If you are here reading this, it means you believe in being prepared. This guide will help you move from simply believing in preparation to actually being ready for a crisis.
There is a lot of noise on the internet that confuses people who want to get better at prep. Some preppers fall into the trap of following fallacious advice from social media and blogs.
In order to avoid wasting your time and resources on incorrect or complicated advice, learn how to spot genuine advice. Good prep advice should be:
- Easy –You do not need to waste hours poring over the same information with no clarity.
- Comforting –Good prep advice has a calming effect. Prep information must never induce panic.
- Responsible – Emergency preparedness should be promoted as smart and normal.
- Affordable –The basics of prepping can fit into any budget.
- Fun –Make no mistake, prepping is a serious activity. The fun is in the challenge of learning how to be self-reliant.
- Relevant – The point is to provide useful information that will benefit you when the need arises.
Emergency Preparation Rules
- You cannot predict what will happen in a crisis. There are too many unknowns. So do not be swept up in whatever mass hysteria is trending online.
- Rely on scientific and expert data over popular opinions.
- Use the 80-20 rule to guide you on the things with the most value to your prep.
- You will never be 100% prepared for all disaster scenarios.
- Total preparation involves getting a combination of supplies, gear, planning, practice, and community.
- Double-dipping your emergency gear and supplies is wrong.
- Practice using the gear and polish your survival skills often.
- You can familiarize yourself with instructions and lists and learn the concepts you can use to adapt in the heat of a crisis
- Every kind of budget can prepare for survival. You can get deals, shop secondhand, or go DIY.
- Prepping should not take over your life or make you miserable.
- Be proud of your efforts to be self-reliant.
- Encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to join in and acquire prepping skills.
Building Your Survival Cache
This is the point where you start to act on your knowledge of preparation. What you do from this point forward depends on your objectives and circumstances.
An acceptable starting point among preppers is to make their homes self-sufficient. During this time, people also take the opportunity to take care of financial, physical, and mental aspects of their lives.
You can also build a survival cache by taking any of the following measures where applicable:
- Increase supplies of food and water. This increases the time that you can survive inside your residence without help from outside.
- Look for new ways of creating your own food. For example, through farming (even small indoor gardens count). Keeping livestock is another excellent source of food.
- Find an alternative water supply of your own. For instance, through a rainwater collecting system installed on a roof.
- Try making a DIY or purchase a bug-out vehicle.
- Check and update new self-defense equipment.
- Sharpen your survival skills. Advance to the highest levels of mastery possible.
- Create a library of survival books. The topics range from survival medicine to edible plants.
- Prepare your food from home more often, mend your clothes, and repair what has broken down. Learn organic waste disposal techniques such as composting.
- Get a bug-out location. For example, a country home/cabin in the forest.
- Be deliberate about improving your physical fitness.
- Improve your finances and hedge on economic fluctuations with precious metals and cryptocurrency.
Preparation may feel lonely if you are doing it on your own. However, there are several online communities for sane preppers. Participate to share and learn from like-minded folks.
Prepping is a lifestyle, not a one-time event.
10 Everyday Emergencies You Can Plan for
Preparing for natural and man-made disasters often overshadows common emergencies. These emergencies are closer to home, and the probability of occurrence is high.
These are some situations to be ready for:
- Medical emergency – Do you or members of your family have any medical condition that other people should be aware of? Can you perform CPR?
- Car problems – Can you change a flat? What is your plan for when you run out of gas? Make sure that the spare tire is in good condition.
- Car accident – Have your insurance card with you. Keep the police and emergency information so you can call for help.
- Locked out of your house or car – Do you have a spare key? Where do you keep it? If you lock your keys and phone in the car, have you memorized phone numbers to call for help?
- Short-term power outage –How long can the food in the fridge/freezer last without going bad? Do you have a way to stay warm in the winter?
- Evacuate your house –Do you have a bug-out bag on the ready to leave at a moment’s notice? Where will you meet with your family? Where will you go?
- Road closure –Do you have alternative routes home? Do you have a map in your vehicle?
- Extreme weather –You get stuck in a snowstorm, do you have blankets or an extra jacket in your car or office locker?
- Protection –Be aware of your surroundings. Do you have a way to protect yourself? Threats could include a mugging, home invasion, or even a rape attempt.
- Helping someone else –When you see an accident or a vehicle breakdown, what can you do to help?
The First Aid Kit List
This part of the guide presents you with a thoroughly researched checklist for first aid kits.
Medical first aid kits can be categorized into three groups:
- Everyday carry first aid kit (EDC)
- Individual carry first aid kit (IFAK)
- Go-bag first aid kit
Our principle is that the best first aid kits are made, not bought, and already packaged. This list is customized according to where you will use it and how you will carry the personal kit.
It is worth noting that assembling a survival medical kit is not cheap. The medical gear will cost over $100. However, an everyday carry medical kit will cost less.
Don’t be discouraged at this point, because you can still assemble medical supplies as your budget allows. Buying the correct items one at a time is better than spending $30 on a severely limited kit.
Survival medical gear is listed according to two groups:
- A portable medical kit that you carry with you in a purse, work bag, and bug-out bag.
