Be Prepared: First Aid and Personal Care

It’s week 3 in our Be Prepared like a Normal Person series. This week it’s first aid and hygiene. Ready?

emergency preparedness

We are getting into the tricky part of emergency preparedness – expiry dates. From here on in with our preparing we must adopt the motto of Mad-Eye Moody:

Constant vigilance

We need to keep track of what supplies are expiring, cycle them out and replace them. This is the biggest task of emergency preparedness. But also the most important. Out of date allergy medication isn’t going to help anyone in a tangle of ragweed.


First Aid

There are two ways to go about getting your hands on a first aid kit

  1. Buy a ready made one
  2. Make one
I like the ready made ones, they come in a handy well marked pack and they are usually cheaper than building one yourself. But they are not likely to have the best quality bandages and supplies. It’s a good rule of preparedness to always test out the supplies you are packing. It’s great to get band-aids on sale but not so great if they don’t stick.
Here’s some ideas for your first aid kit, even a ready made one will need some supplementing.
  • Bandages, all sizes and lots of them
  • Adhesive tape
  • Sterile gauze pads, several sizes
  • Disinfectant alcohol wipes
  • Gloves
  • Tweezers
  • Hot and cold packs
  • Surgical masks
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Allergy medication
  • Pain medication
  • Diarrhea medication
  • Warming blanket
  • Second skin
  • Saline solution
  • Any regional specific medications such as: snake bite kits, poison ivy soap
Do keep all your medications in the original packaging with the instructions and expiry dates, none of this jumble into a old pill bottle business.
After expiry dates, the next most important thing with a first aid kit is to carry it with you. It’s no fun to be stuck on vacation 45 minutes from the nearest pharmacy when suddenly your 8 year old develops a raging fever and you are totally unprepared to treat it. For example. That totally didn’t just happen to me last week or anything.
The moral of the story is – be prepared.

If you or a family member needs specialized medications on an ongoing basis, please get to your doctor and figure out the best way to procure and store your medication in an emergency situation.

Personal Care and Hygiene

You might be thinking “It’s a freakin’ emergency who is going to care about teeth brushing?” To that I say “Do not underestimate the restorative properties of clean teeth.” “An example?” You ask. Certainly:

After 36 or so hours of labour when the doctors and my midwives and my husband and I all agreed that my first born was going to be born by Cesarean birth the last thing I did before they wheeled me into the OR was brush my teeth. Because after 2 days of unproductive labour a clean mouth made me feel good. Also who wants to meet their new baby with bad breath.

And tell me this friends – how are we going to accomplish anything in an emergency with chapped lips and no lipbalm to be found? Huh?

We’re not. If you do nothing else in this preparedness series for the love of all that is holy pack extra lipbalm. For me.

Personal Care Necessities

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Sunscreen and sun hat
  • Menstrual supplies
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Lipbalm
  • Hand and body moisturizer
  • Face cloths and hand towels
  • Soap
  • Razor
  • Toilet paper and tissues
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wet wipes
  • Warm gloves and hat



Basic Task

  • Clean out and update your home first aid kit and medications.
  • Organize special medications and travel letters for those who need it.
  • Procure three days worth of personal care products.
  • Create an expiry date chart to keep track of your expiring products. A geeky spreadsheet is allowed but you must also have a paper copy. (We’re going to need this later too.)
Advanced Task
  • Prepare a car first aid kit. Store it in the car.
  • Prepare a travel first aid kit to keep in your purse or back pack. Taylor the kit to your activities.
Overachievers Task
  • Sign up for a local first aid course.
  • Study survival first aid. (Here’s a hint: start at the library)

What supplies could you not live without in an emergency? Any must have supplies in your first aid kit to add?


  1. I have done random smatterings throughout the three levels but really need to tie it all together.

    PS You’d be shocked how many water bottles there are in my car for emergency purposes.

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