What to stock in your Medical Kits

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What to stock in your Medical Kits
Dixie EMS First Responder Kit

This Medical Kit Guide should have been the first article I wrote. Unfortunately it is kind of a complex issue. What you put in your kits isn’t as important as what you put into your head. Still I get this question a lot. What should I put in my first aid kit/medic bag/jump kit etc? The problem is that this is a tough question to answer. It really depends. How many people are you going to care for? What environment will you be operating in? What is your group’s highest level of training? The reason I ask these questions is that I will pack my aid bag based on the things I will likely encounter, but there are somethings that I will always pack. If it is 97 degrees outside I think I might leave the heat packs at home. If it is -20° I think I might leave my IV kits at home.

I think I have a solution. Scaled Modularity. I am going to provide a skeleton of what you need for all occasions in terms of injury and illness. Then I am going to add in modules. I am also not going to have this discussion without talking about training. YOU NEED TRAINING!  Here is how I am going to set it up. You are going to have Levels, Time, and Areas of Care. So for example you are going to need a Level 1A Bleeding Control Kit in your EDC regardless of who you are at all times.

Medical Kit Levels:

1. Everybody (children and pets included) needs an IFAK level kit
2. Every Family or Fireteam to Squad Level needs a CLS kit (4-8 people).
3. Every Survival Group, Neighborhood, Squad or Platoon sized element needs an Aid Bag. (8-20)
4.Every Survival Community or Company Sized Element (40-120)
5. Town to Battalion sized Element (240-1000)

Amount of Time

  • A. 24hr Every Day Carry-Single Day Training Event
  • B. 24-72 Hr Get Home Bag/Weekend Training Event
  • C. 2 Weeks-1 Month
  • D. 1-6 Months
  • E. 1 Year+


Here is the training required for these Levels. (children and dogs excluded obviously). Now to be a medical responder post SHTF you need to train in three areas. 1. Traditional Medicine 2. Wilderness Medicine. 3. Tactical Medicine.

You can be an ER doctor with the best degrees and have the experience to treat any medical emergency but if you get shot trying to render aid who is going to save you? If you don’t have the ability to get labs or order x-rays much less have adequate lighting are you going to be able to use your skills?


CPR and AED: Most companies, charities, and local government agencies will provide this training for free. 

Wilderness First Aid: You can usually find classes via outdoor retailers, the american red cross, or private companies. 

CERT Medical: This is a FEMA program (I know I know) that is free or if you have to pay it is only to reimburse the cost of the handouts etc. 

First Aid: You can get this training usually for free from the American Red Cross

Military First Aid/Self Aid and Buddy Care:Not much beyond a wilderness first aid course. You can look up TCCC protocols to learn the basics.

II. EVERY SOLDIER/Head of Household (AKA MOM):

American Heart Association Basic Life Support for Healthcare Workers (BLS): These classes are usually not free. They are designed for those who work with patients. In addition to CPR and AED they deal with Bag Valve Mask Use and the Jaw Thrust

Medical First Responder (MFR) you can get this level of training by becoming a volunteer firefighter or police officer.

Combat Life Saver (CLS) You can get this level of training by signing the best years of your life away to uncle sam.

Nursing Assistant: This is a short class you can find the training at most community colleges, some high schools, and private sector training. It will teach you how to move patients safely, how to take vital signs, and I am not sure what else these people do. I have been told it is basically adult baby sitting but that probably isn’t right and I will probably get hate mail for saying so.


EMT:Emergency Medical Technician classes can be found at most community colleges and even some high schools. You can get this class if you are a volunteer or professional fire fighter. Some Wilderness Medical Training will bundle this with their Wilderness EMT course work. Training is about 3-6 weeks at the shortest up to a year.

Wilderness First Responder: This is a class that you can take for the purposes of being a wilderness tour guide. This is usually a 3-5 day course.

TEMS Class: Your Tactical Medical Courses are short. They are like a weekend. You typically need Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support to get into these classes. Without joining the military this is the only way to learn tactical medicine.


American Heart Association Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Life Support: These classes cost a couple hundred dollars each. They are 1-3 days each.

Advanced EMT. This is the half way point between an EMT and a Paramedic. 3-6 months of training is required. You need 50 clinical hours minimum. It is rare to find this training available. It can be achieved through private companies.

Military Medic or Tactical EMT. You typically won’t find this level of training available outside of the Military/LE community. It usually last 3-6 months

Wilderness EMT. This training is about 10-14 days in addition to your EMT training. Most NOLS or WMS certified trainers provide this to the General Public

LPN or Medical Assistant: You can find these programs at most community colleges. They take about a year to complete.


This level of response is probably not reading medical advice from me. This includes: Paramedic, RN, Independent Duty Medic, Combat Paramedic, Wilderness Advanced Provider, Military Flight Medic.


