Most families keep some type of first aid kit in their home, especially if they have children.
They’re inexpensive and easy enough to pick up at the local drug store. But a ready-made kit may not be of much use for anything more than a minor cut or scrape.
A well-stocked survival first aid kit can be one of the most important resources on your emergency preparedness checklist. In a real emergency, situation hospitals become quickly overwhelmed and you may have to wait a very long time to get the attention you need.
Keeping the right items in your own survival first aid kit could make the difference between life and death in a crisis situation. Every family needs to be able to handle minor injuries in their home.
First Aid Kit Essentials
- Common Adhesive Bandages: These are standard items in even the most basic first aid kits. These types of bandages are useful for most minor cuts and scrapes. Fabric bandages tend to be more expensive but are more flexible and adhere to the skin better. Also, consider adding some waterproof bandages to your supply.
- Larger Bandages: In a crisis situation you may be dealing with injuries that require more than just a simple band-aid. You’ll need gauze pads and wrapping for more severe wounds caused by such things as gunfire or power tools. If you don’t have these things in your kit a simple alternative is sanitary napkins. They are common in most households and can be less expensive as well.
- Elastic Bandages: Elastic bandages are used to support sprained joints and can also be used to secure an aluminum splint. They come in various widths and sizes, from 2-6 inches, and are an important part of your survival first aid kit.
- First Aid Tape: Large gauze rolls and pads usually do not come with their own adhesive and will require first aid tape to keep them in place. But there are some medical tapes made of a material that is stretchy and also sticks to itself without sticking to the skin so it does not cause pain when removed.
- A Blood Clotting Agent: Extensive bleeding from a serious injury can cause death. Celox, a common blood clotting agent, will help stop bleeding quickly and is even effective if the injured person is on prescription blood thinners. Most people don’t keep a blood clotting agent on hand so for small to medium wounds black pepper can be used. Most people have it in their kitchens and it is a natural antibacterial that helps blood coagulate more quickly. A generous amount of black pepper (finely ground) applied with pressure to the wound and covered with a bandage should help stop the bleeding more quickly. Keep in mind that medical attention may still be required.
- Antiseptics: Wounds must be thoroughly cleaned out before bandaging to kill bacteria and prevent it from entering through broken skin. Hydrogen peroxide and/or rubbing alcohol are commonly used for cleaning wounds. Then an antiseptic, such as iodine, should be applied to reduce the risk of infection.
- Adhesive Sutures: Adhesive sutures, also referred to as adhesive tape closures, are a good alternative to stitches for larger cuts if you are unable to get to a hospital for proper medical attention. It’s important to be sure the skin is clean and dry where the adhesive will be applied.
- CPR Masks: It is common for a person administering CPR to use a CPR mask to avoid direct contact with the bodily fluids of the person they are trying to revive. This helps reduce the risk of transmitting viruses from one person to another.
- A Glucosameter: These devices are used by diabetics to help monitor their blood sugar levels. Most diabetics have issues with high blood sugar but low blood pressure can also cause problems such as weakness, dizziness, confusion, and unconsciousness.
- A Blood Pressure Cuff: Like blood sugar, high, as well as low, blood pressure can be problematic and a key indicator of a person’s overall condition.
- An Ear Thermometer: A person’s temperature is another medical vital sign to monitor. Oral thermometers are common in most households and will certainly do if needed but ear thermometers are faster as well as more accurate.
- Aluminum Splints: It’s important to quickly immobilize broken bones. Many common items can be utilized to improvise a splint. But aluminum splints, which are made of aluminum strips coated with a thin layer of foam rubber, are easily configured and formed making them convenient and easy to use.
- Saline Solution and an Eye Cup: A saline-filled eyecup is the best way to flush chemicals, dust, etc. out of the eye without the risk of further injury.
- Syrup of Ipecac: Most moms, especially if they have young children in the house, will have Syrup of Ipecac on hand. It is used to induce vomiting when someone swallows a substance that is potentially poisonous.
- Cold Packs: Cold packs are used to relieve the pain and swelling associated with many injuries, such as sprained ankles or wrists. It’s best to apply them quickly and they come in handy when ice is not readily available. If you don’t have a cold pack or ice, a bag of frozen peas or corn make a really good substitute!
- Hand Sanitizer: The best way to clean your hands to reduce microbes and germs is to wash them with soap and water. But in an emergency situation, where soap and water are not readily available, using an alcohol-based (60% alcohol or more) may be the best, if not only, option.
- Antimicrobial Wipes: Like hand sanitizer, antimicrobial wipes can be used in an emergency when soap and water are not available. They can also be purchased individually wrapped for easy storage and carry.
- Rubber Gloves: Like a CPR mask, rubber gloves can help protect caregivers from viruses and bacteria transmitted through person to person contact.
- Magnifying Glass and Tweezers: These two items can be used to remove painful splinters which can easily become infected.
- Over the Counter Pain Relievers: Once again, these are common in most households and are important and necessary in helping to help relieve pain, as well as swelling, when someone suffers from an injury.
- Personal Prescription Medication: If you or anyone in your family relies on prescription medication to maintain their health it’s important to keep an emergency supply on hand. Don’t wait until you’re down to your last pill. You never know when an emergency could prevent you from getting your prescription refilled.
- Potassium Iodide: Potassium Iodide is a salt that blocks the Thyroid gland from absorbing radioactive iodine, which helps protect it from radiation poisoning. For more detailed information on why you should include Potassium Iodide in your survival first aid kit visit the CDC Website.
Most households will have at least some of these survival first aid kit items already on hand. But there may be some items you are unfamiliar with. Once you add those items to your kit it’s also important to take the time to learn how to use them properly. In an emergency situation, seconds can count and knowing how to take quick action could make a big difference when caring for someone in a serious first aid situation.
Better prepare your family for an emergency situation by taking advantage of the many instructional videos available online.