Thursday, 16 March 2023

Medicine Prep List

Some people have medicine cabinets in their house. When they have taken a course of medicine for an illness but no longer remember what the medicine was for, it is left abandoned in the cabinet. This short list provides a summary of what some of the most common medicines are for.

In some cases it may be helpful to have some of these available as a backup in case you are at risk of any of the illnesses described in the summaries. In all cases, you should consult a qualified medical professional. None of the content of this page should be considered medical advice. I am not a medical professional, and this information is summarized from the manufacturers and other medical websites.

Most of the medicines mentioned below is medicine that would not be for long term use, that's why it made it to this list. If you have a medical condition that is ongoing, it is best to ensure you have enough medicine to last you until at least the expiration date on the oldest batch, or for one year, whichever is sooner.

  • Ear infection antibiotic ointments: Antibiotic ointments and creams can be used for external ear infections. One example is Neomycin/polymyxin B/bacitracin (Neosporin). Antibiotic ear drops can also be used to treat ear infections in children who have ear tubes due to frequent ear infections or swimmer’s ear. Ciprodex (ciprofloxacin/dexamethasone) and ofloxacin are two examples.
  • Small antibiotic creams: Topical antibiotics can be applied directly to the skin. They work by destroying or inhibiting the growth of susceptible bacteria. Some examples include Bacitracin and Neosporin (also known as “neo-bac-polym” because of its combination of neomycin, bacitracin, and polymyxin B).
  • Anti fungal creams: Antifungal creams are topical medications used to treat fungal skin infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch. They work by attacking the fungi that cause fungal infections and are available over-the-counter or by prescription. Some examples include clotrimazole, miconazole, ketoconazole, and econazole.
  • Iodine: Iodine is an element that is used by the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. Humans cannot produce iodine so it must be consumed through food or supplements. It is added to some foods and also to salt. Iodine deficiency can lead to health problems such as goiter (enlarged thyroid gland) and hypothyroidism (low levels of thyroid hormones)
  • Aspirin: Aspirin is a salicylate that works by reducing substances in the body that cause pain, fever, and inflammation. It is used to treat pain and reduce fever or inflammation. It is sometimes used to treat or prevent heart attacks, strokes, and chest pain (angina).
  • Ibuprofen: Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. It is used to reduce fever and treat pain or inflammation caused by many conditions such as headache, toothache, back pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps or minor injury.
  • Acetaminophen: Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and a fever reducer. It is used to treat mild to moderate pain or to reduce fever. Common conditions treated include headache, muscle aches, arthritis, backache, toothaches sore throat colds flu and fevers.
  • Naproxen: Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. It is used to treat pain or inflammation caused by conditions such as arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, tendinitis, bursitis, gout or menstrual cramps.
  • Diclofenac: Diclofenac is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat pain and inflammatory diseases such as gout. It can be taken by mouth or rectally in a suppository, used by injection or applied to the skin. This medicine works by reducing substances in the body that cause pain and inflammation.
  • Ponstan: For menstrual cramps
  • Paracetamol: Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, is a medication used to treat fever and mild to moderate pain. Common brand names include Tylenol and Panadol. It is commonly included as an ingredient in cold and flu medications and is also used on its own.
  • Codeine: Codeine is an opiate mainly used to treat pain, coughing, and diarrhea. It is also commonly used as a recreational drug. Codeine works by weakly binding to a specific opioid receptor but with much less affinity than morphine which means its analgesic (pain-relieving effects) are much less.
  • Morphine: Morphine is an opioid medication that works by blocking pain signals from travelling along the nerves to the brain. It is used to treat moderate to severe pain. The extended-release form of morphine is for around-the-clock treatment of pain.
  • Oxycodone: Oxycodone is an opioid pain medication sometimes called a narcotic. It is used to treat moderate to severe pain. The extended-release form of oxycodone is for around-the-clock treatment of pain and should not be used on an as-needed basis for pain.
  • Paracetamol: Paracetamol is an analgesic and antipyretic drug that is used to temporarily relieve mild-to-moderate pain and fever. It is commonly included as an ingredient in cold and flu medications and is also used on its own. Paracetamol is exactly the same drug as acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Dexamethasone is a type of corticosteroid hormone that is very effective at reducing inflammation and suppressing the immune system.
