A Good List of First Aid Supplies

This is a list that was forwarded to me.  I have reviewed it and feel that it is a good solid list for a kit that anyone would be lucky to have in an emergency.  Their advice on rotating certain types of dressing is excellent.  This is something that is easy to forget about.  As with any list, yours may vary depending on your expertise.  Remember all the equipment in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t have someone with the expertise to use it correctly.


I like to see these items in my ideal well-stocked first aid kit. Your kit may look different, but should generally include most of these items.

Note: With few exceptions, quantities are excluded because they will vary with the size of the kit, and people served. This list is not intended to be all inclusive, nor the only list should you consult.

  • A durable case – preferably with compartments for storage and ease of access.
  • A good First Aid reference manual – as a reminder of practices and protocols.
  • A card with emergency numbers (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.
  • Self-adhesive bandages (Band-Aids™), various types and sizes – to dress minor wounds.
  • Steri-strips (butterfly bandages) – for closing wounds.
  • Adhesive tape – to dress wounds.
  • Non-adherent pads, various sizes – for burn wounds
  • Triangular bandages – for immobilization of dislocations and fractures.
  • Cotton-tipped swabs – for cleaning wounds, applying saves and ointments.
  • Bandage Sheers/EMT sheers – cutting bandages or victims’ clothing.
  • Tongue depressors – for checking throat issues and as small splinting applications.
  • Tweezers – for splinter removal.
  • Needle – to assist in removing foreign material.
  • Penlight – for emergency lighting and for examination.
  • Oral thermometer (non-glass) – to check vital signs.
  • Syringe or squeeze bottle – for irrigation of wounds.
  • Splinting material – for dislocations and fractures.
  • Emergency blanket – for warmth and treatment of shock.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hydrocortisone cream – for stings and irritations.
  • Burn gels and ointments – for treating burns.
  • Burn pads – for treating larger burns.
  • Ibuprofen – to reduce swelling and for patient comfort.
  • Antihistamine tablets – for allergic reactions.
  • Blood stopper powder – for stopping severe bleeding.
  • Pen and index cards – for annotating victim’s vital signs.
  • Hand sanitizer – when you can’t wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Mole Skin – for treatment of blisters and abrasions.

In addition to the above items, there is a list of “add-ons” that could be added to your first aid kit. These can vary greatly depending on your needs, locations, and activities. Some of these may require additional cost, training, or certifications:

  • Separate compete Burn Kit – for treating multiple or very serious burns.
  • Snake bite kit – for treating snake bites.
  • Israeli Battle Dressings – one of the best on the market for serious trauma.
  • Stethoscope – for listening to breathing and heartbeats.
  • Cervical collar – to immobilize the neck from possible further harm.
  • Foldable stretcher – for carrying victims unable to walk on their own.
  • Blood pressure cuff – to determine victim’s blood pressure.
  • Sutures – to close serious wounds.
  • Hemostats/Forceps – for closing major bleeding vessels or aid in suturing.
  • Automated External Defibrillator (AED) – to help with sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Scalpel – 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.
  • Eye drops – for tired or irritated eyes/contacts.

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 – who couldn’t find a use for it?
  • Paracord 10’ – same as duct tape.

Now that we have everything and the kitchen sink, what items would I consider to be essential to any kit no matter what size?

  • Triangle bandage – has so many uses that it is a must have!
    • Sling, bandage wrap, splinting wrap, bandana, hat, baby diaper, water filter,  sarong, halter top, face shield, shade covering, blindfold, dust mask, tourniquet, pressure bandage, ankle wrap, foot covering, gloves, handkerchief, washcloth, wet and use tie around neck, belt, tie up a pony tail, basket, cold compress…Why do you think every cowboy wore a bandana?
  • Self adhesive bandages (Band-Aids™) in multiple sizes – there really is no good substitute.
  • Antibiotic ointment – secondary infection of a wound can be fatal.
  • Sterile gauze pads (various sizes) – many things can be improvised to slow or stop bleeding, but to properly dress a wound, a sterile covering is vital.

Now that you have gathered every conceivable medical essential, you will need a place to put it all. Ironically, your choice of container is almost as important as what goes into the kit. The size of the kit will be determined by several factors. Is it stationary, or will it be carried? Where will it be going? Where will it be stored? How much room do you have for the kit? Will its environment be wet or hot, or will it be jostled about? Here is a list of possible “non-standard” containers for your first aid kit.

  • Fishing tackle box
  • Tool kit
  • School lunch box
  • Electronics box
  • Ziploc™ bag
  • River rafting “Dry Bag”
  • Pelican™ “type” waterproof container
  • Rubbermaid™ “type” Storage container
  • Plastic office drawers
  • Zippered Nylon pouch/bag
  • Army surplus bag
  • Ammo can (painted with a big white cross so you don’t take the wrong can to the range)
  • Tupperware™ type containers
  • Cigar Box
  • Fanny pack
  • Small nylon/canvas backpack

A few final thoughts: Rotate, rotate, rotate! Just like food on your shelf, some of your first aid kit supplies have a “limited” shelf life. With frequently changing and expanding information on expiration dates, I will not advise you when to discard your “out of date” ointments, creams, and medicines. But what I would like to address are those items that people don’t often realize have a limited life span. Gloves are notoriously short lived, especially in hot environments like a car, RV, or boat. Check them at least once a year and replace when necessary. It is very frustrating to be half way through putting on a glove when it tears, and if you’ve done this a couple of times, the cut on your victims arm may be the least of his worries! Another item with a frustratingly short life time is the self-adhesive bandage. 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.

4 thoughts on “A Good List of First Aid Supplies”

  1. -I didn’t notice, but put in one or more disposal individually wrapped menstrual pads and also baby diapers, they also act as larger ‘band-aid’ if worse comes to worse. Plastic side up wrap duct tape around and your good to go.
    – skip lip balm, and use vaseline, because the vaseline can be rubbed in with cotton balls and will help you as a fire starter. (put some in an old small pill case and use for lipbalm purposes)
    – Tea tree oil- antiseptic and other functions– a drop or two in with vaseline in each nostril works great when u have a cold, an eye dropper full in boiling water, towel over the head and breath in vapors, stays that cough.
    – small bottle of clorox to disinfect, either tools or drinking water.(always worse comes to worse, not sure of dosage for drinking water)
    – box of baking soda, wash hair and body with it, wash veggies, extinguish fires, use it for cooking to soften beans instead of soaking overnight(1-2 hrs in H2O and beans and they are ready), and drink teaspoon in water for acid indigestion.
    I suggest these things because when in hard case scenarios and you run out at least these ‘homestead’ remedies help out a lot.

  2. Great list! I did notice that Q-tips were left off. When cleaning and dressing a wound, it is very important to keep it sterile. When putting antiseptic ointment on a wound, lots of perople use their fingertips not thinking about the transfer of dirt and bacteria not only from their fingers to the wound, but also to the ointment container

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get our very best prepping advice delivered to your email box weekly