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Medical Items to Keep on Hand for When SHTF

In today's uncertain world, being prepared for emergencies is not just a luxury—it's a necessity. Whether it's a natural disaster, civil unrest, or another unforeseen event, having the right medical supplies on hand can mean the difference between life and death.

I think being prepared for the uncertainties of life is wise. When I share online my prepping supplies or bits of advice, I am always met with backlash. I love to share prepping information, so I can help anyone prepare their family. People often think preparedness is only for future or wild scenarios. This is not true. Preparedness is for every day.

A few years ago, 2020, was a prime example of having it pay off to be prepared. Food shortages arose and people went crazy in the streets. Imagine driving home after work and your car being mobbed by a bunch of reckless protestors. Truly, each day is a mystery that unfolds, and it is worth it to be prepared for what it has in store.

In this blog, we'll explore the essential medical items to keep on hand for when SHTF (Sh*t Hits The Fan) scenarios, ensuring your family's safety and well-being. Being prepared brings peace and gives you a sense of security. No longer having to be frantic if you find yourself in the middle of a disaster—you have taken the time to prepare!


SHTF scenarios, often used to describe situations where normal systems and services break down, can leave individuals and families vulnerable and in need of immediate assistance. Look how fragile our food system was in 2020. I love to use 2020 as an example because our hindsight should be 2020, so then how do people forget the pandemonium that erupted in the stores during the 2020 food shortages?

Aside from our food system collapsing, if there is a dire emergency like a natural disaster that decimates your home, you need to be prepared. People will be panicking and may not be able to access professional medical services. In serious scenarios, hospitals will not be operating because the people running the hospitals also need to be home surviving with their families.
Because of this, it is essential to be prepared with the necessary medical supplies to address emergencies effectively within your family.

First Aid Essentials

One of the most critical components of any emergency preparedness kit is a well-stocked first aid kit. I would suggest to keep a simple first aid kit in each child’s bookbag. Teach your children that it is not a toy, and it is only to be used during emergency scenarios only. It would be worthwhile to pull the different components out of the first aid kits and go over them with your children, so if they are caught up in a scenario they know how to utilize their basic first aid kit.

Know that you can expand your basic medical supplies beyond a traditional first aid kit. Tourniquets are essential for stopping severe bleeding from wounds, especially in situations where medical help may be delayed. These are extremely handy to keep in bug-out-bags and in the same vicinity as a first aid kit. Again, this would be another item to familiarize yourself and your family with so in a scenario where someone is severely wounded, you know how to properly apply it.

Additionally, stock up on bandages, gauze pads, and adhesive tape for dressing wounds, along with antiseptic wipes and ointments to prevent infection. These items will be valuable to have on hand during SHTF scenarios and could even be used for trading with others. These basic first aid supplies can help address a wide range of injuries and medical emergencies, from minor cuts and scrapes to more serious wounds.

Medications and Treatments

In addition to first aid supplies, it's crucial to have medications and treatments on hand to address common medical issues that may arise during emergencies. So what medications should you keep on hand for emergencies? Keep in mind, if society is in a state of pandemonium, it may not even be safe to leave your home. Even if there is medical help being offered by some agency, staying home may be a safer scenario. That is why different medications can come in handy to stock up on. I remember during 2020, medications were wiped from the shelves, especially cold and flu medicines.

Pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help alleviate discomfort from injuries or illnesses and some first aid kits come with a few already in them. Antibiotics are also essential for treating infections, while anti-diarrheal medication can help manage gastrointestinal issues that may arise from contaminated food or water. Antihistamines can provide relief from allergic reactions or insect bites, which are common in outdoor or emergency situations.

For my emergency preparedness medications, I keep a Contingency Medical bag in my supplies. The best part is you don’t have to go into a doctor’s office to get them! Here is what their site says about it:
“The Ready Pack Plus from Contingency Medical is your ultimate companion for unpredictable situations. Tailored for adventurers, off-grid enthusiasts, and remote workers, this pack provides a comprehensive solution for managing health emergencies. It includes a range of antibiotics to tackle common infections and premium symptom management medicines for quick recovery.

Inspired by emergency doctors’ essentials, it prepares you for scenarios like natural disasters or pandemics, ensuring you’re equipped for any health challenge. With a one-year prescription and access to professional medical advice, The Ready Pack Plus ensures you’re always one step ahead in safeguarding your health, wherever life takes you.”

The medications included in the pack treat: Animal Bites, Cellulitis, Diarrhea, Otitis Media (Ear Infection,) Respiratory Tract Infection, Strep Pharyngitis, Traveler’s Diarrhea, Urinary Tract Infection, and Vomiting.

It comes with a booklet that will go through the medications included, how to use them, and what ailments to use them for. I think these preparedness medication packs are a great idea to have on hand in your emergency supplies or bug-out bags.

Emergency Tools

Having the right tools can make a significant difference in providing effective medical care during emergencies. Preparedness is about being well-rounded, so it would be worth it to sit down and discuss with your family what emergency scenarios you think could happen and how to address them.

This would get everyone thinking about the potentials of different situations and how they would approach them. In a SHTF scenario, emotions may be running high and it is crucial to be able to address each situation with a calm and collected mind. It is also as equally crucial to know how to use the items you have in your prep.

Scissors and tweezers are essential for cutting bandages and removing splinters or debris from wounds. A thermometer allows you to monitor body temperature, which is crucial for detecting fever or hypothermia. If you are able to detect sickness quickly, you will be able to treat it accordingly to prevent it becoming a larger problem within the family.