  • Voltaren oral tablets are used to treat mild to moderate pain, or signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. 
  • Voltaren ophthalmic eyedrops are used to treat pain, inflammation, and light sensitivity after eye surgery or for certain eye conditions.
  • Azithromycin is an antibiotic used to treat a variety of different infections. It has the distinct advantage of once-daily dosing; however, diarrhea is a common side effect.
  • Normal saline: Used for fluid and electrolyte replenishment for intravenous administration. It can also be used to clean out an intravenous (IV) catheter.
  • Rivanol: Also known as Ethacridine lactate, it is an antiseptic used in solutions of 0.1% for cleaning wounds and mucous membranes. It is effective against mostly Gram-positive bacteria such as Streptococci and Staphylococci
  • Hydrogen peroxide wound treatment: Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a topical antiseptic used for cleaning wounds. It kills bacteria by producing oxidation through local, nascent, free oxygen radicals. It also removes dirt from the wound due to its frothing action.
  • Stomatidin: An antiseptic agent used for disinfection and prevention of bacterial, fungal and yeast infections of the oral and vaginal mucosa.
  • Penicilin: Penicillin is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections caused by susceptible microorganisms. It works by inhibiting the growth of bacteria by interfering with their cell wall synthesis.
  • Gentamicin: Gentamicin is an antibiotic used to treat several types of bacterial infections. This may include bone infections, endocarditis, pelvic inflammatory disease, meningitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and sepsis among others. It is not effective for gonorrhea or chlamydia infections.
  • Lincocin: Lincocin (Lincomycin) is an antibiotic used to treat severe bacterial infections in people who cannot use penicillin antibiotics. It works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth.
  • Antitetanic treatments: Anti-tetanus immunoglobulin (TIG), also known as tetanus antitoxin, is a medication made up of antibodies against the tetanus toxin. It provides immediate but short-term protection from tetanus in those who have a wound that is at high risk and have not been fully vaccinated with tetanus toxoid or have HIV/AIDS
  • Diazepam: is a benzodiazepine that is used to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, muscle spasms and stiffness, or seizures. It works by enhancing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.
  • Metamizole: Also known as dipyrone, it is a painkiller, spasm reliever and fever reducer. It has a potential for blood-related toxicity but causes less kidney, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal toxicity than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) 
  • Metoclopramide: A medication used for stomach and esophageal problems. It is commonly used to treat and prevent nausea and vomiting, to help with emptying of the stomach in people with delayed stomach emptying, and to help with gastroesophageal reflux disease. It increases muscle contractions in the upper digestive tract which speeds up the rate at which the stomach empties into the intestines.
  • Ranitidine: A medication that belongs to a group of drugs called histamine-2 blockers. It works by reducing the amount of acid your stomach produces. It has been used to treat and prevent ulcers in the stomach and intestines.
  • 5% Glucose (IV solution): Also known as Dextrose 5% in water, it is a form of glucose (sugar) that is injected into a vein through an IV to replace lost fluids and provide carbohydrates to the body. It is used to treat low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), insulin shock, or dehydration (fluid loss). It can also be given for nutritional support to patients who are unable to eat because of illness, injury, or other medical condition.
  • Omeprazole: A medication used to treat excess stomach acid in conditions such as non-cancerous stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), active duodenal ulcer, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and erosive esophagitis. It works by blocking gastric acid production and is from the group of medicines called proton pump inhibitor.
  • Aminophylline: A bronchodilator that works by relaxing muscles in your lungs and chest to allow more air in, decreasing the sensitivity of your lungs to allergens and other substances that cause inflammation, and increasing the contractions of your diaphragm to draw more air into the lungs. It is used to treat symptoms of asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.
  • Solu-Medrol: A brand name for methylprednisolone injection, a synthetic glucocorticoid primarily prescribed for its anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects. It is used to treat many different inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, allergic disorders, gland (endocrine) disorders and conditions that affect the skin, eyes, lungs, stomach, nervous system or blood cells.
  • Synopen: Contains chloropyramine which is a strong antihistamine that prevents the effects of histamine, a substance that is created in the body and participates in the development of allergic reactions.
