What You Should Have in Your Ultimate Survival First Aid Kit

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Last Updated on June 9, 2021

As a prepper, one of the most important things you can have on hand is an ultimate survival first aid kit. Although prepackaged kits are available in almost any pharmacy, relying on them will leave you ill-equipped if the SHTF.

The following lists will help you create your ultimate survival first aid kit. They are extensive, but not all-inclusive. You will have to add items for special needs you, your family, or even your pets may have. Use your best judgment on quantities. However, keep in mind a rule many preppers follow – two is one, and one is none.

The descriptions and comments within the lists are not medical advice. If you want to be prepared if the SHTF, learn ahead of time how and when to use all the items in your kit and PRACTICE with them. A chest seal looks simple, but there is an art to handling and applying them. Celox Granules are a nightmare in the wind or in rotor down-wash, they are an eye, and throat irritant and take 2-3 minutes to clot whereas the Rapid (or Ribbon) are much easier for the non-professional to handle.

Knowing how to use your medical items can NOT be over-stressed.

Primary Components of the Ultimate Survival First Aid Kit

Do you have the correct supplies in your survival first aid kit?

In addition to the items below, include a comprehensive first aid reference manual. Make sure it’s a paper copy. If the SHTF you could be without power, making electronic versions inaccessible. Being able to look up a medical situation you’re not familiar with can make all the difference to the person you’re trying to help.

Each item is linked out so you can purchase it if needed.

ItemSimple Description/Comments
Adhesive bandagesGet self-adhesive.
Alcohol pads/antiseptic solutionUsed to sterilize areas around wounds.
Antibacterial soapFor cleaning wounds, hands or anything else that gets dirty or contaminated. Buy high quality grade.
Antibiotic ointmentReduces the chance of infection.
Antifungal ointmentTreats fungus infections that thrive in wet and humid conditions
Battle dressingFor traumatic wounds where bleeding is profuse.
Blood clotting powderMay stop or minimize bleeding, especially in people who are on blood thinners.
Burn gelHelps alleviate pain associated with burned skin.
Butterfly bandagesUsed to close lacerations.
Compression bandagesUsed to treat sprained joints. Stock different sizes so you can wrap any joint.
Cotton balls/pads/swabsCleans wounds and applies ointments. Stock an assortment of styles and sizes.
CPR barrier/masksFor protection against exposure to infection.
Eye solution/washSaline-based, helps remove debris from the eye. Used regularly can keep eyes clean.
Foot powderAn alternative to antifungal cream. Powder lasts longer and is easy to apply.
GlovesProtects against contamination and any blood-borne diseases. If latex allergy is a concern, non-latex gloves are available.
Hand sanitizerDe-sanitizes hands and skin. Not recommended for open wounds.
Hydrocortisone creamHelps the body recover from insect bites or stings and minor rashes.
Hydrogen peroxideHelps treat gum discomforts.
Instant hot/cold packsHelps reduce pain and swelling. Stock different varieties and sizes.
Irrigation syringeFor cleaning wounds. A squeeze bottle is a good alternative.
Large cloth dressingsTo protect wounds. 5×9 inches is a good size since they can be cut down as needed.
Medical tapeUsed to secure bandages or to hold medical equipment in place. Try to stock waterproof or water-resistant.
Oral thermometerFor detecting fevers.
Petroleum jellyFor the dressing of burns and small cuts to prevent reinfection or dirt from entering. Can also retain moisture in the skin, especially when it’s too cold. Help keep heat inside the body.
Roll bandagesHave various uses and can be cut into different sizes as needed.
ScalpelUsed for minor surgery or to remove excess tissue. Surgical grade scalpels are best.
Sewing needlesHelpful for dislodging foreign matter from under the skin.
Sharp scissorsCuts bandages and other materials. Have more than one set.
Splinting materialThere are a variety of materials and most can be cut to the size needed.
Sterile gauze padsCovers wounds. Have a variety in the kit.
SuperglueUsed as a waterproof, invisible bandage for small cuts, blisters, and abrasions. Also used for more significant wounds instead of stitches.
SuturesUsed to close severe wounds. Good suture size is a 3-0 and above since smaller sizes might not be sufficient.  If possible, have different sizes on hand.
SyringesCan inject or withdraw fluid as necessary.
TourniquetsWhen used appropriately, can reduce or stop the blood flow through a vein or artery by compressing a limb.
Triangular bandagesSuitable for immobilizing dislocations and fractures.
TweezersMost often used to remove splinters or other tiny objects.
Wooden tongue depressorsUsed for checking throat obstructions and for splinting small fractures.