- Home medical supplies to keep in the house for use on a range of ailments.
This guide will provide a checklist for the portable kits, i.e. IFAK, EDC, and bug-out bag medical kits. The list of contents for the three portable categories is more or less the same.
Note: How far down the list you can go depends on how much weight you can carry.
The checklist for EDC, IFAK, and Go-bag is as follows:
- Pressure dressing
- Trauma shears
- A pair of chest seals
- Band-Aids in various sizes
- Pure petroleum jelly
- Saline eye drops
- 2 pairs of gloves
- 18-gauge irrigating syringe, 20cc
- 2 needles and thread in isopropyl alcohol
- Standard Coban roll 2” x 5 yards
- 16 butterfly bandages 0.5″ x 2.75″
- Safety pins of various sizes
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Plastic cling film 2”
- Standard ACE bandage 4” x 5 yards
- 36” Aluminum splint
- 2 emergency blankets
- ABD Pads 5” x 9”
- Standard Z-fold gauze 4.5” x 4 yards
- Moleskin bandage
- 6 gauze pads 4” x 4”
- Roll of silk medical tape 1” wide
- Standard rolled gauze 4.5” x 4 yards
- Cravat 45” x 45” x 63”
- Caffeine pills
- 28 French nasal trumpet
- A reference book
Feel free to choose some or all of the items from the list to customize a first aid kit. Pick your supply according to your emergency scenario. There is no simple checklist that will cater to all crisis circumstances.
How to Customize Your Medical Kit
Customizing your kit must be an informed decision. You must understand what each component of the kit does and what it means to sacrifice any of them.
Whatever decision you make, prescription medicine must be prioritized amongst your medical supplies. Always follow the doctor’s advice.
Essential Life-Saving Individual First Aid Kit Contents
This is a level 1 medical aid kit customized to be useful in case of injuries involving blood and breathing. Every kit must have the level 1 items.
If you are building your own ultra-portable collection, you can have all or most of these items.
Starter first aid kit or IFAK checklist:
- Pressure bandage–These are used to control severe hemorrhaging, especially in places where the tourniquet cannot be used. Pressure dressing stops bleeding by aiming pressure directly onto the bleeder.
- Tourniquet– These are priority items because they are designed to control spurting arterial bleed. This kind of blood loss kills the victim in minutes.
- Combat gauze – This is a typical gauze, but uniquely packed so that you can use it in high-pressure cases. You need 4.5” x 4 yards of this material, commonly known as the Z-fold gauze.
Wound-packing is usually nerve-wracking, but especially so for an untrained first respondent. Hemostatic combat gauze has blood-clotting agents that stem the bleeding faster.
- Coban roll–This is a compression bandage that works the same way a plastic cling film works. It is used for bandaging minor injuries and fastening splints. In dire situations, it is permissible to re-cycle a Coban roll. Exposure to high temperatures makes it clump together much like melting plastic. Purchase your Coban roll in dimensions of 2 inches thick 5 yards long.
- Trauma shears–Medical shears are used to cut away clothing and any other materials blocking access to a wound. Shears can also cut through a seat-belt to free an accident victim.
- Over the counter medication -Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Antihistamines, and Loperamide are extremely helpful in managing an array of situations in the field.
- Paracetamol is regarded as the most suitable choice as a pain reliever among over the counter meds. It is the safest drug when compared to either ibuprofen or aspirin.
- Paracetamol poses no harm to gestating women.
- Infants under six months can only tolerate paracetamol for fever relief.
Note: Ibuprofen is contraindicated for the elderly, people with high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, and clotting disorder. Ibuprofen thins the blood, reducing its clotting ability just like aspirin.
- Ibuprofen is an effective anti-inflammatory for sprains, redness, swelling, menstrual cramps, and joint pains.
- When Ibuprofen and Paracetamol are taken together with caffeine pills, they create a pain relief effect similar to an opioid.
- Benadryl is administered as an over the counter antihistamine for treating allergy symptoms, colds, and fever. Carry some Benadryl, even if you carry an EpiPen. A shot of Epi only works up to 20 minutes. If you take a combination of both, Benadryl will kick in once the effects of the EpiPen wear out. Benadryl may cause drowsiness.
- Imodium is an anti-diarrhea medication. Nothing is more ill-timed than a bout of a runny tummy in the middle of a crisis, but it is a common occurrence. The stress of a foreign environment and survival food can easily result in stomach upsets. Diarrhea must be dealt with because, if left unchecked, it can be life-threatening.
Note: Buy these drugs strictly in pill or capsule form.
- Band-aids –Band-aids perform a dual function of dressing and bandaging a wound. For your small everyday carry kit, buy as many as you please in assorted sizes.
- Chest Seals–As their name suggests, this equipment seals open injuries in the chest. Gaping chest wounds are usually as a result of penetrative trauma from bullets or sharp objects. Get a pair of these for your kit.
Go-Bag First-Aid Kit
This is a level 2 first aid kit for your bug-out bag, car, or Get-home-bag.
Level two kits pick up from where we left the list in level one:
- Tweezers –Used to pick out large pieces of debris that are stuck inside a wound.
