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First Aid for Preppers and Homesteaders

It should be noted that there is a vast difference between a first aid kit and a medicine cabinet on the homestead.

A first aid kit is extremely important, but should probably be limited to something portable, easily toted around in the vehicle. For the homestead, it is imperative that a much larger supply of first aid supplies be kept on hand.

As time goes on and the homestead grows, there should also be a concerted effort to move away from store-bought remedies and move into a more natural or homeopathic means to treat common illnesses, diseases and even for the treatment of wounds and certain injuries.

Nevertheless, in the early stages of homestead construction, it may be necessary to build up a fully stocked medicine cabinet with store bought remedies.

As such, this list may not be complete, but it should give anyone a better idea of the basic supplies needed for a first aid kit on the homestead.

Soft and Absorbent

  • Q-Tips or other Cotton Swabs

  • Cotton Balls

  • Sponges (generally smaller in size, from around one-inch square to palm sized or three or four inches square)

  • Sterile Gauze Pads (Varied sizes, though rarely needed over three or four inches square)

  • Rolled Gauze (Gauze will last, is fairly inexpensive and difficult to replace off the grid, stock up a good supply)

  • Ace Bandages (At least four or five as they serve many additional purposes as well)

  • Clean Cotton Patches (Both loose and tight weave fabric, cut into patches or in a large sheet, clean, even if not sterile)

  • Blankets and Sheets (Clean, used to lay the victim down or to keep them warm if Shock sets in)

Cleaning up your Act

  • Raw Honey (This should be strained honey direct from the hive, not store bought, purified or otherwise processed honey or it will not always work; honey also serves as an excellent healing agent on open wounds)

  • Antiseptic Ointment

  • Antifungal Ointment

  • Analgesic Lotion or Ointment

  • Iodine

  • Garlic (Can be used to clean open wounds, not necessary to keep it in the first aid kit however, but advisable to have on hand and readily accessible)

  • Salt Water (Excellent for soaking wounds and drawing out the poisons; effective for preventing gangrene and other rot that may naturally occur as the outer flesh dies around an open wound; use to prevent infections when the outer edge of the wound begins to turn reddish or otherwise shows signs of becoming infected)

  • Iodine

  • Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Antibiotic Ointment

  • Liquid Hand Soap (For the person working with the wound, not to apply to the wound directly … just so the person working the wound does not introduce any new potential for further infection)

  • Saline Solution (Eye wash, though not all eye washes are saline solutions; the eye wash should also include an ovular cup suitable for covering the eye and allowing the eyeball to remain largely “submerged” in the solution while keeping the eyes in their proper place … or socket)

  • Diluted Betadine Solution

Stuck On Bandages

  • Band-Aids (Assorted sizes and styles, including Butterfly bandages, triangular bandages, traditional, smaller bandages and effectively any other size or shape available)

  • Masking Tape

  • Duct Tape

  • Adhesive Tape

  • Gauze Tape

  • Wound Closure Strips

  • “Second Skin” (Super Glue may also work in an emergency)

Toolkit

  • Small scissors

  • Bandage Scissors

  • Large Scissors

  • Straight razor or scalpel (Two)

  • Clamps (chainsaw and lawnmower accidents have been known to sever arteries; keep a selection of different size medical clamps in the homestead first aid kit)

  • Tweezers (at least two pairs; varied sizes from small to large)

  • Curved Suture Needles (Varied shapes and Sizes)

  • Monofilament or Catgut for Sutures (fine thread)

  • Tourniquets (both cloth and rubber)

  • Various Splints (for fingers, toes, arms and legs)

  • Flashlight (“High” or “Intense” focused beam for looking into wounds for foreign materials)

  • Magnification Lenses (Preferably hands free or on a headband allowing the person to see more clearly inside of a wound)

Homestead Medicine Cabinet

  • Ibuprofen (Advil*)

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol*)

  • Aspirin

      • (*All three of these products may potentially trigger allergies or cause other problems; all three should be available but used sparingly and in accordance with the experience and medical recommendations given by medical professionals in the case of each individual; when it is possible, homeopathic solutions may or may not be more viable and healthful options)

  • Orajel or other Toothache Medication such as Clove Oil

  • Stool Softener (Living on an all meat diet does have certain consequences)

  • Anti Diarrhea Medication

  • Laxative

  • Eye Drops

  • Calamine Lotion

  • Ear Ache Medication

  • Anti-Nausea Medication

  • Rubbing Alcohol

  • Drinking Alcohol (consuming potable Alcohol (Do not drink rubbing alcohol) will thin out the blood but also lowers the resistance and the immune systems of the recipient; may also be used to sterilize wounds and as a painkiller or even as a substitute for mouthwash … though as always, moderation is a good thing)

  • Antacids

  • Cough Medicine (Can be easily home made)

Homestead Medical Library

First Aid for Preppers and HomesteadersFirst Aid books are rather like the many “self-help” books on the market. Virtually all of them will tell you almost the exact same things, but in different ways. Any time a first aid book is encountered for a reasonable price, it should be purchased and added to the collection.

There are jewels out there that will also reveal many less common but equally effective treatments and cures. Do not just buy them and toss them on the shelf though. These books should be read over and over again to the point that they are all but memorized by the homesteader.

As a young man growing up, the author lived in a very small town deep in the Appalachian Mountains of West “By God” Virginia. If an ambulance was called in the event of an emergency, on the rare occasion that they were immediately dispatched, it would take a minimum of two hours to arrive on the scene … though most of the time, the EMTs had to be summoned and an additional hour or two was common, and sometimes they were just not dispatched at all.

When at last the patient did arrive at the emergency room during off hours, it was necessary to ring the door bell and wait for the doctor if he was in the hospital. Even in the larger urban population centers of “civilized society”, when seconds count, the paramedics are still minutes (or more) away.

There are numerous accidents that can occur on a homestead that are potentially devastating, including mishaps with an axe, hatchet, chainsaw, lawn mower or other instances wherein the ability to immediately commence first aid will quite literally be the difference between life and death.

In order to be rendered however, the homesteader must not only know and understand the principles of first aid, but be sufficiently well stocked to be capable of rendering assistance immediately.

This list for stocking the first aid kit for the homestead, should be sufficient to get started, no matter how far off the grid one may live.

Let us know what you think please!