In the past I have written about “Your Office Bug Out Bag / Get Home Bag” as well as a very informative article on Tools To Defend Your Vehicle and an article that is really popular “11 Items You Need To Get Now.”
Since authoring my book “Survive The Coming Storm – Ebola Crisis: A Prepper’s Guide on How To Prepare For A Killer Global Pandemic and Treat At Home” – I have wanted to write on creating a custom first aid kit that is suited to you and your family’s needs.
Background – Why Build Your Own
The one thing that I have noticed in all the store bought first aid kits is that they really don’t address the serious injuries that people get when they really need a first aid kit.
Most home injuries resorts either you or you spouse running to the medicine cabinet, grabbing the hydrogen peroxide, maybe some rubbing alcohol, gauze, duct tape and Band-Aids.
For example here is a true story that happened to me couple years ago and why it is important to have a “personalized” first aid kit in your car, office and home.
A True Story
One day Tracye and I were at the park and I just got a new Cold Steel Voyager Clip Point. I was doing what I normally do when getting a new knife, I was working with it, learning how to deploy it AND close it with one hand.
It is the closing it with one hand that got me.
Well, in the process of practicing, I closed the knife on my right index finger and sliced it pretty bad.
Luckily enough, I had a first aid / blow out kit in the car and I was able to administer first aid to myself and stop the bleeding.
The Custom Part – From lessons past, me cutting myself with my knives, I have learned to keep multiple bottles of super glue in first aid kit. For those of you who do not know, super glue will seal up a bad cut pretty quickly. It burns like crazy, but you will close the gap that you sliced into yourself.
Now ask yourself, how may store bought first aid kits have super glue in them?
Just so you know, I started with a good store bought first aid kit, took out some of the junk that you will never use and then added stuff to the kit that I know that I would need in an emergency.
My Basic Kit For The Car – Foundation #1
Because I “customized” my kit, I was able to stop the bleeding, and yes it was spurting out. Just think Monty Python’s Black Knight and my finger was doing just that.
I applied compression long enough to stop the bleeding for a moment and then applied the super glue.
I wrapped it up and in 24 hours the cut started to mend itself.
If I did not have my “customized” first aid kit in my car, I would have bled all over the place and would not have been able to stop the bleeding, at least with what the store bought first aid kit would have had in the box.
These are items I recommend keeping in your vehicle at all times…
Israeli Compression Bandage – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Israeli-Compression-Bandage
Military Issue Combat Application Tourniquet – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Tourniquet
Quick Clot Blood Clotting Agent – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Quick-Clot
Super Glue Single Packs – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Super-Glue-Single-Packs
Coleman First Aid Kit – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Coleman-First-Aid-Kit
Now, I know that some of you are asking what did I chuck from the store bought first aid kit?
The first thing to get rid of are the cheap scissors. In an emergency you may need to cut through some blue jeans, a shirt or multiple layers of clothes. This is why a good pair of trauma shears are in order. They are inexpensive and they will do the job right
Trauma Shears – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Trauma-Scissors
Another thing I chuck and replace is the medical tape and replace it with “ Gorilla Tape To-Go.” This is a small roll of 1 inch gorilla tape. The important thing is that when you get it, lift the end and fold it in on itself so it creates a quick pull tab. This stuff sticks to anything, even skin. But the skin cannot be oily, if it is, clean it off with some hand sanitizer gel (which is another good thing to keep in the kit) and wipe it off with a cotton towel (also added to kit) and then it will stick.
Gorilla Tape To-Go – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Gorilla-Tape-To-Go
Hand Sanitizer Gel – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Small-Hand-Sanitizer-Gel
Microfiber Travel Towel – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Microfiber-Travel-Towel
Now if this is just too crazy and you do not want to go to the time, effort and possible expense, of building a car first aid kit, then here is a great solution. Trauma Pak with QuikClot.
- Respond fast- QuikClot Advanced Clotting Sponge uses zeolite, a common mineral, to help blood clot up to three times faster than blood on its own.
- Critical first aid information: an easy-to-understand instruction and information pamphlet delivers valuable information on how to treat certain injuries
- Goes anywhere, so you’re always prepared: fits in a cargo pocket, backpack, duffel bag – practically anywhere
- Personal protection: nitrile gloves and a biohazard disposal bag provide protection.
