Acquiring and Repurposing Medical Equipment

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There isn’t a store in any mall in any town I know of that sells just to preppers. Those prepper tailored stores are pretty much all online… or in Utah. If you want medical supplies and you don’t want to order it online… read on. Or Let’s say the crap is hitting the fan or about to. You can’t wait for UPS to delivery and store shelves are going to empty of food, water, and medical supplies quickly.

There are going to be some products that you would not think of as medical equipment lurking in some of the most unlikely places. Maybe they are already in your house. The point is that you can probably save money by knowing some of these things are marketed and sold differently but are essentially the same product. So sometimes the “medical” equipment is cheaper… most of the time it is more expensive. But shop around to get your best prices.

Dog Training Pads=Chux Pads

When I was a kid when you had to potty train a dog you kept them in the bathroom and covered it with Newspaper. Now we don’t have newspapers anymore and they these dog training pads. Guess what. They are the same pads used in hospitals to absorb bodily fluids. They are the same price as chux pads but they are more widely available.

Chux Pads are useful if you are doing any medical procedure involving bodily fluids. Initiating an IV for example. You might want to throw down a chux pad.

Hemostats… are sold as Hemostats.

You can buy hemostats used for suturing in the fishing or automotive sections. In fact I bet you that if you are a fisherman you probably already have them.

Horse Wrap Tape=Coban

Coban is the miracle medical item. It is like Ace Wrap… but way better. It self adheres to itself. It so freaking useful. Guess what. Horse Wrap is the EXACT same thing that is used on humans. Made by the same company to… Only it is a fraction of the price.

Fish Antibiotics

Not going to talk about it… Google and Youtube your answers on this one. I am not going to advocate using Fish Antibiotics for anything other than to treat Nemo. Sorry I am not touching it with a 10 foot pole. Is it the same? Well if you buy your Fish Antibiotics and check out the Pill Identifier. Each pill is marked… If those markings are identical to the markings on the human drugs it will come up with the drug in question. You can’t typically pick these up at Petsmart… I tried. You would have to look up fish pet stores in your area and call them and see if they have this.

Nitrile Gloves=Medical Exam Gloves

They are often found automotive and hardware stores. These have plenty of improvised uses.

Multipurpose Shears=Trauma Shears

You can find trauma shears sold in Harbor Freight, grocery stores, and hardware stores. They are those angled no pointed heavy duty scissors. Those are the scissors uses to cut off someones clothing. They are used because they have like zero chance of cutting the patient but like 100% chance of cutting through their clothing.

painting masks=surgical masks.

I have done demolition work during disasters. It is pretty much the same mask I used working in an ER. You want to get the N95 or better masks for your family when dealing with biological pathogens. The masks they use for painting, sanding, or anything else are pretty much the masks you want to put on people if some highly contagious pathogen is being spread around.


What do I need to say here… You already know this. I prefer the small individual sizes because really I am that idiot who messes up the bottle after one use anyway.


People think oh… Duct tape will fix everything. Sure… I have duct tape in my trauma bag. For the first time you get hurt. If you need your bandage changed daily… Your skin will not be able to handle duct tape being ripped off your skin day after day. It just won’t. Masking tape or that blue painters tape doesn’t have as strong adhesive. So for long term wound care if you don’t have the fancy post surgical paper tape… work with what you have.











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About David Black

Trained and Certified: National Registry EMT, Wilderness EMT, US Army 68W, Tactical Combat Causality Care (TCCC), Basic Life Support for Healthcare Workers, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, US Coast Guard Medical Person In-Charge, Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support. International Trauma Life Support. HAM Radio Technician. Trained and Certified to Instruct: Combat Life Saver Instructor and Community Emergency Response Team Trainer. CPR, AED, First Aid.

5 thoughts on “Acquiring and Repurposing Medical Equipment

  1. Too much emphasis on medics and litter bearers. DHS needs such people. Partisans do not operate like that. Conventionality killls.

  2. Duct tape and some stabilizing item (tongue depressor blades, paint mixing sticks) can make a temporary cast if you don’t have an ER available. You can immobilize a joint like an ankle or elbow pretty effectively. Cover joint with a clean sock (or guaze) so that the duct tape doesn’t adher to the skin. Just need to be sure not too tight, as with any trauma there will be swelling, need to be able to check fingers or toes for circulation.

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