  • Spasmex: An antispasmodic, antimuscarinic agent indicated for the treatment of overactive bladder with symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, urgency and urinary frequency. According to receptor assays, it displays higher affinity towards muscarinic receptors compared to nicotinic receptors at therapeutic concentrations.
  • Adrenaline: Adrenaline (also known as epinephrine) is used to relieve respiratory distress due to bronchospasm and is the primary drug used in the emergency treatment of respiratory conditions when bronchoconstriction has resulted in diminished respiratory function. It is also used to treat severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to insect stings or bites, foods, drugs and other allergens. Adrenaline may also be used during cardiac arrest, croup and asthma when other treatments are not effective.
  • Atropine is a medication used to treat certain types of nerve agent and pesticide poisonings, some types of slow heart rate, and to decrease saliva production during surgery. It can also be used as an antidote for overdose of cholinergic drugs or mushroom poisoning.
  • Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid that prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation. It is used to treat many different inflammatory conditions such as allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis and breathing disorders.
  • Voltaren gel is used topically on the skin to provide temporary relief of joint pain. This pain remedy is recommended for treating pain and tenderness from osteoarthritis in the knees, hands and other joints. Voltaren pain-relieving gel may also be used to help ease aching joints due to rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Lasix (furosemide) is a loop diuretic (water pill) that prevents your body from absorbing too much salt. This allows salt to instead be passed in your urine. Lasix is used to treat fluid retention (edema) in people with congestive heart failure, liver disease or a kidney disorder such as nephrotic syndrome. Lasix may also be used alone or with other medications.
  • Tylex is used to treat many conditions such as headache, muscle aches, arthritis, backache, toothaches, colds and fevers. It relieves pain in mild arthritis but has no effect on the underlying inflammation and swelling of the joint. Tylex can be used in adults and children over 12 years of age for short-term relief of moderate pain that is not relieved by other painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen alone.
  • Voltaren is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that contains diclofenac sodium as its active ingredient. It works by reducing substances in the body that cause pain and inflammation. Voltaren oral tablets are used to treat mild to moderate pain or signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. 
  • Amoxicillin is a penicillin antibiotic that fights bacteria. It is used to treat many different types of infection caused by bacteria, such as tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, and infections of the ear, nose, throat, skin or urinary tract.
  • Ciprofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic that belongs to a class of drugs called quinolone antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria and is used to treat different types of bacterial infections. Ciprofloxacin can also be used to treat people who have been exposed to anthrax or certain types of plague.
  • Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. It is used to reduce fever and treat pain or inflammation caused by many conditions such as headache, toothache, back pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps or minor injury. Ibuprofen can be used in adults and children who are at least 6 months old.
  • Sulfadiazine cream is a topical antibiotic used to prevent and treat skin infections. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.
  • Enterofuryl contains nifuroxazide as an active ingredient. It is an antibiotic indicated in the treatment of susceptible gastrointestinal infections such as acute diarrhea, amoebiasis, amoebic liver abscess, colitis, giardiasis and trichomoniasis.
  • Azithromycin is an antibiotic that fights bacteria. It belongs to a class of medications called macrolide antibiotics. Azithromycin is used to treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria such as respiratory infections, skin infections, ear infections, eye infections and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Multivitamin pills are supplements that contain a combination of vitamins and minerals. They are designed to lower your risk for vitamin deficiencies and bridge any gaps in nutrient intake due to increased needs (such as during pregnancy) or compromised absorption (due to digestive troubles or other medical conditions)
  • Amoxicillin is a penicillin antibiotic that fights bacteria. It is used to treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria such as tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia and infections of the ear, nose, throat, skin or urinary tract. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.
  • Linex Baby is a probiotic supplement intended for oral use only. It contains B. bifidum BB-12, one of the most clinically researched strains of bifidobacteria. Linex Baby can be used as a preventative and supportive treatment in diarrhea, distension and other digestive disorders caused by either a viral or bacterial infection or as a side effect from treatment with antibiotics.