- Durable, waterproof, and reusable: DryFlex(TM) packaging stands up to abuse in the outdoors – you can refill and reuse it for years
The best thing is that this costs about $16 – $18 dollars per kit. So you can purchase several and have one on hand at the office, the car, your home and put one in your bug out bag.
Sport Trauma Pack – http://preview.tinyurl.com/PZ-Sport-Trauma-Kit
You Keep What In Your Car Kit?
It is a good idea to keep a couple American Eagle silver dollars in your car kit. Why? You never know when you will be in a situation where you need to have some quick money.
Situation #1 – You are stuck on the side of the road, and your wife is injured. Someone has pulled over to help and you need a ride to the hospital. Having a couple of silver dollars in your first aid kit might help secure a ride.
Situation #2 – You need a fast hotel room to apply medical treatment. Again whipping out some silver may be the thing to gain you access.
As always, I recommend getting your silver from Steve Quayle’s Renaissance Precious Metals. He makes it easy to purchase a few ounces just for a situation like this.
Renaissance Precious Metals – http://www.sqmetals.com
The Custom Urban/City First Aid Kit & The Custom Country First Aid Kit
OK Ray, why two different kinds of First Aid Kits?
Like it or not, you will run into different sort of wounds living in the city/urban environment than that which you will run into living in a country/suburban environment.
Here is a quick example, how many of you have anti venom for a snake bite sitting around? If you live in the city there is really no need. But where we live in the country, there is a serious need for it because the snakes are plentiful.
It is these sorts of things that you need to think about when creating / building your custom first aid kit so that it will realistically suit you and your family’s needs.
So to start off, you will need a bag, pack, ect to keep your first aid gear organized. Organization is critical so that you can find stuff in a hurry.
After doing a lot of research, I have found the “3V Gear Velox II Large Tactical Backpack”
It flips completely open exposing the main compartment. This is important so that when you arrive on the scene you can quickly unzip it and get to the items you need quickly.
It is rugged, tough and with the MOLLE set up you can add more bags, canteen, ect to the outside. It also has Velcro strapping on some of the pockets so that you can Velcro things to the outside like labels, patches, etc. These sort of labels can also assist you in finding things you need quickly.
It isn’t small, but it isn’t huge either. You want a first aid pack that you can quickly pick up with one hand and sling it on your back if you have to. The straps on this also are very rugged and positioned well so they do not rub. You can carry this for some time on your back and not be hampered by the straps cutting into your neck like a standard school backpack does.
It also comes in different colors. So if you are not the OD Green type, there are other colors to choose from.
3V Gear Velox II – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-MOLLE-Tactical-Backpack
What Should It Contain – Urban / City ? – Foundation #2
According to the Center for Disease Control, around 213,000 people are treated in emergency rooms each year for injuries that result from outdoor recreation.
The most common injuries (27.4 percent of them), are fractures, followed by muscle strain and sprains (23.9 percent), bruises and abrasions (15.9 percent), lacerations (14.81 percent) and dislocations (3.81 percent).
The CDC also lists concussions, burns, crushing, dental injuries, skin inflammation and poisoning as other common injuries experienced in the outdoors.
The Red Cross recommends the following…
- 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
- 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
- 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets
- 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
- 1 blanket (space blanket) [Available on the Red Cross Store]
- 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
- 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
- 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches) [Available on the Red Cross Store]
- 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
- 2 triangular bandages
Sit and think about all the injuries that one can sustain in an urban / city environment. When I sit and think I imagine the following…
- Minor cuts, scraps, laceration’s
- House hold burns & insect / animal bites
- Sprained wrists, ankles and possible broken bones.
- Major cuts and punctures from kitchen knives, outdoor tools, etc.
- Workplace injuries like tunnel carpel, sore back, neck and shoulder.
- Sport related injuries, heat and cold exposure
- Infection – Infection can develop after an injury or wound to the skin like a bite or sting, a tattoo or piercing, or other skin problems.
This is just a short list, but it is something to get you thinking.
Now the good news is that pretty much all of that is stuff you can do something about.
No, you’re not going to fix a broken leg in the field, but you could make the potentially very long trip to the hospital much more comfortable and reduce the chances of further injury in the process if your custom first aid kit had a temporary leg or arm brace.
