My First Aid Kit for Disaster Preparedness

Here’s a list of what’s in my emergency preparedness first aid kit, and why. The kit occupies a medium sized duffle bag, about 10″ x 10″ x 20″ in size. Caution: I strongly recommend that you put nothing in your first aid kit that you have not been properly trained to use. Take a good advanced first aid course, then build your first aid kit.

  • 24 rolls of gauze
  • 25 – 4″x4″ gauze pads
  • 10 – 2″x2″ gauze pads
    For any type of bloody injury, gauze is extremely useful. If I could only have one item in my first aid kit, it would be lots of gauze. You can press it into a large wound. You can use medical tape and improvise a band-aid of almost any size. You can use the rolls to make a “sling and swathe” to immobilize an injured arm. You can use the rolls to bind the legs together, with a blanket between them, to immobilize a broken leg. You can never have too much gauze. I think my kit is light on gauze, so I’m planning to buy more.

  • 12 triangular bandages (cravats)
    These can be used as a sling and swathe, or to wrap a sprain, or to immobilize a broken limb. They can even be pressed into a wound to try to stop bleeding, if gauze pads are not sufficient. Almost as useful as gauze; 12 is not too many. Very inexpensive.

  • several rolls of medical tape, various types
    These are used to make an improvised large bandage, among other things. You might want some water-proof tape, some flexible fabric tape, some tape that is easy to tear (no cutting needed), etc.

  • several surgical dressings
    Also called abdominal pads. These are used to press into a large wound. They can be taped in place. Not as useful as the above listed items, but inexpensive and worth having.

  • 3 ACE bandages
    Useful for wrapping a sprain, or immobilizing an injured limb.

  • many small, medium, and large band-aids
    These are of limited usefulness, but will serve to treat relatively minor injuries.

  • 1 – QuickClot Combat Gauze
  • 1 – Celox First Aid Gauze
    These are each gauze treated with special granules that stop traumatic bleeding. Used by the U.S. and British militaries (respectively) for wound care. I only have a couple of these because they are specialized, expensive, and have expiration dates. Whereas regular gauze has a multitude of uses, QuickClot and Celox are for specific types of wounds. Take an advanced first aid course before buying or using any type of specialized first aid supplies.

  • 3M Steri-strips (many)
    These are much better than the ‘butterfly bandages’ you can buy at a drug store. They hold better and can be used to close a wound, in some cases instead of sutures.

  • Bottled water
    I prefer the type of bottle with one liter or less, and the sports cap (the type you pull out to drink from). This allows you to squeeze the bottle to obtain a steady stream of water, in order to irrigate and debride (remove debris from) a wound.

  • 2 scissors
    One EMT sheers, fluoride-coated so it does not stick to anything, and one smaller bandage scissors. The sheers should be strong enough to cut heavy clothing away from a wound.

  • pen light
  • alcohol wipes
  • thermometer (the battery-operated digital type)
  • exam gloves (latex-free)
  • tweezers
    Useful and inexpensive items for my first aid kit.

  • surgical masks
  • N95 masks
    The surgical mask primarily protects your first aid patient from your germy breath. The N95 mask protects you both.

  • 2- Adsafe CPR Pocket Resuscitators
    What they seldom tell you in CPR classes is that the person being resuscitated often vomits during CPR. The Pocket Resuscitator protects you via a one-way valve. Useful for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (breaths only) as well as full-blown CPR (breaths and compressions).

  • 1 set of padded aluminum splints
    Can be bent and shaped for whatever limb needs to be immobilized.

  • hand sanitizer (alcohol based)
    Useful if water is not available to wash your hands before or after rendering first aid to a victim.

  • pad of paper and pen
    You should write down date and time of the first aid treatment, any relevant information stated by your patient, and what you did by way of first aid. Useful if help is days away; also useful once you transfer the injured person to a health care professional.

  • First Aid and Medical Books
    Not actually in my kit, but on my bookshelf. Very useful if the internet is down, the phone lines are down, or medical help (e.g. EMS) is not available in the short or long term.

    Should your first aid kit contain a suture kit or a surgical kit? What about a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff, or other medical equipment? Well, let’s see. Are you a physician or nurse trained in the use of said equipment? No? Then it shouldn’t be in your first aid kit. Don’t play doctor. Take a first aid course, then stock your first aid kit only with those items you are trained to use.

    I can’t stress this enough. Don’t buy a bunch of first aid supplies that you don’t know how to use. You might do more harm than good. Take a first aid course AND read some first aid books. Then buy the kit.

    – Thoreau

  • 4 Responses to My First Aid Kit for Disaster Preparedness

    1. I’d certainly want your kit handy if I had to treat a gunshot wound or a chainsaw accident.

      Some thoughts – 325mg aspirin, for suspected heart attacks. Liquid Benadryl and Zantac (H1/H2 histamine blockers) and epinephrine (if available), for treating anaphalactic shock. Oral glucose gel, to treat diabetics with low blood sugar. Activated charcoal and ipecac syrup, for poisonings. Learn how and when to use these, but I wouldn’t wait to put them in the kit – somebody else at the scene might have the knowledge but not the drugs.

    2. I would add saran wrap, heavy trash bags and duct tape. even with just a little training you can manage some blunt force trauma and even a sucking chest wound until proper care can be given. peace

      • I have some small plastic bags, with thick enough plastic, that I can cut into a square of plastic and use with tape on 3 sides for a sucking chest wound (taping 3 sides, not 4, for a makeshift one-way valve). Medical tape, the waterproof kind, is better on skin than duct tape. But any tape will due in a pinch.