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Emergency Medical / First Aid Kits

Emergency Medical Kits.  Ashley Emerson wrote a fantastic article in SWAT magazine recently about survival kits.  Ashley is THE MAN when it comes to survival, and emergency preparedness and just plain being outside.  His article should be required reading.  However as good as it is, there is a small hole in it that I would like to attempt to fill here.  He only briefly mentioned a first aid kit as something that you should have with you.  This is an absolute requirement. 

When it comes to preparation, too much is never enough when an emergency comes up.  If the chips are down and you and yours are relying upon your “Bug Out Bags” then it’s very likely that your neck deep in an emergency.

Before we go any further, a little resume time.  I was trained as medic in the Army, and I used to maintain an EMT certification as well.  While I am not an expert on the subject, I do know something about it.  I prepared all the medical emergency response gear for several facilities such as the Tuacahn Center of the Arts in Southern Utah, Trojan Explosives, Nations Bank center in Richmond, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, and a few other places.  These preparations saved the life of one man that I know of while I was still at the location.  The main consideration for your medical supplies has to take into account the response time of EMS to where your at and where your going.  But this isn’t an article about facility preparation, but for your mobile first aid kit.

Depending on how big your party is and how it’s constructed, you might want to have a few different kits.  One main kit that stays with your camp or vehicles, and another couple small mobile kits that goes with your patrols, teams, or hiking/hunting parties.  This will allow you to render aid immediately, until better aid or care can be administered as the case may be.  Of course all aid only supplements transportation to a hospital if that is required.  Just because you have a first aid kit, you are not a doctor. 

So lets get to the kits.  I’ll talk about 2 kits, one large, and one small.

The Large Kit.  This is the kit that stays in your truck or base camp.  It’s big and heavy and everything you need to treat your injured until EMS extraction can be made or transportation to a hospital.  I’m not going to give you amounts of the supplies, just the items.  The amounts will depend upon the size of your family or group.  What you carry these items in is up to you.  There are a number of bags purpose made for medical kits, but any bag with compartments will do nicely.

Adhesive bandages (1"x 3")

Abdominal Pads (5" x 9")

Trauma Dressing (12" x 30")

Sterile Dressings (4" x 4")

Sterile Dressings (3" x 3")

ACE bandages

Blood Stoppers

Gauze Rolls (3" NS)

Gauze Rolls (4" NS)

Waterproof Tape (½")

Waterproof Tape (1")

Elastic Bandage (3")

Elastic Bandage (4")

Triangular Bandages

Eye Pads

Petroleum Gauze (3" x 9")


Maxi Pads

Kerlix (4 ½")

BP/Stethoscope Kit

Alcohol Prep Pads

Antibiotic Ointment

Antimicrobial wipes  

Bee Sting Kit

Snake Bite kit

Cold Packs

Eye Wash


Bottle of purified water

Smelling salts



bandage scissors

splinter forceps


No Rinse Gel

Nitrile or latex Gloves

CPR Mask

Disposable Airway Kit

Burn Sheet

Advil and or Tylenol pain relievers

Pain relieving gel or crème

Cold packs

Heat packs

Sam splints

Space Blankets

550 Cord

First Aid book

If your group is going to be far from EMS you will want to include more of the above items, and a portable oxygen unit big enough to provide O2 until EMS is reached or arrives.   Another thing that might be important is to understand the regular medical needs of your group… who is on what medications and such.  This can be a life or death bit of knowledge if one of your hunting buddies starts acting strange or blacks out on you and he never told anyone he was diabetic.  Your group should have a designated “Medic” who is in confidence and holds this information… the rest of the group doesn’t have to know anything personal.  You may have wondered about the Maxi Pads and Tampons in the list.  Well the fact is, they are awesome for first aid.  They are clean and absorbent and are perfect for making pressure dressings.  The whole “Shove a Tampon into a Bullet Hole” idea is bogus.  Don’t put anything inside a wound.  A tampon would best be used inside the bends of elbow or knees or some place a bigger pad is less than ideal.  Some surgical items might be a good idea too… such as lancets and scalpels, needles and surgical thread.  It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

Your small kits or trail bags will have some of most of the above items. Some various bandages, an ace bandage, some pads, some cleaning items, tweezers, a Sam splint, some pain relievers, bee sting kit, 550 cord and a space blanket.   These items can fit in a small pouch like a fanny pack or some such.  I don’t like the idea of using a compartment of a bigger bag for this, as sometimes the situation might be that the first aid kit might need to be passed along or tossed to someone up or down a cliff or something.  This might be one of the uses of some of that 550 cord… to lower the kit or other items like water or food or something.    

Don’t ever skip out on the space blankets.  I know they might seem silly to some, but really they work… and most procedures for treatment in the field ends with “Treat for Shock” and a blanket is required for that.  

Now, all of this stuff will be a little expensive… you could spend anything from 40 bucks to a couple hundred.  But don’t balk at this.  You have this kit for the same reason that you have that 400 dollar Surefire tactical light on your M-16.  To help save lives.  So don’t give me that noise about money when you have a 200 dollar pocket knife clipped to your pocket, a 150 dollar holster to carry your 900 dollar pistol, riding in your 50,000 dollar SUV and then bitch at me about a 100 dollar kit that could save the life of someone you love.  I don’t want to hear it.  After all you just dropped a sick amount of coin for that fancy canteen you are wearing on your back. 


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Copyright G H Hill 1999-2012


The 4 Rules of Firearms Safety:

1.  Handle all firearms as if they were loaded.

2.  Never point the gun at anything your not willing to destroy.

3.  Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until you have made the decision to fire the weapon.

4.  Know your target, and know what is beyond the target.

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