So one of the things you can add to your first aid kit is called a “SAM Splint” it is a roll of thick aluminum that you can mold into a quick brace and then wrap it with a Ace Bandage or Veterinarian Tape. The SAM Splint is extremely moldable, and soft enough to cut with ordinary household scissors and it can be used to splint every bone in the human body.
Sam Splint – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Sam-Splint
Ace Bandage – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Ace-Bandage
Vet Tape – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Vet-Tape
NOTE – A little bit on Vet Tape. I discovered this stuff when our German shepherd got a bad cut on the pad of his foot. Vet Tape is a self-sticking rubber elastic tape that does not stick to hair or skin. The great thing is that it is reusable, all you have to do is roll it back up onto itself and you can use it again if needed.
So when I needed to change my shepherd’s bandages, I could roll it off the wound, apply new bandages and the roll it back onto the wound. It sticks to itself and did not stick to the hair on my shepherd’s leg.
This was invented primarily for veterinarian use, but it has made its way over to first aid kits for humans because it is great for treating broken bones and burns where a bandage or such needs to be taken off and re-applied.
Keep Cold & Hot Packs in Your Kits
The need for cold and hot packs in a kit is important. Both of these help relieve pain and swelling where the person has injured themselves or sprained a wrist or ankle.
If you have not seen them, they are about 4” x 5” and they feel like they have small round beads in them. To activate them you just bend them or punch them in the palm of your hand, shake and they start getting hot or cold.
You place them where you need the pain relief or swelling to go down and use your Ace Bandage or Vet Tape to hold them in place.
Cold Packs – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Cold-Packs
Hot Packs – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Heat-Packs
Fall Down and Go Boom – Bruises and Abrasions
This is probably the biggest use your first aid kit will be called upon to treat folks, especially if you have kids.
Like it or not everyone will fall down and have a “boo-boo” getting scrapped up in the process. These sort of injuries aren’t a big deal, but when they do happen, they hurt like the dickens. The biggest issue is that you need to make sure that the scrape does not get infected down the road.
Supplies that can help with this sort of wound are:
– Instant Ice Pack
– Ibuprofen to help ease the pain
– Hydrogen Peroxide, Iodine, hand sanitizer gel to clean and disinfect the wound
– Neosporin to help the wound heal faster
– Bandages to cover the wound and keep it somewhat sterile
– Gorilla Tape (to hold the bandages on)
As you can see, a lot of what we have talked about in sections above, we already have items to treat with.
So that Gorilla tape, ice packs, hand sanitizer gel, bandages we have already covered.
Depending on who you are treating will also determine what you will use to clean the wound.
What I am talking about is…
Does It Sting?
So why should I care if it stings?
When someone is hurt and you are the caregiver, it means a lot that the person you are caring for is not in pain.
This is why you should consider having several means to clean and disinfect the wound.
Some things to possibly add…
Saline Solution – basically it is water with a bit of salt in it. This is a great solution to flush out wounds and just see what is going on. You would normally associate it to contact lens’ and using it to clean a contact lens. But you can also use it to clean a wound. Since it normally has a “squeeze” top that allows a stream of fluid to come out , you can direct the flow to a cut or scrape and not getting it all over the place.
Saline Solution – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Saline-Solution
Hydrogen Peroxide – This is a good solution to help clean and disinfect. Hydrogen Peroxide also can help aid in stopping the bleeding of minor wounds. It has a chemical reaction with blood and start “fizzing. ” This seems to help slow down the bleeding in like a cut finger or such. If you leave in on a fresh wound, the fizzing will start to turn into a burning stinging sensation.
Hydrogen Peroxide – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Hydrogen-Peroxide
Betadine – this is a povidone-iodine antiseptic for wounds that is safe to apply to both human and pets. You don’t use this really to clean out a cut or wound, although you can. When I have used it personally I did not feel any sting to it like you would normally get with standard iodine. Betadine has been used in homes and hospitals worldwide as an important first line of defense against topical infections. Betadine Microbicides help to reduce bacteria that potentially can cause skin infection.
Betadine – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Betadine
Rubbing Alcohol – Ok, talk about sting, this stuff will sting like crazy. But if you have to use it to clean a wound, then you use it. Just have someone helping keep the person still. Another option is to use vodka or scotch to clean a wound over this because at least the vodka or scotch has a lower alcohol level and may not burn as much. But if this is all you had, then go for it.
