Survival First Aid Kit Checklist You Can’t Live Without

Last Updated: May 17, 2022

It is appalling how few people in the United States (and beyond) have a fully stocked first aid kit or know how to use the items in it!

According to the CDC, 44% of Americans don’t have a first aid kit.

The checklist is divided up by how the items are used.  You may need to adjust the content lists of each category to fit your needs.  However, make sure that you have all core items from each category to prepare for all types of injuries. More detail on the items is provided after the checklist.


Emergency first aid checklist

Get organized fast with our completely free checklist.
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Types of First Aid Supplies

Before giving you the checklist of first aid supplies, I want to make sure you understand the types of first aid supplies you need. This will help you when stocking your first aid kit. It will also help you organize the first aid supplies so they are easy to access based on emergency type.

The main types of first aid supplies you will need are:

  • Trauma first aid supplies
  • Wound care and cleaning first aid supplies
  • Bone and ligament injury first aid supplies
  • Airway and breathing first aid supplies
  • Personal protection first aid supplies
  • Medications

Trauma First Aid Supplies

These are the supplies you use to treat wounds, such as cuts, scrapes, and burns. Items for cleaning wounds are listed in the next section. (With Amazon links.)

Wound Care and Cleaning Supplies

Bone and Ligament Injury First Aid Supplies

If a bone breaks, you will be heading to the emergency room. But you still need to have some first aid supplies to make sure the injury doesn’t move around while in route. Also, stock your first aid kit with supplies for ligament injuries like sprained ankles.

Airway and Breathing First Aid Supplies

Personal Protective First Aid Supplies

Medications, Ointments, and Creams

Other First Aid Supplies

For printable versions of this checklist and 16 others, see our checklist bundle.

For premade kits, see this post on the best first aid kits for survival.

Don’t Forget Emergency Documents and Contacts

In addition to having a well-stocked first aid kit, you also must have specific information readily available for a medical emergency.

You need:

  • Emergency contacts list
  • Contact information for all health care providers
  • Copies of medical records
  • Copies of health insurance documents
  • List of all drugs/medications you are taking

Do NOT store this information on your phone or computer. What if the power goes out? What if your phone breaks? You must have a paper copy as a backup.

In my article about vital survival documents, I discuss which documents you need to have ready for an emergency and where to store them.

Learn How to Use Your First Aid Supplies!

Having these first aid supplies on hand isn’t going to help you if you don’t know how to use them properly.

I highly recommend signing up for a first aid course. And (this is important!) you should re-take the first aid course every few years. Otherwise, you will probably forget how to do basic first aid like CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. By regularly brushing up on your first aid skills, you will feel comfortable when an emergency occurs.

Check out my post – How to take your medical skills to the next level

These are the first aid skills you MUST know how to do:

  • How to stop heavy bleeding
  • How to dress a wound
  • How to treat a fever
  • Heimlich maneuver
  • CPR
  • How to treat shock
  • How to treat dehydration

Please don’t rely on someone else (like the paramedics) to administer first aid during an emergency.

A study performed by USA Today found that many EMS systems (paramedics) don’t arrive on the scene for more than 25 minutes after the 9/11 call. They looked at just cases of cardiac arrest and estimated that more than 1,000 “saveable” lives are lost each year simply because paramedics aren’t able to arrive on time.

If the family members or friends of those having a sudden cardiac arrest knew CPR, then the survival rate would drastically increase. Consider that 88% of cardiac arrests occur at home, but 70% of people “feel helpless” during a cardiac arrest because they don’t know how to perform CPR.

And this is just for CPR. If we calculate the percentage of people who feel ready to administer all types of first aid like trauma treatment, then the numbers dwindle. You don’t want to lose a family member simply because you didn’t prepare!

Sign up for a first aid course now!

You can find a first aid course here through the Red Cross. There also may be many free first aid courses in your local area.

Have you taken a first aid course?  Let us know in the comments or join the discussion on Facebook.

Leave a comment

  1. Great guide, only thing I would say is tourniquets can be VERY dangerous in the untrained hands, and even those trained in their use are very careful (reluctant) to use them as although they are useful for stopping blood flow, they can cause lack of circulation which causes damage to tissues and in extreme cases can induce plasmotoxosis…

  2. I don’t see a suture kit on here. Why? I’m curious because the tourniquet is on the list but an injury requiring stitches is far more likely. Thanks!

    • I thought about that. But, realistically, most people don’t know how to suture and would probably cause more harm than good. If someone was actually trained in suturing, I’d say to bring a kit. Otherwise, butterfly bandages can work as alternatives to sutures in many cases. We’ve got a post on closing wounds with butterfly bandages here – Thanks for your great question!

  3. Thing to remember: Hydrogen Peroxide (like that shown) is fundamentally unstable. Several of the other recommended materials deteriorate with time as well. Just be aware of this and include the expiration dates on your checklist and review it as necessary based on the items in your kit.

    BTW: THANK YOU Ms. Kovic for your and your staff’s efforts on this site. It is after all one of the best.

    • Good pointing that out about the H202. A lot of prepping items are unstable (bleach and hand sanitizer are big ones) and almost impossible to make yourself. I still don’t have a good answer about how mcuh of these people should store because, in normal times, I use almost zero of them and thus rotation doesn’t make sense. Basically of that stuff is going to get thrown out about once a year. :/ However, having a good bug out location means that you probably won’t need items like H202, bleach, etc.


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