I've covered the smaller field first aid kits that I have in both our vehicles as a part of our BOBs, in a previous post. Those sized pouches, and the stuff I've chosen to include in them, are great choices for lightweight but effective "on the road" medical needs.
For prolonged situations where you and your family are on your own, you'll be thankful if you have a more substantial supply of medical supplies. In a disaster situation, there won't necessarily be someone coming to help you when you need it. What you have at the moment "it" happens, may be all you've got to work with for a long, long time. The purpose of this kit is to help get you through those times, and to act as a source for restocking your smaller field kits. This kit will contain a wider variety of items, and an increased quantity of items, than is practical with kits small enough to carry around. Should it become necessary for you to evacuate, or bug out, this pack could go along with you assuming you were able to leave in a vehicle. The size and weight of the supplies would make it unlikely that you would be able take it along on a long hike.
So... you've decided to stock up on medical supplies. I'm not going to cover in detail what I have in my home base kit right now - opinions will vary as to what is a good idea. To each his own. What I plan to cover here is not what to include in your medical supplies, but instead where are you gonna keep them?
I started out with this:
It's a canvas mechanics tool bag. Extremely sturdy, and pretty roomy. It has side pockets, although they aren't too big. No shoulder straps, but it's not really intended to be trucked too far on foot. Again, this is a "home base" medical pack. The biggest problem with this choice for medic pack?
What a mess.
It holds pretty much everything that I want it to, but I'll be damned if I can find anything when I need it. Impossible to organize and difficult to see exactly what you have, or even find it when you know its in there somewhere. The solution? A dedicated medic pack.
Have you ever looked at Medic Backpacks? Freaking unbelievably expensive. You can find a regular backpack, marked as a "Medic backpack" for $60 or so - but it will be pretty small and be basically just a backpack. No dividers or organizers at all inside. I'd have the same problem that I had with the mechanics bag - only I would have paid 4 times as much money for it. You can find actual Medic Packs online, with great organizers inside, but they can run as much as $300 - even with out any first aid supplies included.
Way out of my price range.
My solution? I decided to make my own. I found this Jeep rolling luggage piece at Walmart - about $40.
It has extreme sturdy, heavy duty wheels, and an extending handle just like regular luggage. So, if I did have to evacuate on foot I'd stand a much better chance of being able to take this large pack with me (as opposed to a pack that I would have to carry). The body of the pack is made like a backpack, though, which allows me to be creative in setting it up as a medic pack. Here's what it looks like inside:
There's a big storage area that zips all the way open. There's also another large storage area that zips open in front:
To turn this into a Medic Pack that will allow me to organize and see what I've got - I found these:
This is a jewelry organizer that I found at the Container Store. This is how they look:
They are double sided, but at this point I'm only using one side. I bought three of them to go inside my Medic Pack. I had to cut the organizers down a bit, so they would fit. There are still plenty of pockets to separate my first aid supplies. Best of all, the pockets are clear so they don't hide my stuff from view. I put one organizer in the back of the pack:
When I attached the organizer, it was heavy and tended to make the lining inside sag down. I fixed this by drilling three small holes near the top, and riveting the lining securely to the body of the pack - so it couldn't pull away. I used simple two part rivets that I have for use in leatherwork. Alternatively, I could have just stiched it in place using heavy thread.
The zippered section on the facing flap I decided to leave pretty much as-is. I'm going to stitch in some velcro loops for securing my stethoscope and a blood pressure cuff. I'll also have some medical/first aid reference books in here.
The outside storage compartment recieved two organizers. I had to cut these down a bit more, but they still hold a lot of gear. I had these temporarily attached with double sided tape in this picture, to test the fit. This is holding ok for now, but I'm going to stitch or rivet them in permanently.
Even though the pack is much more organized now and holds even more medical supplies - there are still times where you don't want to waste even the few minutes it takes to get inside the pack. With a severe injury involving rapid blood loss - every second counts.
That's what the smaller bag on the outside of the pack is for. This is the 6x6 trauma pack that I have on my tac vest. I have it attached for demonstration purposes via molle straps to the webbing on the face of the Medic Pack. I'll be getting another one for the medic pack permanently - except that I'll be attaching it with a large piece of heavy velcro. I want a small pack that stays secure on the larger medic pack - until I rip it off for immediate use in an emergency. I thing this will work well for that. There are "Rip Away EMT Pouches" that are made specifically for this purpose, so I may just go with one of those since there wouldn't be much difference in price.
Here's what's currently inside:
Basically some Quik Clot, lots of absorbent gauze pads, tape, gloves, etc - basically what you'd need to immediately treat someone for serious bleeding. I'll also be including a tourniquet, once I decide which one I'm going with.
Along the same "Immediate Access" line of thought, there are several points on the outside of the Large Medic Pack where I can attach stuff like CPR masks , or other items that you really don't want to have to look around for if you're in a jam.
By far, the best item to include in any Medical or First Aid supply is your own knowledge. Learn what to do BEFORE you're faced with an emergency medical situation. And make sure everyone in your group/family knows what to do as well. If you're the only one with the knowledge to handle medical emergencies - and then you become a medical emergency - it's gonna suck for everyone involved.