Top 10 Creative Emergency First Aid Uses for Duct Tape

Duct tape has been the go-to quick-fix solution for many of us for a long time. From sealing punctures in water hoses to securing a bumper back to a vehicle when we’re not close to an auto repair shop.

A Little Duct Tape History

Duct tape was created during World War II by a woman named Vesta Stoudt, who had two sons serving in the US Navy. She was working in a factory in Illinois packing ammunition boxes, but she saw a flaw in how they were doing it. 

They were using paper tape to seal the boxes and then dipping the boxes in wax to keep them secure and waterproof. Soldiers on the battlefield were struggling to open these ammunition boxes while under fire. 

Vesta Stoudt decided to create a waterproof cloth tape to solve this problem. She sent a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposing her invention, who then forwarded her letter to the War Department, which was then approved for production.

inventor of duct tape

The War Department began to refer to it as “100-mile-per-hour tape” because soldiers could fix all kinds of gear with it. Soldiers were referring to this new tape as “Duck” tape because it was waterproof like a duck’s back.

The rest is history.

Duct Tape is One of the Most Important Staples for a Prepper

Not surprisingly, duct tape is useful for a lot of emergency and not-so-emergency medical treatment situations, too.

Follow along as we give you ten examples of how duct tape can be useful for first aid.Note that none of the content of this blog post (or anywhere in this blog) constitutes medical advice and the ideas and examples below DO NOT replace the need for a medical professional with the proper medical equipment, tools, and supplies. Now on to the ten examples:

1) Help Seal a Bleeding Wound

You can use strips of duct tape to place over and keep a bandage in place. It’s very strong so don’t wrap it too tight because this has the potential to completely cut off blood circulation to that area. This brings us to our next first aid use for duct tape.

2) Use Duct Tape as a Tourniquet

In an emergency situation, duct tape can be used as a reliable tourniquet to completely cut off circulation to any of our limbs that get cut off, or if you have a severe bleed that needs to be stopped. 

3) Taking Care of a Blister

Similar to sealing a wound, we can use duct tape to take care of a blister. Blisters on your feet are pure misery when you don’t have a choice but to walk to stay alive.

Just make sure to use cotton to cover the entire blister, but also make sure that the tape doesn’t touch the affected area at all. Imagine a piece of tape touching your blister and pulling at it with every step and you will understand why. Ouch.

4) Make a Sling

Slings are used to stabilize an injured shoulder or broken arm. The reason this is done is to a) keep the injured area from moving around which could cause more damage and b) reduce pain.

If you’ve ever dislocated or separated your shoulder, you’ll understand what we mean.

You want to make sure the adhesive side doesn’t touch your skin, so it might be a good idea to fold the tape length-wise in half.

5) Create a Soft Cast

In a SHTF situation, bones can eventually break and you need a way to stabilize the affected area and keep the bones in place.

You can use duct tape with other soft materials to make a handy soft cast.

makeshift soft cast

6) Care for a Sprained Ankle

If you’re an active person, chances are you’ve sprained your ankle plenty of times. It’s a painful and overall uncomfortable injury. 

You can use duct tape to wrap a sprained ankle. This helps your ankle maintain stability to reduce movement and alleviate pain. Taping your ankle also helps reduce swelling by keeping the area compressed.

Tip: You want to tape your ankle at a 90-degree angle and make sure that you don’t tape it too tight because it will cut off blood circulation. 

If your toes become numb and lose their natural color, the tape is wrapped too tight. Remove it and try it again.

7) Make a Crutch

It might take a little work to make a crutch, but try to find a long stick with a Y-shaped end. Make sure it’s strong and sturdy. Get some newspaper or cloth material for padding and secure it to the Y-shaped end with duct tape. 

crutch with duct tape

8) Construct an Emergency Field Stretcher

There might be a situation where someone with you gets injured and can’t move, and help is too far away to carry them over your shoulder.

If you have at least two people, you can make a stretcher with two long sticks or branches and use duct tape for the support section in the middle.

duct tape emergency stretcher

9) Signal for Help

You might be in a situation where you or someone that you’re with is just too injured to travel anywhere. If you have fluorescent-colored duct tape, you can create an arrow on the ground that points to your location or make a simple “S.O.S” sign. If you just have gray duct tape try it because any attempt is better than no attempt. 

Make these visuals large enough so that someone flying over you can see the message.

10) Make an Emergency Blanket

This will require a little creativity, but creating an emergency blanket using duct tape can keep you or someone you love from going into shock if they’re injured. 

Consider connecting a couple of trash bags and lining the inside with duct tape. The silver side of the duct tape will reflect your own body heat and insulate this makeshift sleeping bag to keep you warm. 

Duct Tape Can Save Your Life 

As a prepper, you should have plenty of medical supplies as part of your normal disaster prep inventory. 

If you run out of medical supplies or you didn’t prepare at all, a couple of rolls of duct tape just might save your life!

Stay prepared friends!

Share this post

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Get a copy of our latest eBook for HALF OFF!

Prepping Basics eBook