Thursday, 9 March 2023


Learning to communicate with and understand signals during a crisis is important. Even if you are highly prepared with things like HAM Radio, disasters can happen to your preps. Perhaps your radio got wet or you didn't charge it or you forgot to bring it, or the person you are trying to communicate with doesn't have a radio.

You should use your best judgement depending on the crisis to determine how to signal. For instance, in some locations, terrorist groups or drug gangs can quickly take over a city and you might need to communicate in a way that doesn't attract the wrong kind of attention. Or you might be on the roof of a building during a flood where sewage is flowing through the floodwaters.

Signaling is important for relaying simple messages.

Always carry a small tactical flashlight with you. This can be used to temporarily blind someone else if necessary but can also be seen from greater distances than regular lights. To communicate with flashes or morse code, it saves energy to cover the light with your hand repeatedly, as opposed to frequently engaging the power switch.

Signaling with open fires or lights in densely populated areas can get you hurt. This includes the movie version of using curtains to block light in windows and uncover it. This is a great way for gangs or snipers to locate you quickly.

In some instances, in the cities, signaling needs to be discreet and simple, such as leaving an object in an agreed location or configuration could indicate something like the location has already been scouted, or "we are here", or whatever you define it as.

If using light to signal, it is easier for the eye to see movement than anything static. Ensure you move the light if you wish to attract attention.

If you need to make a signal away from your location, set controlled fires to things like trees or bushes that will not spread to something else. This is helpful for aerial signaling to aircraft. Waving your outstretched arms, or clothing has the same effect. You can also lay clothing or blankets out to spell "SOS" or "HELP" on a rooftop for visibility from the air.

To make more smoke on your fire, use green leaves or grass or rubber like old tires.

In many parts of the world, things that are in groups of three are considered a distress signal, in others it's groups of six. For example, three blasts of a horn, whistle or light in quick succession, three fires, piles of rocks in a triangle, etc.

Gun shots or blasts at one-minute intervals are also considered distress signals. Be careful with this as well. In most countries it is illegal to fire into the air. Try firing the gun into an embankment or grass where the bullets won't ricochet or hit anyone.

On radio, "Mayday" or SOS spelled in morse code are other signals.

If you receive a distress signal, try sending confirmation that help is on the way if you can do so safely.

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Situational Awareness

The most important rule in a crisis situation is that you cannot control the crisis itself, but you can control how you act during the crisis.

During what's known as "the fog of war", it's very difficult to understand what is going on around you. This is why preparedness is so important. In our previous article we discussed the things you need to physically have available to survive the first 72 hours of a crisis. In a future article we will discuss why that exact number is an important one.

Foresight of potential disaster can often be lifesaving, even if no one else thinks your opinion on the matter is important or relevant. During the fog of war, you will have the biggest chance of success if you have the most superior information, and you can act on it. Be sure to understand the important features surrounding any areas which are important to your survival (e.g. your current city where you live, the route to your bug out location if you have one and the bug out location itself). 


While having cached Google maps of important areas might be useful, it is better to have paper maps if you can get them (and if they are up to date), or if you can print out the Google maps. During a disaster, even if prepared, you should assume that no technology will work. While you're acting in a hurry to move quickly and get out of town, you might drop and break your phone, or it might be at the end of the day when your battery is already low, or you simply might leave it behind because you are focusing on other more important things.

On those maps, mark out strategic locations. What areas may encounter violence or looting? What areas would give you a defensive advantage in given scenarios (e.g. in Hurricane Katrina, people were moved to higher ground, but the areas where they were moved to became overwhelmed and didn't have enough capacity to freeze food for long enough, provide clean drinking water and deal with the amount of sewage that such a large number of people generated during a disaster). Don't depend on government facilities or help, find your own safe place. Mark multiple paths out of the city and which ones might be more likely overwhelmed than others.

Even if you lived in the same location all your life, it is still important to go for walks or drives to understand what new features and structures your city might have as it gets built up over time.

Things to mark on the map



  1. Clinics
  2. Medical workers
  3. Pharmacies
  4. Hospitals


  1. Supermarkets
  2. Convenience stores
  3. Farms
  4. Malls
  5. Restaurants
  6. Food banks
  7. Processing Plants


  1. Municipal facilities (processing plants, storage tanks, etc)
  2. Wells
  3. Springs
  4. River sources
  5. Domestic tanks
  6. Swimming Pools (useful for things like flushing toilets or washing, not for drinking)
  7. Lakes


  1. Persons list with specific skills (more on that below)
  2. Persons list with people who have stockpiles.
  3. Organizations with valuable resources


  1. Hardware stores
  2. Armories
  3. Gas stations
  4. Military installations
  5. Police installations
  6. Parks and forests that can be useful for foraging food or fuel.

