Jump kits (Go bags).
You put 'em by the door for when you have to rock'n'roll.
Discussion at Real Emergency Preparedness and Tips for an Apocalypse.
(Along with what's in your hiking backpack)
(Along with what's in your pockets)
(Along with what's on your back)
All materials are available through sporting goods stores, discount stores, hardware stores, drug stores and/or grocery stores. Pack items inside kits into individual zip-lock Baggies (resealable plastic sandwich bags) to keep them sorted and dry. Some specialized EMT/public safety equipment (e.g. pocket CPR masks, shears, 5x9 abdominal pads, SAM splints, nitrile gloves) are available through Gall's or Moore Medical.
There is no perfect kit.
What you have in your head is the most important survival/first aid equipment of all.
It's better to carry general-purpose items than specialized equipment.
If the medications that you take have a shelf life, always keep the newest medication in your jump kit. As you finish your medication, use the one in your jump kit and replace it with new medication.
Modify the contents of kits for your personal situation. Inventory and repack each kit quarterly. Make seasonal adjustments. Keep weight and size low.
Wool is light, fire-resistant, and maintains its insulating properties when wet.
Jell-O is a brand of pre-packaged instant gelatin dessert. It's the perfect food for hypothermia. Make the liquid, drink it. Choose a flavor that isn't colored red, so that when the patient vomits in the Emergency Department folks won't think he's bleeding internally.
Plumber's candles contain more stearic acid than the regular kind. Very hard; burn a long time. Get 'em at a hardware store.
Rule of thumb: Two sources of light; two sources of fire.
In a survival situation you live as long as your feet do.
In an ambush the killing zone is narrow. Get out of it.
If you don't understand what's going on, back off until you do understand.
You can live to be ninety without a Rambo knife but hypothermia or dehydration will kill you deader'n dirt by this time tomorrow.
A terrorist attack is just a badly-placarded HAZMAT incident.
Half-a-tank of gas is empty. Refuel now.
Every time you refuel, check your coolant level, your oil level, and your tire pressure.
In a survival situation you'll be astounded by how far a car can go with no radiator, no oil, and no tires.
If you have an extensive kit in your car, one part should be detachable and easily portable in case you have to abandon your car.
Nitrile gloves are better than latex gloves because: Tape won't stick to 'em; there's less chance of allergic reactions; punctures produce large rips so you know they're breached; and they have higher resistance to HAZMATs.
Without a traction splint a femur fracture is 80% fatal. With proper traction splinting, it's only 20% fatal. Learn to make a field-expedient traction splint.
Alcohol and disaster don't mix.
Some situations are non-survivable. Think ahead. Stay out of those situations.
Never ignore a warning, even if it doesn't make any sense to you at the time.
Check the batteries in your smoke detector.
Brush your teeth, wear your seatbelt, quit smoking, wash your hands before eating and after using the toilet, and look both ways before crossing the street.
Take a first aid/CPR class. Keep your certification current.
Consider taking up backpacking/hiking/camping as a hobby.
The author of this page is a former military officer and a current Nationally Registered Wilderness EMT-I.
See also: Annotations to and discussion of the First Aid Kit thanks to Victorthecook.