.
- Adhesive tape – to dress wounds. Various sizes
- Non-adherent pads, various sizes – for burn wounds
- Triangular bandages – for slings and immobilization of dislocations and fractures.
- Cotton-tipped swabs – for cleaning wounds, applying salves and ointments.
- Bandage Sheers/EMT sheers – cutting bandages or victims’ clothing.
- Tongue depressors – for checking throat issues and as small splinting applications.
- Tweezers, fine points – for splinter removal.
- Needles, sewing – to assist in removing foreign material.
- Penlight – for emergency lighting and for examination.
- Oral thermometer I prefer the old mercury thermometers– to check vital signs.
- Syringe, 60cc or squeeze bottle – for irrigation of wounds.
- Splinting material – for dislocations and fractures. I like the SAM splints in various sizes
- Emergency blanket – for warmth and treatment of shock. If you have room, wool blankets are better.
- Instant cold pack – for treatment of hyperthermia, sprains, dislocations and fractures.
- Instant hot pack – for treatment of hypothermia and some stings and muscle strains.
- Bio bags – for disposal of gloves and medical waste. You can substitute Ziplock bags.
- Eye cup – for aid in removal of foreign matter in the eye.
- Eye solution – for eye contamination and aid in removing foreign matter from the eye.
- Antibacterial soap – for cleaning wounds and hands after treatment.
- Antiseptic solution or wipes – to clean wounds.
- Antibiotic ointment – for wound treatment. I like neosprin.
- Hydrocortisone cream – for stings and irritations.
- Burn gels and ointments – for treating minor burns.
- Burn pads – for treating larger burns.
- Ibuprofen – to reduce swelling and for patient comfort.
- Antihistamine tablets – for allergic reactions. I stock Benadryl and various allergy tablets.
- Blood stopper powder – for stopping severe bleeding. I like the QuikClot dressings.
- Pen and index cards – for annotating victim’s vital signs.
- Hand sanitizer – when you can’t wash your hands with soap and water. This also makes a good fire starter.
- Mole Skin – for treatment of blisters and abrasions.
The above items constitute the basic first aid kit. I suggest that you add the following items, even if you feel inadequate to use them. It probably will be easier to find trained people than the medical supplies or you can get the additional training.
- Separate compete Burn Kit – for treating multiple or very serious burns.
- Israeli Battle Dressings – one of the best dressings on the market for serious trauma.
- Stethoscope – for listening to breathing and heartbeats.
- Cervical collar – to immobilize the neck from possible further harm.
- Blood pressure cuff – to determine victim’s blood pressure. These come in different sizes, be sure you have one that is large enough for the biggest member of your group.
- Sutures in various sizes – to close serious wounds.
- Hemostats/Forceps, several – for closing major bleeding vessels or aid in suturing.
- Scalpel handles and extra blades in various sizes – for removing tissue, minor surgery.
- Blood borne pathogen kit – to assist in cleaning up.
- Surgical masks – to prevent disease contamination and blood borne pathogens.
- Eye shields / goggles – for eye protection.
There are also items / medications your victim may need (some of these may require a doctor’s prescription):
- Asthma inhalers – for treatment of asthma.
- Nitroglycerin – for the treatment of heart patients.
- Aspirin – for treating heart patients.
- Sugar pills – for diabetic stabilization.
- Salt pills – for treatment of dehydration.
- Imodium – for treatment of diarrhea.
- TUMS – for gas and heartburn.
- Epi Pen – for treatment of severe allergic reactions.
- Pain relief medications
- Lidocaine and topical anesthetics for tattooing.
- Eye drops – for tired or irritated eyes/contacts.
- Antibiotic, Dr Bones says you may want to consider fish antibiotics Antibiotics And Their Use in Collapse Medicine(tm), Part 4
There are also non-medical items that can work well in a first aid kit:
- Head lamp – for clearly seeing your work area.
- Instant (Super) glue – to close wounds.
- Tampons – for penetration or gunshots wounds and their primary function.
- Glasses repair kit – to repair broken eye glasses.
- Multi tool/Swiss Army knife– for multiple tasks.
- Insect repellant wipes – to keep the bugs away.
- Sun block – to prevent sunburn.
- Lip balm – to prevent chapped lips.
- Hand lotion – for dry and chapped hands and feet.
- Talcum powder – for treatment of rashes and foot care.
- Desitin ointment – for treatment of rashes and sore areas.
- Hair comb – for removing items from victim’s hair and for hygiene.
- Disposable razor – for cleaning treatment site or for personal hygiene.
- Duct Tape – This can be used to stabilized injured patients, if you have to move them and also to hold on dressing.
Many medical supplies need to be rotated; some have a “limited” shelf life. I personally do not pay a lot of attention to expiration dates on most medications. I figure that they will last several years past the dates. But what you need to be aware of is those items that people don’t often realize have a limited life span.
Latex or nitrile gloves have a short life, especially in hot environments like a car. Check them at least once a year and replace when necessary. Another item with a short life time is band-aids. As band-aids get older, heat and age tends to breakdown the adhesive and it loses its cohesive strength. If a self-adhesive bandage can’t “stick,” it really serves no purpose.
Remember to check your medical supplies at least once a year and replace anything you have doubts about.