Hot Spots


  1. Gang hangout areas
  2. Bad neighborhoods or units
  3. Problematic people or locations


  1. Vantage points, lookouts or scouting positions
  2. Choke points (bridges or tunnels)
  3. Hardened structures like jails, banks or high security areas
  4. Subway stations, underground tunnels or storm drain entrances
  5. Influential Neighbors
  6. Allies or friends
  7. Meeting Points

Keep these maps in multiple locations, such as your car, so that they are ready to go, and you don't need to remember to bring them. They should just be available. Having the essentials ready to go is much better than a checklist.

Understand what kinds of disasters might have affected your area in the past. Do you get heavy snow? Do you get heavy rain? Are you in a tornado alley? Are you near a forest that might catch fire? Are you in a city that might be overwhelmed with smoke?

Research your local climate history. What temperatures can you expect throughout the days and nights at certain times of the year. Understand when the sun rises and sets and learn about common wind directions and how they change. This will help you understand the optimal moving conditions and even where and when to set up a temporary camp if necessary.


It sounds a bit cynical, but you should also have a profile of people you know and important people in your area, such as community leaders and neighbors. You can try to determine what they might do during a crisis. Document their skills, strengths and weaknesses. You may want to keep your prepping plans to a small number of family members or to yourself, but it is important to know what other skills you might be able to leverage from other members of the community, such as medical knowledge, structural engineering, other survivalists, etc. It's not possible to have the full gamut of skills yourself, so it is important to know, understand and acknowledge your own limitations so that you can leverage those of others and share in your survival.

Learn about the people who influence opinions in your neighborhood. The gossiper, or the person who always has people over for coffee. Cliques often stick together in a crisis. Try to form relationships with them or at least to get to know them better.


Information blackouts in a connected world are somewhat anxiety inducing. It is important to have a communication plan and share it with people you trust. Learn about different ways to communicate out of band to ensure that those who matter to you are safe. Imagine if a crisis happens when your kids are at school, and everyone is scrambling to find a way to get their kids home.

During almost every major disaster - even relatively minor ones such as earthquakes, many people's first reaction is to call their families and friends, which overwhelms communications towers. They can also be overloaded due to power outages and natural disasters. In some locations, governments will also intentionally black out certain communications in order to suppress riots and protests.

Before a crisis, understand who are you responsible for and how do you contact them? How does your lifestyle affect your communications? Where are the people you need to communicate with? How often do you need to communicate with them?

Controlling the narrative is especially important. You need to focus on information that has an impact directly on you and those important to you. Information outside of that might help you to understand the bigger picture before a disaster strikes, but when you are in a crisis it is important to focus on the things that you can control. If there is too much "broad" information that doesn't directly relate to you it can give you false hope or anxiety, both of which will affect your ability to react.

During a crisis, especially on a National or International level, things change. It is important to know what information is really valuable. The rules that applied before the crisis may be irrelevant during it. It may be more important to know if the street two blocks down is safe to navigate through, than whether or not your government is sending help.

Get a HAM radio license so you can do two way communication if cell towers are down, or at least get a HAM radio so that you can listen to important things that might be going on (you should not try to communicate on HAM radio without a license or assigned callsign). If Internet is working, follow local reporters and first responder organizations on social media, but use your own judgement calls as to what you might need to do. For example, during Hurricane Katrina, FEMA underestimated how much resources might be needed to respond to such a disaster, which significantly compounded the problems for those who suffered through it.


Constantly revise your information and update it as new information comes to light. Reassess your situation on a regular basis to include things like your own cash flow, reserves, food, relationships, geography, etc. Always consider the secondary effects of a disaster. The consequences of secondary effects may be direct or indirect. For instance, during hurricane Katrina, a direct effect of flooding might lead to loss of your property, but indirect effects might be civil unrest, violence, looting, no drinking water, no drainage for toilets, no power, no food, no fuel supply, no communications, etc. What resilience do you have built in, is it still the same as it was when you first reviewed it? 