Equipment and Kits for Your Ultimate Survival First Aid Kit

The following list of equipment and kits will assist you in administering first aid in critical situations.

ItemSimple Description/Comments
Automated external defibrillator (AED)Small, battery-operated unit used for starting a failed heart during cardiac arrest.
Blood pressure cuffUsed to monitor blood pressure.
Burn kitFor severe burns, or burns located on more than one part of the body.
Cervical collarImmobilizes a neck due to a neck or spine injury.
Dentist kitItems in the kit include temporary treatments for lost fillings, caps and crowns.
Foldable stretcherEnables the carrying of an injured person.
Locking forcepsUsed in combination with suturing. They can also stop hemorrhaging blood vessels.
Oral airwaysKeeps a person’s airway open.
Snakebite kitGenerally includes an extractor pump that pulls venom from pooled areas in the body. Cannot extract venom already in the circulatory system.
StethoscopeVerifies breathing and heartbeat.
Suture kitContains a variety of items you need for suturing wounds.

Essential Medications for Your Ultimate Survival First Aid Kit

Include these medications in addition to any pharmaceuticals prescribed by your doctor for ongoing medical conditions. If the SHTF, you may not be able to get to any doctor, or to any pharmacy. So stock in sufficient quantities.

ItemSimple Description/Comments
AcetaminophenReduces pain and fever.
AntacidTemporarily relieves stomach and gastrointestinal pain.
AntihistamineAlleviates mild allergic reactions.
AspirinCommon painkiller and is also used to treat certain heart conditions.
Asthma inhalersIf you or a family member have asthma, put one or two in your kit and leave them in there.
Broad spectrum antibioticsAct on a wide range of diseases. Are used when the source of infection is unknown.
CephalexinHeavy-duty antibiotic good at treating staph infections and other bacterial infections.
Diarrhea treatmentControls diarrhea and can prevent dehydration.
DramamineUsed to treat symptoms usually associated with motion sickness.
Epipen or other allergy medicationPrescribed for people prone to anaphylactic reactions from insect stings or certain foods.
IbuprofenIs an anti-inflammatory and analgesic.
InsulinIf you or a family member has diabetes, ensure your kit includes a good supply of insulin and needles to administer it.
NitroglycerinThis is a treatment for patients with heart conditions.
PrednisoneIs an immunosuppressant and used to treat some inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Stool softenerTreats or prevents constipation.
Sugar pillsCan quickly raise the blood sugar of a person who has diabetes.
Throat lozengesSoothes throat pain.

Handy Herbals for Your Ultimate Survival First Aid Kit

What You Should Have in Your Ultimate Survival First Aid Kit - The Prepper Journal

There are many oils, herbals and other natural remedies available. This list provides a few that may prove very helpful in a survival situation.

ItemSimple Description/Comments
Aloe VeraTreats skin-related problems and burns.
Cranberry extractPrimarily used to treat urinary tract infections.
Clove bud oilAlleviates tooth and gum pain.
Lavender oilHelps heal burns and wounds.
Peppermint oilCan release tight muscles. Mixed with lavender oil can reduce itching caused by rashes or poison ivy.

Rounding Out Your Ultimate Survival First Aid Kit

What You Should Have in Your Ultimate Survival First Aid Kit - The Prepper Journal

This list supports or enhances other items contained in your survival first aid kit. Pack enough for yourself, and some to barter with. Bartering materials are valuable if the SHTF.

