Thursday, February 17, 2011

Starting our First Aid Stockpile

One of the ways I spent my prepping budget this month was on a bunch of first aid supplies. We already had a pretty good selection of Band-Aids and OTC meds, but we definitely fall far short of where we need to be. In a survival situation, "boo-boos" can turn into life-threatening injuries if they are not treated appropriately. Your doctor or the ER may not be available. If you're into frugal living, there are lots of conditions that may be safely treated at home if you have the proper supplies and know-how. I happen to live with a certain medical professional who would be very happy if everyone kept their butts out of the ER for trivial stuff. (Such as, but not limited to: sore throats you've had for less than an hour, hayfever, and dandruff. All true stories.)

I have organized our nascent stockpile into four layers:

1) Everyday ills

First aid, adult, and children's boxes form layer one of our medical scheme

I have three plastic tubs for adult, children's, and general first aid items.These are stored in a handy location in the kitchen and we use the contents frequently. This layer includes commonplace items like thermometers, Band-Aids, children's pain medication, Tums, current prescriptions, etc.

2) Redundance

One bottle of Advil isn't nearly enough. I'm trying to get a year's supply plus of all essential medicines and supplies. All my extras as well as anything that might be especially temperature sensitive (My storeroom is at a constant, cool temperature. The kitchen, not so much.) are stored here. I'll rotate these into use just like we do our food storage.

3) Minor medical emergency supplies - These are to treat things that you might visit an urgent care clinic, your family physician, or an emergency room for. Small burns and wounds that are too deep for a Band-Aid but don't require stitches are two examples. You need to have the knowledge to discern what you can safely treat at home.

The middle shelf holds my minor emergency stuff
 Ignore the contents of the top shelf. My trusty ice cream maker doesn't count as first aid, unless it is making chocolate ice cream! ;)

4) The Big Guns - Things you really hope you never have to use, such as surgical kits and compression bandages. I haven't ventured very far down this path yet. Scary stuff that DEFINITELY needs training to use.

With these layers in mind, I created the following list of items that I think are necessary for a well-stocked family first aid stockpile. This is a work in progress, so if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

I hope to cross each item off this list over the course of the next year or so.

Prescription Medications:

1) Build up a one year supply of my prescription. Check your insurance to see how often you can fill your prescription. If you can get it filled every 20 days, do that and you'll gradually build up a supply.

2) Build up a supply of antibiotics. Read this, this, and this on SurvivalBlog to get some ideas of legal ways to do this and see where I'm coming from. You don't have to break any laws or cross into Mexico to do it and it could be life-saving.

3) Possibly get some Tamiflu.

OTC Medications:

1) Ibuprofen (adult and children's)

2) Acetaminophen (adult, children's and infant formulas)

3) Aspirin – This might seem like pain reliever overkill, but there are certain things that aspirin does that nothing else can, such as save your life during a heart attack.

4) Benedryl (adult and children's formulas)

5) Zyrtec or Claritin (adult and children's formulas) - Mini Me takes Zyrtec regularly.

6) Imodium (adult and children's)

7) Pepcid Complete

8) Tums

9) Hydrocortisone cream

10) Anti-fungal cream

11) Pedialyte

12) Salt substitute (for making electrolyte drink – read this)

13) Your drug of choice for constipation: Miralax, Fiber supplements, etc.

Wound Care:

1) Betadine

2) Alcohol wipes

3) Hydrogen Peroxide

4) Bacitracin ointment

5) Dermabond skin adhesive

7) Sterile gauze – different sizes

8) Non-stick wound dressings

9) First Aid Tape

10) SteriStrips/Butterfly wound closures


1) Ace bandages

2) Eye drops

3) Lip balm

4) Diaper rash cream (Balmex, Desitin, etc.)

5) Burn kit

6) Moleskin for foot blister treatment/prevention

7) Bleach (unscented)

9) Disinfectant Wipes

10) SAM Medical Splint

11) N 95 Masks

12) Exam Gloves

13) Q Tips

14) Cough Drops

15) Sphygmomanometer (Blood Pressure Cuff)

16) Stethoscope

17) Otoscope

"More Serious Stuff" - You'd better learn how to use it ahead of time:

1) Israeli Battle Dressings - Did you read how these amazing devices saved lives during the horrible shooting in Tucson?

2) Israeli Abdominal Emergency Bandage

3) Quikclot Gauze

4) Dental Kit

5) Suture Kits

6) Medical Trauma kit (IV supplies, surgical instruments etc.) See Analytical Survival's YouTube video, Part One and Part Two for an example of what I'm talking about. Warning: the videos I linked have a high testosterone content. ;)

7) Childbirth Kit (although if we need this, Hubby Dear's urologist is going to have some explaining to do...)

