Interview with Joe Alton MD, aka Dr. Bones

Hey everyone,

Today I have the honor of interviewing a well-known name in the survival community: Dr. Joe Alton MD, a.k.a. Dr. Bones. One of the most overlooked survival aspects is, without a doubt first aid. It’s harder to learn, and the online sources aren’t that many, not to mention becoming good at it requires A LOT of practice.

Dr Bones is here to tell us a little about that, hopefully he’ll convince you to take that first aid course. Without a doubt, in a disaster, blood will be spilled, so why not take the time to learn basic first aid today?

Here we go!

What got you into prepping?

Around the time I retired, Hurricane Katrina was ravaging the Gulf Coast. I found that, despite many volunteers, flooding prevented access to those who needed medical help. I thought that, if every family had a medically-equipped and educated member, that lives could be saved. I began to write about medical preparedness as “Dr. Bones” sometime after that.

What’s the disaster or emergency you’re most afraid of? What keeps you up at night (if anything)?

Hurricanes are the disaster that affects us on Florida’s East coast, but we’re well prepared to weather the storm. A long-term economic collapse, however, and the loss of the rule of law would be our main concern.

What’s the worst disaster or emergency you have survived?

I served on a DMAT (disaster medical assistance team) early in my career when Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida in 1992. My home has received damage also in 2005 from Hurricane Wilma, and amazingly, way back in 1978 due to a glancing blow from a tornado.

What would you do differently to prepare if you were a newbie and had to start all over again?

I would be more organized in putting together an inventory and do a better job rotating materials in and out, especially food, as time progressed.

What are the top 3 survival skills everyone should know?

How to disinfect water and properly cook food; how to make a reasonable shelter; how to handle injuries and illnesses.

Top 3 pieces of gear most important for survival?

A good knife; A good firestarter; A good medical kit

What’s the one item people are missing in their first aid kit?

Antibiotics. Being able to nip infections in the bud will prevent a lot of avoidable deaths in a true long-term disaster setting.

I was the first physician to write about fish and bird antibiotics and their potential use in survival settings. Look for my book “Alton’s Antibiotics and Infectious Disease: The Layman’s Guide to Available Antibiotics in Austere Setting”, due for release in Late November for unique information on the topic.

Which do you think we should prep for first: everyday emergencies or SHTF-type disasters? Why?

From a medical standpoint, your survival supplies will do double duty for both everyday emergencies and survival medic issues. Get plenty; you can never have enough medical supplies. Learn how to use every item you have in your medical kit.

How do you feel about bugging out to the woods, or to a bug out location? Are you primarily prepping to bug out or to bug in?

As I have the supplies and equipment to operate a field hospital, it would be wisest for me to shelter in place. I have a number of go-bags filled with medical supplies, however, should the need arise to get out of dodge.

What are some of the things you DON’T waste time doing? What are preppers doing that is robbing them of their time and resources?

I don’t spend time worrying with wild theories, and how the government is screwing up our lives. They’ve been doing it for decades, and we’re still here. I do, however, vote and have a current events podcast known as American Survival Radio with Genesis Communications as well as our main prepper podcast, The Survival Medicine Hour, on blogtalkradio.

Is prepping running your life? Should it?

In my old age, I lead a rich and fulfilling life writing about ways that families can become medically prepared. I travel the country speaking on the subject, and find it to be the best way I can use the time I have left to possibly save lives. For the average person, however, I say: live a normal life; the odds are small that you’ll be in the midst of a society-ending disaster anytime in the near future.

How important are medical skills for the average prepper?

Very important. So important, as a matter of fact, that if the community knows you have medical supplies, know-how, and a willingness to help those in need, they will expend resources…to protect you!

What are some of the very first steps a prepper should when it comes to survival medicine?

Disclosure: This post has links to 3rd party websites, so I may get a commission if you buy through those links. Survival Sullivan is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See my full disclosure for more.

I may be biased, but consider a copy of our book “The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way”. It is unique in that it assumes that you, the average citizen, are the end of the line when it comes to your family’s health due to some major disaster.

Even classic books like “Where there is no doctor” tell you to get your patient to a hospital asap. Our book assumes you will never have that option and will always have to deal with injuries and illnesses from beginning to end. In addition, it’s written in plain English that anyone can understand.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist about the future? Why?

I’m an optimist in that I don’t think you’ll be the victim of a major disaster today, tomorrow, or next week. During your entire lifetime, however, or your children’s lifetimes, well, things may be different.

What are some of the Amazon books and courses you’ve written that you’d recommend to the Survival Sullivan community?

Our books:

Coming late next month:

Also, look at our classes page at for our schedule of 8-hour survival medicine classes. They’re hands-on and limited to small numbers so that we can give personal attention to our students.

joe alton md

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