When we talk about having a preparedness plan for disaster, first aid kits, survival medicine supplies and medical training are all at the top of the list of our basic needs for survival.
As preppers, being prepared for medical emergencies should be one of our top priorities. If someone were choking and unable to breathe, could you perform the Heimlich maneuver to save their life? Or what if the was an accident or some disaster where someone were severely bleeding? Could you perform first aid to save their life until professional help arrives?
If these concerns are not taken care of and treated first, none of the other preparations we do, like stocking up on food and water, may matter.
It doesn’t even have to be an emergency at this moment. During disasters, when conditions are often very unsanitary and professional medical help is very limited, even a simple injury like a small cut can turn into a major medical concern if not treated properly.
Being prepared with the right supplies and skills can make all the difference between life and death.
With that being said, what can we do as preppers to be ready?
Start With A Good First Aid Kit
Put together some good disaster first aid kits. You should have one for your home, each vehicle you own, one for work or school, one for your Bug-Out-Bag, one for your INCH (I’m Never Coming Home) Bag, and one for your EDC (Every Day Carry) kit. Yeah, I know, that’s a lot of first aid kits! But you want to have medical supplies available whenever you need them, and you never know when that will be.
You can learn how to make a first aid kit by using an Ultimate First Aid Kit List to build one from scratch or you can purchase one already built for your needs.
The advantage of building one from scratch, (which is how I built my master 1st aid kit) is that you know exactly what is in your first aid kit. You will probably know how to use all those items, because, if you are going to spend the money to purchase these first aid tools and supplies, you are probably not going to get something you can’t use.
The cost of doing it this way can add up fairly quickly. If I were to start all over again, I would buy a pre-made trauma kit.
They come packed with all the first aid supplies you are likely to need, and in a well-designed bag to make it easy to find what you need.
Trauma kit for home and vehicle:
A trauma kit goes way over a standard first aid kit and is able to handle a much larger variety of injuries. I keep one at home and one in my vehicle, so I always have it available with me.
If you’re serious about protecting you and your family from medical emergencies, get this First Aid/Trauma Kit. It is very well stocked with excellent first aid and trauma items and is organized much better that my Ultimate First Aid Kit that I put together from scratch.
Vehicle first aid kit:
Every vehicle: car, truck, camper, boat, etc. should have a good basic first aid kit. The Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit is the first aid kit I like best for 2 reasons:
- It is one of the best stocked small first aid kits I have seen.
- It has an additional mini first aid kit (32 piece) that fits in a purse, pocket, day bag, bug-out-bag, or carry-on bag.
Bug-out-bag first aid kit:
Your bug-out-bag, (should you have to quickly evacuate your home) should have a good first aid kit. The Swiss First Aid Kit that I recommended as a vehicle first aid kit, may be a bit heavier than you want for a bug-out bag. I would add a few items from the main bag (like the Moleskin Blister Relief and butterfly bandages) to the mini kit and use that in my bug-out bag. I would also add the mylar emergency blanket, compass, and triangular bandage to my bug-out bag. Remember, the bug-out bag is designed to be light and easy to carry, and to just get you to a safe location. That safe location should have a good first aid kit!
EDC (Every Day Carry) first aid kit:
I like to keep a few simple first aid items in my pockets all the time. In my EDC kit, I have a couple Bandaids, ibuprofen, an allergy tablet, and a tiny multi tool (Leatherman Squirt) with a knife and small pliers I can use like a tweezers.
Medical/First Aid Training
Having a great first aid kit may not do you much good if you don’t know how to use it. Get some good first aid training. There are many courses available if you check online. Try to get enrolled in a good hands-on course. American Red Cross and the American Heart Association both have many programs available, but there are many more good courses also available.