NOTE – do not use this on a small child, you can actually give the child alcohol poisoning as it absorbs into the skin and the child become somewhat “drunk” which will quickly lead to the poisoning.
Rubbing Alcohol – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Rubbing-Alcohol
Items For Your Kit
It is great to have all the band aids and gauze, but there are some other medical tools that are really good to have in your kit.
Electronic Ear Thermometer – These are a great way to get the temperature of a person quickly. Most hospitals now use these. Make sure you check the batteries on these from time to time if you are not using them. Keep an extra set of batteries in your kit as well just in case these go out.
Electronic Ear Thermometer – NO ORAL – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Electronic-Ear-Thermometer
Stethoscope – Need to hear the person breathing, got tummy issues or their heart still ticking? You need a stethoscope. I actually have two. One for our kit and one we keep in the barn to listen to the horses or other animals, but primarily for the horses so that we can listen for colic which can kill a horse rather quickly. In the case of a horse, if you do not hear any stomach gurgling, they might have colic.
Stethoscope – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Stethoscope
Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor – You hear their heart with the stethoscope, but you need to know their blood pressure. This is where this comes in handy. SO you wrap the belt around the person’s arm and push the button and you are then given a set of numbers.
OK… so what does the numbers mean?
- Less than 120 over 80: Your blood pressure is normal and healthy. Follow a healthy lifestyle to keep it at this level.
- Between 120 over 80 and 140 over 90: Your blood pressure is a little higher than it should be, and you should try to lower it. Make healthy changes to your lifestyle.
- 140 over 90 or higher (over a number of weeks): You have high blood pressure. Change your lifestyle – see your doctor or nurse and take any medicines they may give you.
Source – http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/microsites/u40/Home/facts/Whatisnormal
By knowing this, you will also know if the person is in danger of some sort of cardiac issue. So once you have given first aid, you then get the person to the hospital if they are in some of those danger zones as mentioned above.
Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Blood-Pressure-Monitor
Tongue Depressors – open up and say AHHhhhhh. Use these to check a person’s throat. Maybe your child is not feeling well and you need to check for strep throat. You need to have one of these on hand or in a pinch you can use a kitchen butter knife. But what you are looking for is a red irritated throat. If looking for strep, you will see white puss on the back of the throat. These also double great for using to splint a broken finger or use multiple to splint a hand, that is if you do not have a Sam Splint.
Tongue Depressors – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Tongue-Depressors
N95 Surgical Mask – If you do not know the person, having a N95 surgical mask will help prevent the spread of disease. If you child has the flu and you do not want to get it, wear one of these when you are treating them in their room. Keeping these and eye protection is important for your first aid kit.
N95 Surgical Mask – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-N95-Surgical-Mask
Medical Eye Goggles – two words… spit and vomit. IF you do not have a set of these, and you get spit on or vomited on, you will have wished you had some. One of the fastest ways a virus can enter your body is by your eyes, nose or mouth. This is why you want to have these areas covered. Use an N95 Surgical Mask to keep your mouth and nose covered and eye goggles to protect your eyes. The both of these are very important especially if you are treating someone you do not know or know their medical history.
Medical Eye Goggles – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Medical-Eye-Goggles
Small Surgical Kit – There are some things that you might have to do to help the person. A small surgical kit could provide you some needed tools. For example, using forceps to keep a cut closed, Tweezers to pull a bad splinter, scalpel to lance a cyst. All these things are in a surgical kit. Even though you can purchase other things that can do the job, these are made to do the job and the quality are just better. Ever try pulling a splinter with a pair of cheap tweezers?
Small Surgical Kit – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Surgical-Kit
Fenix Flashlight – I am a huge fan of these. They are super bright and the CR123A last forever. I have one of these by the side of my bed. They are inexpensive for the quality you are getting and both Tracye and I have one. If you are in a dark area and you need to look someone over, this is the flashlight to have. It is small, compact, but incredibly bright when it is in its 960-Lumen turbo mode.
Fenix Flashlight – five brightness levels – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Fenix-PD35-Flashlight
Building on Foundations
As you may realize by now we are “Building” upon our Car kit, then to our City kit and then going to our Country kit.
In other words, what you have in your car kit you will have in your city and country kit. What you have in your city kit will also be part of your country kit. SO the country kit will have what is in your car kit and city kit as well as other items we will talk about in the next article.
Till next week, stay safe!