The following information on first aid and medical kits is excerpted from the Survival & Austere Medicine manual. It reproduces in part the section on medical kits based on increasing comprehensiveness. Minor changes have been made in order and figure numbering. The manual goes into additional detail about each of the categories of kit contents, and what you want to look for in those products. This high-level overview leans more toward supplying the list of contents for each kit type in a more condensed format. The Survival & Austere Medicine manual is a free resource with much good information. Please consult it for more detail.
Personal bag/blow out kit: Carry this with you at all times. It contains basic first aid gear or in a tactical situation the equipment to deal with injuries from a gunshot wound or explosion (figure 1). This includes things to immediately render aid – it’s almost like a pre-first aid, first aid kit!
A list might include:
Combat dressings/Israeli dressings
A hemostatic gauze compound
Chest seals – Asherman chest seals stick poorly on wet, hairy chests despite being relatively common place. Hyfin or Halo seals or even a rat glue trap works better. Studies have shown no advantage to vented dressing chest dressings vs. not vented.
Long IV cannula or specific pneumothorax decompression needle
Oral and/or nasal airways
Figure 1 Blowout bag: Personal medical equipment for a tactical situation (dressings, HemCon bandages, Chest seals, oral and nasal airways, IV cannula and a tourniquet
First response bag: Carry this in your car; take it with you when you go camping, family trips to the river, etc. It contains more advanced first aid gear and some medical items than a basic level medical kit.
Large kit bag: This is your home/retreat/bugging out medical kit. It contains your medical kit as opposed to simple first aid supplies.
Storage area: In your home/retreat. It contains duplicate and bulk supplies. Large plastic storage bins are ideal for this.
First Aid Kit
A comprehensive basic first aid kit is the building block of any medical preparations. With relatively simple equipment and supplies you can stop bleeding, splint a fracture, and provide basic patient assessment. Figure 2 lists the suggested contents for a basic first aid kit.
Figure 2 Basic First Aid Kit
Basic Medical Kit
The basic medical kit is the next step you take from a basic first aid kit. The example here is designed for someone with a basic medical knowledge and a couple of good books (figure 3). A lot of common problems can be managed with it; minor trauma (cuts and minor fractures), simple infections, and medical problems. Between this and the larger more comprehensive advanced kit there is a wide spectrum depending on knowledge or experience. Most begin with a first aid kit and expand as knowledge and finances allow.
A smaller medical kit for your bug-out bag could be made up from the above by adding some medications (such as acetaminophen, Benadryl, and some Loperimide) and some instruments to a small first aid kit.
Figure 3 Basic Medical Kit
Advanced Medical Kit
This is designed for someone with extensive medical training and would allow one to cope with 90% of common medical problems including some surgery, spinal and regional anesthesia, and general anesthesia with ketamine, treating most common infections and medical problems, and moderate trauma (figure 4). This list may seem extreme, but is designed for a well-trained person in a worst-case scenario. Even though it is a long list, it all packs down. This sort of amount of equipment packs into two medium size nylon multi-compartment bags and a Plano rigid 747 box.
Figure 4 Advanced Medical Kit