Thursday, 2 March 2023

Personal Disaster preparedness

People often laugh at “Doomsday Preppers” who prepare for a virtual “end of civilization” scenario, and it causes many people to look upon disaster preparedness as unnecessary and foolish, but those same people who mock are usually unprepared when disaster really strikes, and will need extra help, which may not be available if government resources are stretched. 

We can only hope that such a scenario will never happen, but when prepared for such a disaster you can significantly reduce its impact on you and your family.

While complete breakdown is unlikely under normal regimes, Costa Rica has so many microclimates, and its proximity to fault lines and number of Volcanoes makes it more vulnerable to localized disasters than many other locations where such preparedness is less necessary. I am writing this as my first blog post on this new site based on the types of disasters that can happen in my region. You can adapt parts of it for your region.

What happens in a disaster?

Depending on the disaster, there are a few things that can happen:
  • Areas may be evacuated, make sure you can quickly secure your property
  • Supermarkets may be inundated with people buying canned food and water or looting, make sure you have everything you need in advance because there may not be any left at the local store, or it might be closed by the time you get there
  • Roads may be closed, ensure that you have enough resources to survive if you cannot escape (later articles will go into detail on "get home bags")
  • Your residence may be destroyed (e.g. earthquake, flood, fire), ensure you have supplies in a secure area (accessible to you and your family) which are portable in the event of a building loss
  • You may become trapped inside your building in an earthquake in the event of a rapid collapse. Ensure you have a phone or something as close to you as possible (e.g. if sleeping, keep the phone charged on the bedside table, if moving around, keep the phone on your person or in your bag, which should be within arm’s reach). Good daily habits can also help you mitigate the circumstances of a disaster.
  • If the disaster lasts more than a few days, looting can occur, ensure you have sufficient means to defend yourself, your family and your property, and ensure that you have considered all possible means of entry into your home / premises in order to protect them. Also ensure you have considered all means of escape (e.g. if there is a fire in the path of your normal exit during a disaster and no one is available to help, you will need to have an immediate alternate escape route in the opposite direction.)

How to prepare

The most important part of your preparation is analysis. If you live in a mountainous area, you may not be directly affected by floods or landslides, but it could result in roads being blocked further down, and you being unable to gain access to things like medical care.

If you live in a remote or rural area, you may be affected by lack of important facilities nearby such as supermarkets, banks, gas stations, etc. Only you can truly assess and know the risks around your area and which types of disaster you are more vulnerable to, but you need to prepare for the most likely.

What to prepare

The most important thing is to have an emergency pack available for the following:

Medical care

People tend to get injured during disasters (you can get shot by looters, cut by debris, or wounded during a normal course of the day). Ensure you have an appropriate first aid kit containing: 
  • Band Aids in a variety of different sizes and shapes - during an emergency small wounds can turn into nasty infections if not treated properly
  • small, medium and large sterile gauze dressings
  • at least two sterile eye dressings
  • triangular bandages
  • crêpe rolled bandages
  • safety pins
  • disposable sterile gloves
  • tweezers
  • scissors
  • rubbing alcohol
  • alcohol-free cleansing wipes
  • sticky tape
  • thermometer (preferably digital)
  • skin rash cream, such as hydrocortisone or calendula
  • cream or spray to relieve insect bites and stings
  • antiseptic cream / spray
  • painkillers such as acetaminophen (or infant acetaminophen for children), aspirin (not to be given to children under 16), or ibuprofen
  • cough medicine
  • antihistamine tablets
  • distilled water for cleaning wounds
  • eye wash and eye bath
It may also be useful to keep a basic first aid manual or instruction booklet with your first aid kit.
Medicines should be checked regularly to make sure they are within their use-by dates.


  • Ordinarily, your emergency kit should have sufficient drinking water for at least 72 hours during hot weather. Keep this separate to your normal drinking water supply
  • You should also have implements to collect other water, such as rain water during rainy season for things like flushing toilets (if sewers / septic tanks have not been affected) and for boiling / cooking (a water tank is ideal). Note - take note of where you are collecting rainwater from. Rainwater from a roof, for example can become contaminated with things like bird feces or mycelia and wash into your water collection. You should boil collected rainwater before drinking just to be safe.

