How to Build a Long-Term Emergency First Aid Kit

How to Build a Long-Term Emergency First Aid KitHaving the foresight to prepare for any disaster, accident, injury or danger can spell the difference between an enjoyable time in the outdoors and an unfortunate situation. While there are a number of camping First Aid kits, they are often limited in scope, requiring additional materials to make them truly versatile in all emergency situations. With a little preparation you can have a kit that's portable, fully capable and long-lasting.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • First Aid kit
  • Snake-bite kit
  • Energy bars
  • Water packets
  • Purifiers
  • Poncho
  • Waterproof matches
  • Candles
  • Emergency blankets
  • Work gloves
  • 50-foot cord
  • Multi-use tool
  • Compass
  • Flashlight
  • Whistle
  • Signal mirror
  • Plastic bags
  • Emergency preparedness book
  • Backpack
Step 1
Select a full-featured First Aid kit. Many campers and backpackers, in particular, carry First Aid kits that are no larger than a paperback book. This simply is not large enough to cover the many diverse emergency situations that can arise. Large kits typically will be about the size of a small briefcase or large purse, with around 200 items. Make sure the First Aid kit you buy includes the following items: butterfly closures, tweezers (for removing ticks and splinters), sterile gauze, medical tape, sterile examination gloves, CPR mouth guards, hydrocortisone, alcohol pads, aspirin and adhesive bandages.
Step 2
Add a snake-bite kit to your existing First Aid materials. Snake-bite kits are rarely included with First Aid kits, but may prove invaluable, particularly in areas with high rattlesnake populations. Snake bites are one area of outdoor safety where there is still a great deal of misinformation. Many kits include razors for cutting above the wound in an attempt to bleed out the poison. Avoid any snake-bite kit that includes a razor. Instead, look for a powerful hand pump that can be used to extract some of the poison, such as the Sawyer Extractor snake bite pump.
Step 3
Add food for nutrition. Emergencies, particularly in back country situations, often result in isolation from treatment, sometimes for long periods. Your emergency kit should include several energy bars and emergency water packets. Water packets can be purchased from survival kit providers, such as SurvivorMall, and typically have a shelf-life of 5 years. You also will want to carry purifiers to treat additional water. Portable purifiers are typically iodine tablets or iodine crystal solutions, such as the popular Polar Pure.
Step 4
Add tools to help you fight the elements. Often an injury or other emergency can be made more dangerous by factors such as extreme heat, cold or rain. Your kit should include enough ponchos for your entire party, space blankets for insulation (useful in treating shock) and waterproof matches and candles to enable you to build a fire.
Step 5
Include several general use tools in your emergency kit for rescue situations and protection. These multi-use tools should include a multi-tool, such as a Leatherman or Gerber. Multi-tools will typically include a can opener, a knife blade, pliers and screwdrivers. Two other general use tools worth including are a pair of work gloves and 50 feet of cord or rope. The gloves can provide insulation and armor to your delicate hands under a variety of conditions, while cord can aid in rescues and long-term survival situations, such as in lashing together elements of a shelter.
Step 6
Empower yourself with several items that will help you get out of a dangerous situation. Your kit should include signaling devices to attract outside attention or get out of your situation. These would be a compass, a signaling mirror, a flashlight with a strobe and a whistle.
Step 7
Include a book that will help maximize the usefulness of all the other tools in your emergency kit. Buy an emergency guidebook that serves both as a comprehensive First Aid kit and as a survival guide for longer-term emergencies.
Step 8
Organize all the elements of your kit. Use plastic bags to divide the materials, preferably with each category of tools in its own labeled gallon bag. Put all the elements of your emergency kit into a single backpack, making it easy to keep in the trunk of your car or grab in a dangerous situation. When organizing your backpack, always keep the emergency guidebook and First Aid kit at the top.

Article Written By Louie Doverspike

Based in Seattle, Louie Doverspike has been a professional writer since 2004. His work has appeared in various publications, including "AntiqueWeek" magazine, the "Prague Post" and "Seattle Represent!" Doverspike holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hamilton College.

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