Survival First Aid Kits: What Should Be In Them?
If we knew when and where emergencies were going to take place, life would be a lot less stressful. Unfortunately, you just never know when a disaster of any kind will strike, leaving you without food, water, power, and even shelter. You can never be too prepared for an emergency. As the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
People who live in areas that are prone to natural disasters (such as hurricanes) likely have some sort of preparedness kit ready, or stock up on supplies when the weather makes a turn for the worst. However, people in all areas of the world, natural disaster-prone or not, should have a survival first aid kit ready at all times.
A great example is what we have recently experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the beginning, there were food and first aid supply shortages nationwide. It could have saved people a lot of time, stress, and money if they already had a survival kit prepared and on hand!
Of course, a survival kit is most important during power outages, floods, and dangerous weather, when you lose power and it becomes impossible to go out for food and medical supplies. They can also be extremely helpful if you're out backpacking or even become stranded in your car, so keep one in your glove box. You just do not know when something like this could occur; save yourself time and money by putting together your own survival first aid kit.
What Items Are Needed For My Survival First Aid Kit
Let us first note that a survival first aid kit is much different than a first aid kit. A standard first aid kit is typically smaller and contains only first aid items such as gauze, medical tape, adhesive bandages, scissors, and antibiotic ointment, as recommended by the Red Cross. It does not contain other items that are necessary to survive for short or long periods of time.
There are a few items that are essential for your kit, and a few that are not always needed but still good to have. The absolute bare minimum you should have in the emergency survival kit is food, water, and a light source, all encased in a water-resistant bag or container.
Essential Survival First Aid Kit Items:
- Water- You should have around one gallon per day, per person. Make sure the water is purified so that you can also use it for cooking or cleaning purposes. It can be tricky to calculate exactly much water you will need because you don’t know how long you will be in a state of emergency. Err on the side of caution and get extra.
- Food - You want to get food items that are non-perishable. Again, you don’t know how long you will be without food, but a general rule of thumb is to have enough for each person to eat for three days. Great items to include are meal replacement or protein bars, dried fruit and nuts, canned goods, nut butter, and things like beef jerky.
- Flashlight - This one is self-explanatory, especially during a power outage. If you are going to use a battery-powered one, then you will have to make sure you have extra batteries in your kit. An easier and safer alternative is to use a high-quality solar-powered flashlight to ensure you always have power and don’t have to worry about running out of batteries.
- First Aid Kit - As we discussed earlier, this should contain medical items such as scissors, bandaids, disinfectants, hot and ice packs, pain killers (Advil, ibuprofen, etc.), and moleskin bandages for blisters. You might also consider including an antiseptic, a splint, cotton swabs for easy cleaning, and even triangular bandages and a tourniquet so that you have the best first aid kit possible. This way, you are prepared for any accidents that cause bodily harm.
- Cell phone with chargers or a radio - You need to have some form of communication so you can call for help or be advised on what to do next. If there’s a power outage, you won’t have access to a television or computer to read the news. You also want to be able to contact medics or first responders, in case you're in need of medical help.
- Tools - More specifically, wrenches and pliers in case you need to shut off your utilities. Multi-tools such as stainless steel pocket knives could also come in handy, as well as tweezers for removing splinters. It's wise to include duct tape and safety pins in your bug out kit as well, in case you need to fix something quickly.
- Can opener - You will likely have canned goods in your survival kit, so make sure you are able to open them.
Optional Survival First Aid Kit Items:
- Water purifier - While you should hopefully have enough purified water on hand, it can’t hurt to have a backup plan in a great kit. This water filtration system removes 99.9% of harmful contaminants. If you don’t want to waste plastic and worry about running out of water bottles, this is a much better alternative.
- Personal hygiene supplies - Toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, and deodorant all come in mini travel sizes which are perfect to keep in your kit.
- Blankets and towels - In case you get cold or wet, you want to be able to stay dry and warm. An emergency blanket that folds up small is a good choice.
- Matches - Even though you have a flashlight in your kit, matches or another fire starter can also be used to light fires for warmth or to cook and sanitize things, not just for light.
- Face Masks - These are good to have in case a family member is sick, if there’s a lot of dust, or if you need to venture outside and there is poor air quality.
Always Be Prepared
The hope is that you won’t ever need to use your survival medical kit. But if there’s one thing you can take away from this article, let it be this: always be prepared. Having an emergency preparedness kit ready to go will make things safer and smoother in times of crisis.
At the very least, it will make things more comfortable for you and your family in case of an emergency. The last thing you want to worry about if you are trapped at home is what you will do for food and water or what you’ll do if someone gets hurt.
You can keep things in plastic storage bins for easy access and to protect against water damage. You never think you’ll be in an emergency situation until it’s too late. Keep yourself and your family safe and don’t wait-- assemble your survival first aid kit as soon as possible.