First Aid Manual
A good first aid manual can also be of great help. It will not replace good hands-on training, but they can be a wealth of information. It is a good idea to get familiar with these manuals and medical treatments. Know what to do for the most common injuries and emergencies. You want to have a good idea of what you need to do in case of an emergency. Opening the manual for the first time and trying to look up first aid care for the emergency is NOT a good idea! They can also be a good refresher for training you may have had.
Get the ACEP First Aid Manual.
It is a good source of information with many color photographs to help illustrate the concepts.
Another one often recommended is The American Red Cross First Aid & Safety Handbook, but I think it is a little bit outdated in some of its information.
This is my favorite for SHTF scenarios. This manual is written for long-term medical care “When There is NO Doctor”. It is a manual intended for a non-medical professional (like me!) who is concerned about keeping their family healthy when trained medical professionals are no longer around. If society as we know it today, breaks down due to war, terrorist attacks like nuclear or major EMP attacks, social or economic collapse, or any other reason, doctors, paramedics, urgent care, hospitals, and other trained emergency medical professionals may not be available. Medical supplies will quickly run out. We will have to know what to do. This book will show you how to find replacement supplies and how to give medical care when there is no doctor.
It also has great information about prevention of illness and disease, and some good first aid training we can use now, while we are waiting for professional medical help. This book is a must for the serious prepper who wants to be prepared for log-term survival during a disaster.
Stock Up On Prescription Medicines
If you or any of your loved ones take any type of prescription medicine, such as heart medications, insulin for diabetes, inhalers for asthma, epi pens for severe allergic reactions, etc., you should have a supply on hand to last for at least 72 hours (3 days) .
I believe we should be prepared for a long-term disaster. In recent years, devastation caused by high winds and flooding from hurricanes, have left people without access to medical and other supplies for weeks. If you or a loved one were diabetic and needed insulin for instance, you would not only have to have a supply of insulin to last for the duration of the disaster, but would also have to have a way to keep that insulin cool if the power was out.
1. Make a phone list of emergency contacts.
- Family doctors
- Hospital emergency room
- Urgent Care centers
- Ambulance service
- Poison control
- Emergency contact persons
2. Have a copy of medical records along with copies of your emergency phone contacts that you can have available and take with you should you need to evacuate your home during a disaster.
Keep paper copies of your medical records, prescriptions, and any special care you or a family member needs. Keep these with your bug-out bag in case you have to leave home quickly for an emergency or have to evacuate to a safer location. You can also keep a digital copy of this information on a flash drive, like this one from Sandisk, that you can carry with you on a key-ring, in a purse, or hanging on you bug-out backpack.
Home Remedies & Alternative Medicine
In the event of a long term disaster, commonly referred to a SHTF (Sh*t Hits The Fan) scenario, resupplying medical needs may become a problem. Stores, pharmacies, hospitals, doctor offices, veterinarian offices & pet stores (yes, don’t forget about all the medical supplies you can get at these two places!) will quickly get wiped clean of their supplies and may not be getting resupplied.
You will need some knowledge and supplies to replace these medical needs.
Some possibilities are:
- Common home products that can have medical uses
- Essential oils
- Medicinal plants
I have many articles on these subjects planned, so keep checking back!
Let me know in the comments section below, if you have any favorite books on these subjects. I would love to get your reviews!
Prevention of Disease
After a disaster strikes, there are many added health issues caused by factors such as:
- Contaminated water or food- causing diarrhea and other illnesses
- Hazards that can cause injury, like broken glass, rubble from damaged buildings, etc.
- Wild or stray animals
- Mosquitoes spreading illness
I have another article on hygiene and sanitation during disaster going further in depth on this subject. (Yes, we still have to go to the bathroom and will need to keep clean after a disaster!)
The Bottom Line
Get your family prepared for emergencies and disasters.
Do these 5 things:
- Get some good First Aid Kits (see links above)
- Get some 1st aid training
- Get a good First Aid Manual (see links above)
- Stock up on your prescription meds
- Make copies of your medical records
Let me know what you think in the comments below.