Emergency First Aid Kit
This page contains information about the basic emergency first aid kit. This kit should be available in your house and another kit (lighter one) in your car or in your backpack.
Emergency preparedness is very essential if you want to increase your survival chances and that of your family in case of a national or local disaster. It pays to be prepared, and it pays to have knowledge of what to do in disasters. Below is a list of what you need to get. Please note that there is also a more advanced kit, which you can find a link at the bottom of this page.
Remember the following if someone is injured or ill:
- Check for BREATHING: Lack of oxygen intake (through a compromised airway or inadequate breathing) can lead to brain damage or death in very few minutes.
- Check for BLEEDING: Life cannot continue without an adequate volume of blood to carry oxygen to tissues.
- Check for SHOCK: Unless shock is prevented, first aid performed, and medical treatment provided, death may result even though the injury would not otherwise be fatal.
There are dozens of commercial first aid kits available from many different suppliers. You have on hand three different types of kits:
A small, basic kit for you car and bug out bag. An intermediate kit for around the home and for traveling. While kit contents will vary, your basic kit (which most outdoors or camping-type stores should carry) should include at least the following. If you can't buy one with these contents, pick up a few supplies and create your own:
- Antibiotic ointment
- Gauze pads
- Iodine or similar prep pads
- Alcohol prep pads
- Butterfly bandages
- Antibiotic ointment
- Medical adhesive tape
- Aspirin and/or non-aspirin pain relievers
The intermediate kit will include more of each of the above items, plus the following:
- Larger adhesive bandages
- Smelling salts or ammonia inhalants
- Ace-type bandages for strains and sprains
- Several sizes of sterile pads
- Rolls of gauze
- Antiseptic towlets
- Snake bite poison extractor
- Safety pins
- Rubber (latex) gloves
- Burn medication
- Anti-itch treatment
- Sun screen
- Diarrhea medication
- Eye drops
- Basic first aid instructions
Your more advanced medical kit can be expected to include not only the above, but some or all of the following:
- Special bandages, such as conforming, trauma and field dressings
- Rubbing alcohol for sterilization
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Sterile sutures, in several sizes
- Wound probe
- Mouth-to-mouth shield
- Instant hot pack
- Instant cold pack
- Prep pads
- Eye pads
- Cotton balls
- Burn treatments
- Dental tools
- Splint materials
- In-depth first aid/surgical guide
- Cold medication
- Colloidal silver
Check here for a list of the advanced Emergency First Aid Kit, which contains many more items than the basic one.
A comprehensive basic first aid kit is the building block of any medical preparations. With relatively simple equipment and supplies you can stop bleeding, splint a fracture, and provide basic patient assessment. Table 4.1 lists the suggested contents for a basic first air kit. The following are the key components of any kit albeit for a work, sport, or survival orientated first aid kit:
Dressings – Small gauze squares/large squares/Combined dressings/battle dressings/ non-adhesive dressings. There is a vast range. They serve two functions: - to cover and stop bleeding and to protect a wound. Exactly what you need is to a large degree personal preference – but whatever you buy you need small and large sizes, and they need to be absorbent.
Roller/Crepe Bandages – These go by various names (Crepe, Kerlix) – but we are talking about is some form of elasticised roller bandage. These are required to hold dressings in place, apply pressure to bleeding wounds, to help splint fractures, and to strap and support joint sprains. They come in a variety of sizes from 3 cm to 15 cm (1-4”) and you should stock a variety of sizes.
Triangular bandages – These are triangular shapes of material which can be used for making slings, and splinting fractures, and sprains.
Band-Aids – Lots of them and in multiple sizes. They are useful for protecting minor wounds and skin damage.
Oral or nasal airways and a CPR face shield – We have already discussed supplies for airway management. Oral or nasal airways are the basics for assisting with airway management. Often when combined with basic airway opening manoeuvres these are sufficient to maintain the airway of an unconscious person. The face shield is if you need to perform mouth-to-mouth on someone. This only really an issue with strangers not close friends or family members.
Sterile normal saline (salt water) or water – You don’t need expensive antiseptic solutions for cleaning wounds. Sterile saline or water (and to be honest – even tap water is fine for most wound cleaning) is all that’s required to irrigate or clean contaminated wounds. There is no clear evidence that using antiseptics over sterile water in traumatic (as opposed to surgical) cuts or abrasions reduces the incidence of infection. The best way to clean a wound is with copious amounts of water or saline. It is also useful for irrigating eyes which have been exposed to chemical, dust, or other foreign bodies.
Tape – You can never have too much tape. It has 100s of uses. We recommend a strong sticky tape like Sleek™ or Elastoplast™. There are many other paper or plastic based tapes around – the main criterion is that it always sticks when required.
Gloves – Needed for two reasons. Firstly you have to assume that everyone you deal with has a blood borne disease. When you are dealing with family members in an austere situation this isn’t so important. The second reason is to try and reduce infection when dealing with wounds. In the same way that using antiseptics over sterile water for irrigation of wounds has minimal impact on the incidence of infection – the same is true for sterile vs. non-sterile gloves. When managing traumatic wounds (again this isn’t true for surgical incisions and operations) there appears to be minimal difference in infection rates between wound management with sterile or non-sterile gloves. Exam gloves are not sterile, can be used on either hand, and are just casually sized (small, medium, large, etc.). They come in boxes of 50 or 100. Nitrile gloves are more than latex. Sterile gloves are packed individually and have specific sizes – 7.0, 7.5, 8.0, etc. Size is important – know your size.
That’s it really, a very basic and limited range of supplies. As you can see this is considerably less than what is sold in many commercial first air kits but this is all that is required in a basic first aid kit. These supplies cover most first aid situations. They give you the ability to provide basic airway management, clean a wound, control bleeding, and splint, and immobilise fractures and sprains. It will also protect yourself from contamination with the gloves and face shield.
Note: This information is offered as personal opinions and should not be taken to represent a professional opinion or to reflect any views widely held within the medical community. Appropriate additional references should be consulted to confirm and validate the information contained in this book.
More information: We hope this page was helpful and provided you with some information about survival first aid kit. Check out our main page for more survival scenarios here Survival Guide, knowledge is light, and knowledge can save your life. Make sure you do your best to know what to do in a survival situation and then hope for the best.
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