The Practical Prepper

First aid is an important part of our preparedness planning. Of course, we rely on medical professionals, but we also know how to handle basic first aid in an emergency too. We feel it's important to be able to respond to immediate crises a.s.a.p., since it can make the difference between life and death.

What's more, we realize that in a major disaster, emergency services may be overloaded. For instance, in a major weather event (snow storm, hurricane, etc.) the authorities may be occupied are centralized care centers, so help at our home may be unavailable, or long in coming.

Therefore, we've realized that we must have both first aid supplies and the skills/knowledge to use them.

We keep first multiple first aid kits. We have our main supplies in one central location in our house. However, we also maintain some first-aid supplies in our cars, and a portable kit in our evacuation supplies. Our portable kits are customized for our needs, and have a bit more than the most low-cost prepackaged kits you'll find in stores:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Adhesive tape
  • Alcohol prep pads
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizing gel
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Assorted adhesive bandages
  • Chemical heat packs
  • Elastic bandages, 3-inch-wide
  • Gauze bandage, 3-inch roll
  • Ibuprofen
  • Non-latex disposable gloves
  • Oral antihistamine
  • Over-the-counter diarrhea medication
  • Self-adhesive bandage, 2-inch roll
  • Soap
  • Sterile gauze pads, 3-x-3-inch
  • Sterile gauze pads, 4-x-4-inch
  • Sunscreen

This is the core set of supplies that we maintain in our first aid kits; we customize and add to them as we need to do so, keeping within the available space limits. As you can see, we have redundancy in some areas within the kits (particularly sanitizing and wound dressing materials), since we always feel it's good to have multiple ways to do something.

Another important thing we keep with our first aid supplies is a good first aid reference manual. There are many manuals available, but a couple of good ones that we've gotten for free from the American Red Cross® are their Wilderness and Remote First Aid Pocket Guide and Wilderness and Remote First Aid Emergency Reference Guide. (These links will take you to PDF files that you can download and print out. You can also view the Pocket Guide or the Emergency Reference Guide as ebooks online, or visit their online store to purchase the print version.)

Of course, manuals are great reference, but it's important to learn how to perform first aid. The best way to do that is to get in person training from a certified instructor. You can check to find training nearby you at the American Red Cross' Take a Class page. Just enter your ZIP code and then the type of training you want, and you'll get a list of classes within the distance you specify.

They also have a pretty helpful online presentation that covers not only first aid kits and their use, but also talks about emergency preparedness planning as well. There are lots of linked resources within the presentation too.

Another pretty handy website we've found that provides basic (and free) online training for first aid and CPR at The presentations are easy to use and according to the website, all Basic Life Support procedures demonstrated in their free online course adhere to the same guidelines as the American Red Cross.

How about you? Do you have first aid training and supplies in place? What else have you done for your first aid preparedness?


Believing that preparedness and self-reliance are key to individual freedom, Atticus Freeman is the founder of the Self-Reliant Info blog, in addition to authoring The Practical Prepper weekly blog here on Farm Dreams. Thanks for reading!


Views: 357

Tags: BOB, aid, cross, first, medical, preparedness, red, training

Comment by Deep Roots Farm on February 15, 2012 at 4:28pm

Thanks for this list and reminder that I need to restock. We also include an EpiPen and Benadryl for allergic reactions

Comment by Karen Paro on February 15, 2012 at 5:17pm

I was a certified EMT for 9 years, I no longer have my certification but I do keep up on any changes that are made. My first aid kit is even more extensive than most, I have a jumpkit, I have kept fully stocked even after I stopped running ambulance duty.  See my blog What's in your first aid kit

Comment by Dawn Mays on February 15, 2012 at 11:24pm

Great recommendations! Everyone should take a class- the best way to learn (and remember when under pressure) is by hands-on experience. I noticed some of the classes on the Red Cross link are free(I just signed up for bulk distribution in the Disaster Preparedness section.) Some classes in first aid may feel like they are pricey,  but to me, it only feels like buying a little more insurance. As a mom, I owe it to my daughter to protect her in every way I can!

Thanks, Atticus!

Comment by Atticus Freeman on February 16, 2012 at 10:17pm

Deep Roots Farm, thanks for commenting... you mention a couple of good additions to consider! Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Atticus Freeman on February 16, 2012 at 10:24pm

Hi Karen, Thanks for commenting... I looked at your blog posts on Farm Dreams and don't see one titled "What's in your first aid kit." Do you have a link?

Comment by Atticus Freeman on February 16, 2012 at 10:26pm

Hi Dawn, thanks for another set of great comments! Glad to see that you're using the Red Cross training. They have a lot of different classes, so I'm eyeballing a few beyond the first aid training that I've had in the past.

Comment by Karen Paro on February 16, 2012 at 11:11pm

Atticus it's here under the writing contest blogs

Comment by John-Adam Bonk on May 1, 2012 at 7:57am

Excellent starting first aid kit, and I would also encourage reading  I would recommend reading any basic text on emergency wound management, fracture management and basic trauma life support.  Most of these basics are covered in basic first aid courses, but they also end their algorithm with "Call 911 for help!" What if you can't? What if there is no grid, no phones, or no EMS available?

As a medical professional, I do not advocate self treatment or self diagnosis and typically tell people if they have a question regarding health or emergencies to get seen by a physician in a hospital or ER.  However, I also believe that people have responsibility to manage their own health, including when engaging in potentially dangerous activities, i.e. driving a tractor, they should also be prepared for accidents.

There are many emergency medicine textbooks and also some practical guides out there.  In addition, wilderness medicine is that branch of medicine which deals with treating patients in austere environments and/or with limited resources.  There are basic textbooks (though pricey) available as well - Wilderness Medicine by Paul Auerbach is on my bookshelf. After some basic training, one may take the AWLS course, which is an Advanced Wilderness Life Support course and will definitely give the hand-on learning to solidify your "book" learning.

Any farmer, prepper, homesteader should have basic medical training and should also have a basic understaning of medicine - after all, we all want to be more self reliant.

Dr. B

Comment by Atticus Freeman on May 8, 2012 at 8:02pm

Thank you for the comment, Dr. B! I generally agree with your point about seeking professional help and advice when people encounter medical situations. Of course, managing our wellness is squarely in our hands, as you noted.

What's more, having access to first aid and medical knowledge in an emergency (where time is of the essence) or widespread disaster (where professional help may be unavailable or delayed for an extended period of time) is a good idea. In addition to the above resources, including those that you noted, I feel it's worthwhile obtaining some of the free books from; you can read more about them on Self-Reliant Info.

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