ItemSimple Description/Comments
Aqua tabsCleans and purifies water in minutes for drinking, cooking and bathing.
Baking sodaProvides relief to bee stings and can draw out excess pus from a wound.
BatteriesIf you have flashlights or transistor radios or even portable ham radios, have extra batteries on hand in the appropriate sizes.
Cotton sheetsUsed to create makeshift stretchers.
Emergency blanketsUseful in cold weather and for preventing any victim from going into shock.
EnsureCan help with nutritional needs. Some products come in powder form for easy storage and transport.
Extra broad spectrum antibiotics Antibiotics may be one of the most needed medications in your kit.
FlashlightsStock several of these in different brands and styles. It’s helpful if they use the same size batteries. Include a headset type if possible.
Hot water bottleFilled with water, can reduce muscle pain and provide warmth if needed.
Lip balmTreats and prevents chapped and cracked lips.
Magnifying glassUsed to see foreign objects embedded into skin making them easier to remove.
PedialyteReplaces fluids and minerals after a bout of vomiting or diarrhea. Comes in powder form for light and manageable storage.
Pen/pencil and paperRecording vital signs may become essential. You want to track them so you can gauge improvement or deterioration in someone’s condition.
Plastic bagsUsed to dispose of contaminated medical waste. Can also double as irrigation devices by poking a hole in a corner. Resealable are best.
Pregnancy test Knowing if someone is pregnant can ensure proper nutrition.
SunscreenPrevents sunburn.

Using and Maintaining Your Ultimate Survival First Aid Kit

Now that you have all the items assembled, you have a few more steps.

  • Place items in a durable, waterproof bag. Some have liners inside.
  • Create a list of what’s in the bag, along with any expiration dates. Check the list at least twice a year. Replace anything that that’s missing or expired. Refill medications ahead of time.
  • Become as familiar as possible with the medical kit inventory.

It’s vital that you and all the members of your family learn how to use the items in the kit. Otherwise, they are of no benefit to anyone. Keep in mind that there are common and uncommon uses for items in your medical inventory. So learn as much as you can about each thing.

With this kit you will be as prepared as you can be if the SHTF.

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Leah H.

Question: how do you get prescription antibiotics regularly if no one is sick? I don’t know a good way to stock this type of item in advance. Please advise.

Walt Eis

You can still get some antibiotics from vet suppliers – you might see people talk about fish antibiotics.

John

If you have a good relationship with your doctor, he may write you prescriptions. Know what ones you want and what they are for; he is more likely to help you out if you seem to know what you are doing. There is (or was) a place or two on the Internet where a doctor would “interview” you and then provide a large supply of appropriate antibiotics. If all else fails, most of the good antibiotics are available in a tropical fish store. Just make sure you get pure antibiotics, with no additional ingredients to make your fins shinier. Keep… Read more »

Walt Eis

Wow. Quite a list, with some good and some bad. First some of the “bad”: o “splinting material” and “cervical collars”. Get a SAM splint and you have both. Lightweight and simple to use. o epipen – unless you either need one or are certified in using them you won’t get the prescription needed to get one. Training is available, but not free nor quick (it’s usually part of another training, such as NOLS Wilderness First Aid). o Celox and other clotting powders are no longer recommended – by anyone. Now the good: o a lot of good items and… Read more »

John

AED is good to have, but pretty expensive and relatively sizeable compared to most of the other items listed. It does NOT restart a stopped heart, it “resets” one which is “fibrillating” (rapidly and irregularly contracting).

John

I recommend also having a Pulse Oximeter. They have ones which are pretty inexpensive, but are handy for monitoring pulse and blood oxygenation. I like having oxygen available; it is fairly easy to get the tank, regulator and other parts, but last time I tried to get a tank filled it was quite difficult. It seems most places only fill their own tanks these days. A blood sugar meter would be nice, and many are pretty cheap. All the ones I found used “test strips” which are quite expensive and have a very short storage life. A way of checking… Read more »

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