Doctor, Nurse Practitioner, Physicians Assistant, Special Forces Medics (18D).


Areas of Care.

Bleeding Control/Wound Care:  Tourniquets, Dressings, Hemostatic Agents, Pressure Bandages, wound packing, infection control, irrigation syringes, staples, sutures, Dermabond, steri-strips, medical tape

Airway/Respiration:  NPAs, OPAs, King LT, Combitube, LMA, ET Tubes, Ventilators, CPAP, Chest Tubes, Needle Chest Decompression, Surgical Airways, occlusive dressings, chest seals, O2 Tank w/regulator, nasal cannula, non rebreather, Bag Valve Mask, ETCO2 Monitor.

Circulation:  IV/IO Access, saline locks, IV Fluids, AED, Manual Defibrillators.

Hypothermia:  Heat Packs, Space Blankets, Wool Blankets.

Orthopedic/Splinting:  SAM Splints, Coban, Ace Wrap, Athletic Tape, Plaster or Fiberglass casting materials, tuning fork.

Dental: Tea Bags, Tooth Picks, Dental Pick, Dental Mirror, Clove Oil, Dental Wax, Temporary Filling,

Eyes, Ears, Nose, Throat: Eye Drops, Cough Drops, Honey, Humidifier

Burns:Water Jel Burn Dressing, Ringers Lactate IV Solution,

Medical:Foley Catheter, Nasogastric Tubes, OTC Medications,


PPE: Nitrile Exam Gloves, N95 Mask, protective eyewear, caffine, hearing protection


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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.

28 thoughts on “What to stock in your Medical Kits

  1. Hello, quite an interesting list of things here, you would need a few more things, which I do not remember, but honestly a very good list, for many different ordeals, I give preps on this one, goodluck to those who plan on using it. And to fellow medics, combat medics, and trained personel, of military and civilian, and survivalists, hello, and if anyone needs a team in Missouri, hit me up, at immortalslayer7@gmail.com , I am also combat trained, and trained for several forms of ranged and CQC, aswell as medical.


    -AlphaMedic out

  2. Hello! I am a type 1 diabetic (juvenile diabetes) and my husband is a type 2 diabetic. I have had diabetes for 43 years, and my husband for 21 years. I have stocked up insulin just in case of an emergency. Do you have any advice for people with diabetes to survive? If I do not have insulin for one day, I won’t make it. It is also a very horrible way to die (diabetic ketoacidosis) and also, insulin does not last that long- it has an expiration date. Any tips or ideas would be great. Thank you!

        • For long term diabetes use the Crepe Myrtle, specifically the Lagerstromeia Indica species, just steep some leaves in water and drink. It will help reduce blood sugars in your system. This has been used in the Philippines and Southeast Asia for many many years,. Another is Prickly Pear Cactus, which has fiber and pectin which helps slow down or inhibit the absorption of glucose. One day your medications will either run out or go bad, but using nature she always has a way to heal an aliment.

          • Thank you, Scoutsout23, for the information you have provided.

          • ummm, where do I find this stuff? Does it grow in the woods? What does it look like? Maybe I should just go to my doctor and keep stocking insulin!

    • Hello, wanted to forward this.
      Berberine has been shown to been a potentially effective replacement for insulin.
      Berberine is in many plants. In the Pacific Northwest the msot abundant berberine supply is in the extremely common and almost weed-like “oregon grape” species. It is my understanding that Berberine is what gives Oregon Grape the yellowish tint to its roots. Thats the compound you are going for. It is very abundant, and on my walks/hikes in the region, it is almost everywhere. It is also very easy to cultivate, and is hardy to many soil types including almost straight pure hardpack clay to highly acidic soils in pine forest beds.
      Here’s a discussion link
      This website cites two of the references drawn from: two studies published in the journal “metabolism”.

      However a pubmed search through the NIH reveals much more additional information. Simply google the phrase “pubmed berberine glucose” and review that studies that pop up from our own government’s national health achives database.

      This is just one option. It grows like a weed, is plentiful, easy to cultivate for personal use, how many other uses, is abundant and very easy to identify in nature, looks nothing like any toxic or poisonous plant, and functions as a direct replacement. There are many others. But this one fits the bill for the non-adept at wildcrafting herbals.
      Happy hunting.

    • Crepe Myrtle grows through out the United States. Its sold at Home Depot and Lowes and if that particular species is not available locally then a internet search will help you find a supplier to buy from. Crepe Myrtles are very easy to grow and can be trimmed low to keep as a bush or you can let it grow wild. I have seen many Crepe Myrtle trees reach as tall as 30+ feet tall. Grab yourself 3-4 Crepe Myrtle’s (usually cost 12-25.00 each depending on size container you buy) and plant them in your yard then the first year make sure you use Nitrogen fertilizer to help it get established. After its established it requires very little maintenance, just a little trimming at the first of spring to make it more on the bushy side since you will want the leaves more than the blooms.