- 18-gauge irrigating syringe 20cc –Syringes are used together with tweezers to clean a wound. The syringe aims 20cc of pressurized water on a wound to clean it.
- Vaseline–Vaseline is pure petroleum jelly to provide soothing for chapped lips, sunburns, blisters, and a barrier between burns and dressing. However, Vaseline combined with cotton balls or gauze will start a fire. Pick a small container of petroleum jelly and use only clean fingers or cotton balls to scoop.
- 2 Needles and Thread in Isopropyl Alcohol–Keep needles and thread in a small alcohol container to maintain a sterile state. In the field, you can thread the sterile needle and thread through a blister. Leave the thread out on both ends of the blister. The blister will drain while leaving the roof intact.
- Silk medical tape–Silk tape is strong, waterproof, and breathable, and it contains hypoallergenic adhesive. Keep the skin as dry as possible when using this tape.
- 5” x 2” Moleskin–In the course of your emergency,you may have to trekfor several miles. Put it over the parts of your feet that receive the most friction from your footwear to prevent blisters.
Note: It is a very bad idea to duct tape a blister. It makes friction worse and forms new blisters. Popping or deroofing a blister is not recommended, because it increases the risk of acquiring an infection.
- 4.5” x 4 yards Gauze Rolls–Sterile gauze rolls stretch out to cover a wound without the risk of infection. They are also useful as a backup for wound packing in case you run out of Z-fold gauze. Plus, the gauze can be modified into a pressure dressing in a rolled state.
- 6 Gauze Pads 4” x 4”– These pads are a favorite for targeted wound dressing because they are breathable and easy to remove.
- Plastic Cling Film–Yes, kitchen plastic wrap is an efficient improvised bandage. It won’t cling to the wound but will seal it by clinging to itself. You can monitor the wound easily because it is transparent.
- Cravat–Cravats are triangular pieces of cloth that can be used to support closed injuries on arms and shoulders. They are also used to pin fractures and dislocated joints. Use the cravat as an improvised tourniquet to stem the arterial flow. Beyond medical use, cover your head or face with it or use it as a water strainer.
- 3 Safety Pins–Safety pins are for bandage closures and for making a cravat sling for broken arms.
- 36” Aluminum Splint–Also known as a Sam splint. It can be shaped to form a splint according to the location of the injury. You can shape it to work as back support or a pillow.
The Complete First Aid Kit
This is level 3, the expert level that experienced preppers have in their bug-out bags.
However, it does not have everything that medical practitioners carry in their medical bags. This is because of the height and space restrictions of a backpack.
To the list from level two, add the following gear:
2 Emergency Blankets 52” x 82” – You will find that Earthquake blankets already make an appearance in the go-bag checklist. However, emergency blankets are also considered medical equipment. A sick or injured person cannot generate much body heat since their movement is limited. The blankets insulate patients laying on the ground while trapping their residual body heat to keep them warm.
2 Pairs of Gloves – Gloves are personal protective equipment to protect you and the patient from cross-infections. Please use only Nitrile gloves in your first aid kit. Both latex and vinyl gloves are not recommended for use due to safety and quality concerns.
In other cases, the person you are helping may have a latex allergy, causing more discomfort.
Reference guide – We recommend Jim Morrissey’s Wilderness Medical Associates Field Guide. The illustrations and instructions provide clear guidance on what to do in different medical emergencies.
Sodium Chloride Drops– These are useful in case of severe smoke, soot, pepper spray, and other air pollutants. You need to be able to see to increase your chances of survival.
2 Abd Pads 5” x 9” – These are high absorbency gauze pads that are intended to cover a large surface area like the torso. Use them if you encounter large or deep injuries to avoid running out of gauze.
28 French Nasopharyngeal Airway – This is a tube with a flared end that sits on the nasal passage to create a clear airway. This is especially useful when an unconscious person is showing signs of struggling for breath. They are also known as NPAs.
Pepto-Bismol – This treats the underlying causes of nausea, diarrhea, and acidity better than Imodium. It does work slower, however.
Caffeine Pills – The pills work as a stimulant to hasten recovery from exhaustion. It also prevents symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, which would be inconvenient in a disaster.
Hydrocortisone cream – Treat bug bites, infection from plants and flowers, and eczema.
Miconazole – This is especially important for ladies to include amongst their medicine. Emergencies often mean a lack of proper hygiene. Combined with stress, vaginal fungal infections are likely to occur. Miconazole controls an array of fungal infections; for example, athlete’s foot, tinea cruris (jock itch), and ringworm.
Broad-spectrum antibiotics – Doxycycline and Bactrim are some of the best choices. They have rare allergic reactions in the treatment of upper respiratory, urinary tract, ear, and skin infections.
What You Can Skip
- Blood pressure cuffs, stethoscope, blood sugar readers, etc.
- Knives and scalpels
- Decompression chest needle
- Eye shield
- Hydrogen peroxide
- CPR masks
- Suture kit
This complete emergency gear guide will prepare you to handle serious injuries where medical care is delayed or not available. You cannot downplay the importance of being prepared to save your life or those of people close to you.
Remember to enroll in a first aid course to be prepared!