From cuts to bumps, we have all been there.  Some of us have even broken a bone or two, or three.  It is safe to say that you will need more than a band-aid if you get injured when the SHTF. Every household should have a first aid kit that has the necessary items to treat common injuries.  But you MUST know what you are doing. Knowledge is the most critical piece of gear you will ever have.

  • Buy a book on first aid. I recommend the US Army’s field manual FM21-11: First Aid For Soldiers. This book is full of very important information and you can find them new for around $12.00 US.

You have three options for  first aid kits:

  1. Buy a pre-made first aid kit
  2. Make your own kit
  3. Buy a custom made kit

Pre-made kits made by companies like Johnson & Johnson can be bought at most retail stores. They are composed of  basic first aid items such as a large assortment of band-aids,  gauze pads, triple antibiotic ointment, a finger splint, latex-free gloves, tweezers, a cold pack and some other miscellaneous stuff.

  • Pre-made kits range in price and it is important to remember that you get what you pay for.

If you decide to make your own kit, you must take into consideration your families needs. The biggest problem is that it will cost 5x more to make your own kit if you buy the items at retail because you will need to buy each item separately. You will need to buy a box of each item, even though you likely will only put 5 or 6 of each item in the first aid kit.

Buying a custom kit isn’t really worth it when talking about a basic first aid kit because the price tag associated with a custom made kit is higher than the average person would like to pay.. I have seen some websites which build custom basic first aid kits and a kit which I could put together for $15.00 they are asking $45.

**Make sure the items in the kit are Latex-Free and if the kit has OTC medication such as Neosporin, check the expiration dates.**

I have spent the last year or so buying everything in bulk at wholesale price and now I build custom first aid kits which soon will be available for purchase.  I will go over the kits I build in another post later on.

When it comes to brands, there are many of them. The quality of each brand will vary in one way or another. The brands you see at Walmart are not the same brands that EMT’s and hospitals use.  I guess you could say that there are two categories for first aid supplies:

  1. Public Production
  2. Industry Production

Public Production simple means that the item was manufactured to meet basic consumer standards and expectations. These items are mass produced and distributed to retail stores across the world.

Industry Production means the item was manufactured to industry specific specifications and standards. Many safety and first aid items and kits that fall in this category are OSHA compliant and meet ANSI standards. OSHA compliant items are available to the public market. Military Standard is where the item was manufactured to ensure the products meet certain requirements, commonality, reliability, total cost ofownership, compatibility with logistics systems, and similar defense-related objectives. You will usually not find Mil-Spec items in the public market until there is a surplus (Mil-Surp) of the item.

Speaking from experience as an EMT/FR who is the son of a pharmacist, the first aid kits that are available at retail locations are terrible. If a first aid kit has 170 items in it and 150 are band-aids, don’t buy it.  Tylenol, Asprin and other OTC medications should be bought separately.

When it is all said and done, a  household first aid kit should contain:

  • 1x First Aid manual
  • 1x pen light
  • 1x roll of adhesive medical tape
  • 1x Stainless Steel tweezers
  • 1x EMT shears
  • 3x pair of latex free medical gloves.
  • 1x Tube of triple antibiotic ointment
  • 1x bottle of caladryl
  • 1x hand sanitizer
  • 1x bottle of eye drops
  • 10x alcohol prep pads
  • 10x spot bandages
  • 10x 1″ x 3″ adhesive bandages
  • 10x 3/4″x 3″ adhesive bandages
  • 10x 5/8″ x 2 1/4″ adhesive bandages
  • 10x knuckle adhesive bandages
  • 15x butterfly wound closures
  • 5x 4×4 non-stick pads
  • 5x 3×2 non-stick pads
  • 5x 2×2 non-stick pads
  • 3x 1″ gauze roll
  • 3x wooden Popsicle sticks (finger splints)
  •  1x case (shoe boxes work well)


“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin