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Emergency Medical Kit

A first aid kit is a basic for any bug out bag, home, or shelter. It should contain all of the basics that a well-stocked kit usually contains. But what if you find yourself in an off the grid situation in which doctors or access to hospitals are not immediately available? A more extensive first aid kit, and the knowledge on how to use it, may significantly improve your chance of survival.

A kit should be well stocked and contain information and emergency medical supplies for nearly every contingency. Consider what type of environment you will be staying in when putting together your kit (for example, you might want to include something for hypothermia in a kit in the north but not necessarily if you are located in the tropics).

The following is a list of some common and more extensive medical kit items:

Snake bite kit: Snakes can become displaced by bad weather or stumbled upon by the unexperienced camper in the wilderness. If they may be a concern, consider carrying an extractor pump at minimum. Anti-venom can be helpful if you know what type of snake you may come in contact with, however it is expensive and can be hard to procure.

AED (automated external defibrillator): This is a heart defibrillator for dummies. Minimal training is highly preferred for its use, but the system is nearly automated. Just place the pads where indicated on a heart attack victim and the machine will do everything else for you. It even offers step-by-step audio instruction along the way. Advanced CPR/AED courses taught by the Red Cross offer training to use this device. The course usually takes about two days to complete.

Allergy medications: Pack Benadryl at a minimum for allergic reactions and hydrocortisone for external allergic rashes. If you or someone that will be with you has severe allergies, include an epi-pen as well.

Tourniquet: Tourniquets are often a last resort measure and can result in loss of limb if done wrong. As with most first aid, information and training are helpful when deciding what option should be used and how to apply it properly.

Breathing barrier for CPR and/or hand pumped resuscitation facemask and bag

Butterfly bandages and/or sutures: Depending on your level of training, either can close an open wound if applied properly. Butterfly bandages require minimal medical knowledge and can be easily applied in most settings.

Face masks: To slow the spread of illness.

Blood pressure cuff

Diabetic testing supplies: For diabetics.

Surgical and IV equipment: Only to be used with medical training.

Dental: Clove oil for numbing toothaches or other dental wounds. Dental equipment such as extraction tools for those with enough professional training to use them without causing further complications.

Medications not already listed: Some, but not all, of the following can currently be bought OTC (over the counter) in the US:

  • your personal prescribed medications
  • antibiotics
  • antifungal (such as clotrimazole OTC)
  • anti-parasitic (such as OTC Pin-X)
  • antidiarrheal (such as Pepto-Bismol OTC)
  • lice and scabies medication (such as Rid OTC and Elimite OTC)
  • anti-nausea (such as Pepto-Bismol OTC)
  • anti-inflammatory (such as Ibuprofen OTC)
  • mild analgesic (such as Tylenol OTC)
  • strong analgesic
  • aspirin

Kit basics:

  • calamine lotion
  • burn cream
  • foil blanket
  • saline eye drops
  • air splints
  • compress dressings
  • adhesive bandages
  • bandage tape
  • peroxide
  • antibiotic ointment
  • energy bars
  • sterile water
  • alcohol
  • aspirin
  • instant cold pack
  • medical gloves
  • roller bandages
  • sterile gauze pads
  • thermometer
  • magnifying glass
  • triangular bandages
  • tweezers
  • instructions
  • iodine
  • flashlight
  • scissors
  • topical analgesic (pain killer)
  • safety pins

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