    • Very late to the thread, hope you get this.

      My wife has Type 1 and so does a close friend.

      Back around 1970, a patent was issued for insulin flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen, then stored in a conventional freezer. It was injected into a rabbit with subsequent and predictable decrease in blood glucose.

      The patent asserts that the same protocol was followed with a dog, with similar results.


      I flash-froze a vial of Humalog (rapid acting insulin) in a similar manner and stored it for 2 months in my deep freeze. At his specific request, I furnished it to my friend. He bolused himself with a syringe and then tried it in his insulin pump. He reported that the insulin was “about half as effective” as fresh insulin, but he would have been “more than willing to use it if the suppy dried up.”

      NovoLog insulin is flash frozen, lyophilized (freeze dried) and shipped from Denmark to the US as a stable powder. It is then reconstituted at a central location and distributed.

      Take what you will from this. It is not medical advice.

      And I’m just some anonymous person on the web.

      • Very interesting. I thought you were not allowed to freeze insulin. Thank you for the information.

    • Refrigeration not dependent on grid electricity?
      Short-term: ammonia 2 or 3-way (12vdc/120v ac/propane) refrigeration in a travel trailer.
      Long-term : dc refrigerator (12v/24v rocker-pump) that can run for extended periods on deep cycle batteries, recharged by solar panels/gen-set/grid (as available). Also in a travel trailer or rv.

      Research animal-derived insulin. If you had access to a slaughterhouse, could you make it? That’s how insulin was made before synthetic, and the best insulin available to Europeans is made. I understand that “insulin resistance” is slower with the animal product.

      Best wishes.

  3. Hello, adding in from the civilian tactical side… Again, like the author stated above, everyone’s medical kit and load out is different.
    My medical bag is the closest approximation to a STOMP kit you can make with a standard cheapy surplus medium ALICE framed backpack, and I have set up several modular kits in it. I operate with the expectation of treating civilians as well as “combat casualties”. Call me a fifth columnist, working within the system, but on the side of the patriots.
    My modular units are giant zip lock bags, vacuum (or compression)sealed for space saving and easy vertical stacking. I use a felt marker to write on the top most flap what the kit contents area (cardiac, anaphylaxis, dressings, closures, gloves, airway, etc) and cover the felt writing with tape so it won’t wipe off. That way when I open the bag top and look down into a sea of tightly stacked zip lock bags, I can simply glance at the visible labels on top and skim until I find the kit I need. This is surprisingly fast and easy, and additionally keeps all your medical equipment stored in redundant waterproof (and bodily fluid proof) containers.
    My bag has an O2 bottle with regulator strapped to the side, and an AED attached at the bottom of the bag against the frame. I have a LRRP pack attached via ALICE clips to the bottom that houses general medications.
    I have an airway kit, including basic naso and oral airways in all sizes, colormetric sensor, intubation kit including laryngoscope with full set of MAC blades and replacement bulb and batteries, an arrangement of ET tubes, and a combitube in case its just a total mess. All of this can be picked up through medical supply stores, or vetrinary supply. Yes, even the ET tubes. Sizes are the same. And you can pick much of this stuff up at discount on ebay if you don’t care about them being past their official “expiration date”. lol
    Respiratory kit including pocket mask in adult and peds size, bag-valve mask (adult only, space concerns. just don’t fully expand the bag for peds), O2 tubing, nasal cannula, non-rebreather mask. I have several 14G 3.75″ needles for needle chest decompression of tension pneumothorax, and occlusive window dressings for open chest wounds. Again, same comments for picking this stuff up.
    Circulatory kit with IV access kits and selection of needles. Manual IO needles (no space for the EZ-IO). Saline bags in both 500ml and 1L. IV tubing. Pressure bags for IV fluids. QuickClot dressings. Combat tourniquets. GSW trauma dressings (basically large Abd-type dressings pre-attached to large triangle bandage style dressings for rapid deployment to gunshot sites), bulk 4×4 gauze, coban, rolled gauze, etc. There is a heavy emphasis in my kit for control of bleeding and stabilization of wounds secondary to shrapnel/gunfire/other penetrating trauma.
    Musculoskeletal kit with large SAM splints, ace wraps, cold packs, triangle bandages.
    Medication kits containing a number of medications (nothing restricted as a scheduled drug of abuse) including anti-nausea, anti-diarrheal, anti-inflammatory, pain reliver, antibiotics (several different ones), cardiac meds, breathing treatments, anaphylaxis medications. Some of this stuff is hard to come across, and some is as easy as walking in to a pet supply or farm supply store or ordering on amazon or from overseas (Israel issues their civilians atropine dose pens which function and look very similar to our Epi-Pens in case of chemical warfare attack… just in case anyone is interested).
    I have miscellanous other stuff bagged too, like an equipment bag with stethoscope, BP cuff, PulseOx, various implements like trauma shears, hemostats, scalpels, thermometers, attachments to turn your canteen into a pressure irrigator for wound clean out, etc.
    I’m not sitting at my bag, and just running off the top of my head, so I know I’ve missed a good amount of stuff I’ve got crammed in there or attached to the outside via alice compatible pouches.
    I’ve treated everything from penetrating chest trauma to kids with croup, active cardiac to broken bones, machete injury to multiple-casualty motor vehicle collisions. I’m usually better supplied than the first responders. And it all fits in just one medium ALICE frame backpack.
    I also hump this pack with a chest rig carrying 210 rounds in 7 alloy magazines (7.62), Level 4 ceramic front and level 3a soft full wrap around, with an additional 45 rounds in magazines for my side arm (.40 cal), plus pistol and rifle.If you are in decent shape, this is totally doable, and treats pretty much everything you can come across, with a heavier emphasis on the hemorrhagic side of things.
    Me: I am a former Police Officer, SWAT trained. Former Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technican with years in pre-hopsital care. Current Registered Nurse, with Certified Emergency Nurse additional credential, carrying Basic Life Support (CPR/AED) for the healthcare provider, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Trauma Nursing Core Curriculum, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale Certification, among others. I have worked in trauma centers and emergency departments in major metropolitan hospitals including the San Francisco bay area in California, Las Vegas in Nevada and the Portland Oregon areas among others. I have been worked in emergency services for the better part of eleven years across 20+ hospitals in 8 states. I am a nurse traveler, emergency services and trauma specialist. I am also a former police officer (pre-9/11 trained), have been trained in SWAT, and worked in the civilian counter-terrorism field following 9/11, including working as a contractor, and as a tactical consultant and trainer. I may not be a US-Crow member, but I’m one of you none the less.