Again, SHTF, you will have to be proactive and on top of your health. A CPR mask enables you to perform CPR safely, while medical tape is useful for securing dressings and splints. Take time, just as you did with the first aid kits and tourniquets, to walk through these emergency tools and how to use them These emergency tools can help you respond effectively to a wide range of medical emergencies, from respiratory distress to severe injuries.

Hygiene and Sanitation Supplies

Hygiene is something to consider during a SHTF scenario. Ideally, you want to blend in and appear as down and out as everyone else. This includes not showering daily or even every few days. If people notice that you are clean all of the time, they will have suspicions about what kind of provisions you have. Keep that in mind if you live in an urban area.

If you live rural, you may be able to get away with more for sanitation as you will not be directly around people as much, hopefully. If you are concerned about germs and disease, stock up on hand sanitizer for disinfecting hands when soap and water are not available. Soap and water should also be included in your emergency kit for thorough handwashing, along with disposable gloves for protecting yourself when providing first aid. 

Consider the items that were sold out during 2020, and stock up on them if you feel they would be helpful for your family. These hygiene and sanitation supplies can help minimize the risk of illness and infection during emergencies, keeping you and your family healthy and safe.

Specialized Items

Depending on your family's specific needs, you may need to include specialized medical items in your emergency kit. Epi-pens are essential for individuals with severe allergies, as they can provide life-saving treatment in the event of an allergic reaction. You can find epi-pens online at Contingency Medical and you don’t even have to go into a doctor’s office to get one. Glucose tablets or gel can help manage low blood sugar in diabetics, while inhalers for asthma should be included for those with respiratory conditions.

Consider the medical conditions that you family has and try to stock up on medically-required items as much as possible. These specialized items are essential to ensure that everyone in your family receives the care they need if hospitals and medical care are not readily available.

Storage and Organization

Proper storage and organization of medical items are essential for ensuring quick and easy access during emergencies. Keep your emergency kit in a designated location that is easily accessible to all family members, such as a closet or cabinet near the main living area.

It is important to not only be organized with your supplies, but also to be organized in your execution of your preparedness. Go over different scenarios with your family. Practice bugging-out and everyone grabbing their bug-out bags. Practice what to do if a fire erupted inside the house. Practice what to do if society collapses and pandemonium is erupting the streets. Lock your doors with multiple, ram-proof locks, close the blinds, and barricade the windows.

Store items in waterproof containers or bags to protect them from moisture and damage, and keep them organized with labels or dividers for quick retrieval when needed. Regularly check your emergency kit to ensure that items are not expired or damaged, and replace any expired items promptly to maintain readiness.

Training and Education

Finally, it could be beneficial to add to your knowledge by taking courses centered around preparedness and first aid. Consider taking a first aid and CPR training course to learn how to respond to common medical emergencies, such as choking, cardiac arrest, or severe bleeding. Take an advanced first aid class to learn how to do stitches or perform minor life-saving medical procedures. These courses can give you hands-on practice that could be valuable for real-life scenarios.


In conclusion, being prepared for emergencies is essential for ensuring the health and safety of your family when SHTF. Remember, only a few years ago SHTF and chaos erupted in the grocery stores. Chaos in the form of empty shelves, mask-wearing police, and rolling food shortages. Consider some of the first items to leave the shelves besides food: medicine and medical supplies.

From first aid essentials like tourniquets and bandages to medications, treatments, and specialized items, having the right medical supplies on hand can make all the difference in addressing medical needs during crises. Take the time to assemble and maintain an emergency kit tailored to your family's needs, and educate your children, even small children, how to use different tools and what to do during a variety of emergencies. Having a plan is one of the first steps to being prepared. So start today!


How often should I check and update my emergency medical kit?

It's a good idea to check your emergency kit regularly, at least every six months, to ensure that items are not expired or damaged. Replace any expired items and replenish supplies as needed. This is a good idea to do even more regularly if you have curious children who may want to play with the kit contents.

Do I need to include prescription medications in my emergency kit?

Yes, if you or any family members require prescription medications, be sure to include an ample supply in your emergency kit. Rotate stock regularly to ensure medications remain fresh and effective. You can speak with your doctor about stocking up for emergencies.

Can I customize my emergency kit based on my family's specific needs?

Absolutely. Every family is different, so it's essential to tailor your emergency kit to your unique circumstances and medical needs. Consider factors such as age, medical conditions, and any special requirements when assembling your kit.

How should I store my emergency medical kit to ensure items remain accessible and protected?

Store your emergency kit in a cool, dry place that is easily accessible to all family members. If you have young children that don’t understand that the emergency medical kit is not a toy, you can place it up and out of reach in a closet. Waterproof containers or bags can help protect items from moisture and damage, ensuring they remain in good condition when needed.

What should I do if I need to use items from my emergency kit during an emergency?

Remain calm and assess the situation carefully. Know that this is what you have prepared for and you have the skills to be efficient. Use the items in your emergency kit as needed to address medical issues or injuries. It is important to keep a clear head and keep moving. If possible, seek additional medical assistance or contact emergency services for further guidance and support.

How do I stock up on medications? How do I get antibiotics? How do I get an EpiPen?

An easy way to stock up on basic prescribed medications like a variety of antibiotics is through Contingency Medical. You fill out your health information online, a physician prescribes it, a pharmacist reviews it, and one of their packs is sent to you.

Medical Items to Keep on Hand for When SHTF