Food items

Generally, one unnecessary cause of stress during a disaster is having to live off canned tuna or the same repetitive food over and over again. Places like PriceSmart / Cosco sell a variety of canned meats such as sausages, pork, chicken, salmon, tuna, beef, etc. ensure you have enough of a variety of canned meats that you would normally eat so that if you don’t like a particular one that you can change for the next meal.
  • Don’t buy canned food that you wouldn’t normally eat
  • Your pack should plan to provide around 2500 calories per person per day
  • You should consider also having other healthy, high nutrition foods in your pack such as:
    • Nuts can keep you fuller longer.
    • Oatmeal can be made by boiling water on a gas stove.
    • Beans can add a healthy change from other room temperature foods.
    • Dried fruit are high-energy snacks with natural sweetness.
    • Granola is a great source of whole grains to keep you full.
    • Crackers and peanut butter a small amount can provide protein and good fat and help avoid overindulging in sweets.
    • Stove-top popcorn a fun food to cook when kids need a distraction and a healthy snack to eat.
    • Sports drinks - look for lower sugar content.
    • Canned juices - look for 100 percent fruit juice.

Before the emergency

  • Always check the expiration dates on your supplies. Set up a schedule to go through expiration dates every quarter and ensure you have good rotation (shorter expiration at the front, longer expiration at the back). Generally canned food is good for a year or two (and can often be ok past the expiration date if the can is not dented or damaged) but it is better to ensure that you consume and replace any items before their expiration date unless you are doing long-term preps (more on that in future articles). Keep emergency food separate from regular food.
  • Don't forget a manual can opener, or cans with a self-opening mechanism.

During the emergency

Assuming you have some of your regular non-emergency food still left in your pantry;
  • Eat your fresh food first: breads, fruits or vegetables, and food from the refrigerator while it’s still cold.
  • Next, eat your frozen food.
  • Finally, eat your emergency food and any canned foods you have stored.

After the emergency

  • Replenish your food stocks, remembering what you liked most (get more of that) and disliked most (get less of that).

Additional tips for an emergency menu

  • Understand safe temperature zones of perishable food. When the power goes out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. The refrigerator, if unopened, will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will maintain its temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it’s half full) if the door remains closed.
  • Remember to include the special foods that infants/children and your pets will need as well.
  • Condiments - particularly those that are vinegar-based - such as ketchup, mustard, soy sauce and BBQ sauce have long shelf lives.
  • Store boxes of powdered milk or shelf-stable cartons (e.g. UHT milk) for cereal or deserts.
  • Dried fruits, nuts and spices added to other foods can boost flavour.
  • Often a meal is eaten with one unit of meat and two units of vegetables (e.g. meat, beans and rice, or meat corn and potatoes), ensure that you can at least come close to not having to affect your normal food patterns, which could increase your feeling of distress. E.g. by having powdered potatoes, varieties of canned vegetables, rice, precooked beans, etc.

Other considerations

  • If you normally cook on electric cookers, ensure that you have another backup for a power outage, such as a portable gas stove and / or barbeque. If you use a charcoal or wood based barbeque, ensure you have enough fuel on standby in a safe place which will not cause a fire safety risk to your home.
  • A 3500-watt portable generator with extra fuel will also allow you to do things like run your refrigerator for a few hours a day, charge devices / laptops, power your Internet modem etc.
  • A portable car power block will allow you to charge smart phones and such if you have sufficient fuel in your car.
  • A water filter, such as Brita or Berkey should be used to filter things like poisonous metals etc out of water after you have boiled the water and allowed it to cool, this can significantly extend your water supply. Note, Boiling water alone kills bacteria, but it does not remove poisons such as lead and copper.
  • Ensure you have implements for lighting a fire if you run out of gas and need to start collecting and burning wood.
  • Do not eat meat from animals which you have found are already dead (e.g. roadkill). This could worsen your condition and make you physically ill as well.
  • If you run out of running water, it’s going to be worse for you if you also must wash the dishes that you have been eating on. Having a supply of disposable plates, cups, knives, forks and spoons that you don’t have to wash will reduce the amount of water you need, but it will also increase the amount of garbage which attracts vermin, so ensure you can dispose of it carefully.

Medicine Prep List

Some people have medicine cabinets in their house. When they have taken a course of medicine for an illness but no longer remember what the ...