    • GuerillaRN,
      You ever look for a place to hang your hat, contact me.
      I am putting together a medical team now.
      Best Regards
      North Idaho US-Crow Recruiter /Regional Director

      • RangerRick,
        I live in boundary county ID, off the grid, and travel through sandpoint often (my ER nursing contracts are in WA).
        My contact is simple: GuerillaRN@gmail.com.
        I would definitely be interested in talking further.

  4. We live in a time that makes us question loyalty and good judgment where do we stand? I say it depends on the situation you are in remember one thing and that is (Terrain Dictates ). Ever changing.

    The first thing I put into a Med kit is a check list of Items that is placed into your med kit.

  5. What sets this site apart from other “prepper” sites is that on some other sites, you’d usually see something like “buy a whole hospital’s worth of medical equipment” or sometimes even “just get some band-aids and you will be fine!”. Here though, they actually talk from experience, and take you through it and tell you to do what you can according to your environment and your level of training. That’s why I like UScrow.

    • Thanks for the compliments. This post should have been published a month ago. David Black knows his stuff and always delivers quality medical advice from a combat medic’s perspective.

      • Well written article,
        North Idaho
        If you live up close to Bonner County ID. we will have medical training later this year.
        We held medical classes the last 2 1/2 months of 2015.
        I have a varied medical background, Prior military, Red Cross Disaster Instructor, CERT TTT, Fire/EMS, LEO, SAR and OATH KEEPERS CPT program
        My classes are free. Monday nights @ 6pm.
        Contact for further info.

        • @ Ranger Rick

          What type of courses are you teaching, and where and when in Bonner County, Idaho.

          I am in the southern ID.

          • I teach a 52 week course using Tess Pennington’s book. You can goggle 52 week Prepper course and find it.
            I just got thru with weapons, lasers, lights and room clearing. We are moving into food ,and fuel storage. I also teach for/at OATH KEEPER’s CPT PROGRAM several EXPO’s and private groups.
            There is no longer a set program, it is what do you want and I put on the class. I teach every Monday night in Priest River @ 6pm. 300 block of North 4th street across from the grade school at River city Church.

            Best Regards, Rick

        • Need to attend your training, live in the Kalispell Montana area. Need knowledge will travel. Ex cop CA. Old but not dead! Good shape.
          11b c-2, 7th inf. soldier light fighter. Active HAM operator AMRRON. Still learning for life. Just attended a TCCC class gunshot, battlefield burns 09-27-16. Currently attending N.I.T,C training. Will be in your A/O 09/30/16 nuff said!

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