Essential Literature:
1)  Where There Is No Doctor

2) The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy

3) Where There Is No Dentist

4) First Aid -- Responding To Emergencies

What do you think? Do I have any glaring omissions? What's the status of your first aid preparedness?


  1. I'm actively working on my medical stocks, especially since many of these items will be unavailable and in high demand if the balloon goes up.

    You might consider looking at the PatriotNurse videos on Youtube. She's got a lot of great information and she's quite candid about what she recommends and why.

    Also, consider looking into couponing and stalking CVS / Walgreens on a weekly basis. By combining coupons with sales, you can get many of the items you've listed for free. Yes, free. And if not free, pennies on the dollar. For example, I ended up with 4 bottles of Ducolax (a laxative in powder form) for $0.35 each. Now, we've never had to use a laxative before, but if we suddenly change our diets, our digestive system is going into overdrive and just might revolt. =) Also, I paid a total of $1.25 for 4 boxes of Nyquil / Dayquil a few weeks ago. This is something that I do use occasionally in this house and certainly comes in handy. Most pain relievers will also be nearly free, especially Excedrine.

    I use for their weekly posts on CVS / Walgreens / RiteAid deals. They break it down for you and specifically tell you what to buy when and with what coupons for the best deal. They do all the math for you.

    I would recommend doing some research on expiration dates of medication. Many (if not most) of the medicine listed above can be safely used and stored for many years beyond the printed expiration date. This does not generally apply to anything in a liquid or suspension, so liquid caps of medication are less desirable than hard pill form. Once you find expiration dates that you are comfortable with (everyone has their own thresholds), mark the date directly on the box as well and your purchase date. That way you can easily work through the oldest and soonest to expire as you use them.

    A couple more comments:

    If anyone in your family has allergies, stock up on generic allergy medication, preferably more than one type. Pseudophedrine is controlled in my state (and probably yours), so you won't get it all at once. You'll want to grab a box every couple of trips to the pharmacy to stock up. A year supply of Claritin generic is $12 at Costco. For Joseph, this would be a lifesaver and make working out of doors bearable.

    Add a diaper rash cream to your list. It's useful for so many other things, especially chaffing. Let's just say if you're chaffing down there, you'll want it. =)

    Good luck!

    City Roots, Country Life

  2. Emma - Thanks for the reminders. I subscribe to several RSS feeds on couponing and I am so jealous of those of you who have access to Walgreen's and CVS. What great deals you can get!

    I'm amending my list to include Zyrtec and diaper rash cream. I still have two littles in diapers (not to mention the whole chafing issue!) and somehow forgot that one of my kids has serious seasonal allergies.

  3. One of our biggest use things is paw paw ointment, don't know if you get it there but it is good for nappy rash (all we ever used on our son), insect bites, sunburn,other rashes, cuts etc.

    The other thing we have that are not on your list (there is always more anyway) is a burn kit, burn cream in the first aid box and another burn kit stuck to the fridge (it has a magnet in the bag so it can be stuck on the fridge or wherever).

    Some of your names are probably different to ours but what is tums?

    The books are good, I have a lot of health, first aidy books, including a couple on your list, but I am having trouble get Where There is No Dentist. Guess I will be able to eventually, though I did print out some allowable pages off the internet which are good, but would prefer the whole book.

    I will be adding some things off your list and putting them onto mine to get in the future.


  4. KJ - I haven't heard of paw paw ointment before. I did a google search and it seems like really useful stuff to have around.

    Yes! I need to add a burn kit. I'll amend my list with that.

    Tums is a chewable antacid made of calcium carbonate. I'm sure you have something similar in Australia.

  5. Emergency essentials, at, has some great make-your own kit supplies, like burn cream, big bandages, dental fillings, butterfly bandages(like stitches) and more. The Israeli dressings are a must have- especially in the car. I would go to Med Vet International on Amazon and peruse their stuff too- great deals on 4x4 gauze, elastic bandages, and a bunch of other stuff. Recently on Rawles' blog was an article or two about how quickly we use up what we "thought" was a decent supply. More is better and alot of stuff (bandages etc) don't "go bad."


    This is on my next round of purchases- it incl a blue light to check for scratches and foreign bodies in the eye so you know if you need professional help or not.

  7. Thanks for providing necessary information about a bunch of first aid supplies. These are really very essential during emergency. We should always keep these items while travelling also. This is a very informative post.

  8. Activated Charcoal and Ipecac! Those are on our list! ~Abagail

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