Make a First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit is not just a good up and coming band!  They are essential tools anyone can use. You can buy small, basic first aid kits in any drug store. May of us bought one years ago and have it safely stored…somewhere. What good will it do you gathering dust at the back of a cabinet when you’re bleeding or tending to someone who is injured?

Let’s get down to basics and answer some preliminary questions.

Why do you need a first aid kit?
YOU are a first responder! Many small injuries can be treated easily at home, but to provide proper care, you need the right supplies. If you don’t give much thought to your own injuries, think of it from a hospitality perspective: what happens when a visitor gets hurt and needs to clean and dress an injury?

Where will you use it?
Home, work, in your car, traveling? Each situation calls for its own set of unique supplies. At home, you have access to running water and soap to clean out wounds. If you witness or are involved in a road accident, having a gallon of sterile water and a bottle of hand sanitizer will come in handy.

What are some likely injuries you will need to treat?
At home, falls, home repair, and kitchen injuries are common. If you work in an office, hand injuries are most common, from paper cuts to crush injuries. If you work on a construction site, the range and severity of potential injuries greatly increases. If you’re flying from California to Ohio, you might want to carry more disease prevention items, while backpacking through a rainforest calls for a larger range of supplies. If you take your kids to sports practice, think about having some instant ice packs and a small splint handy. Carefully consider the age and health conditions of those who might need to use the first aid kit. Children and older adults are more prone to injury.

At my last job, it was up to me to purchase several kits for the building, one for the office level, and one for the kitchen.  I considered the above questions, wrote out a list, and then spent some time on, where I found a large selection of kits tailored for various uses.  Read the descriptions carefully!  I also made a supplemental kit made up of the things that we ran through quickly, like bandages and cold packs, as well as some of the bulkier items not included in the standard kits.

Here are some basic items every kit should have:
Adhesive bandages of in wide variety of sizes
Sterile gauze pads of various sizes
Medical tape
Antibiotic cream
Burn spray or cream
Hydrocortizone cream
Insect sting cream
Antiseptic spray
Alcohol wipes
Hand sanitizer
Sterile vinyl gloves (not latex)
Wound pads (thicker gauze compress)
Roller gauze
Instant cold packs
Baby aspirin
First aid scissors
Ace bandage
Eye pads
Triangular sling
First aid guide
Eye wash
Various pain relief pills (be wary of allergies)
Aloe vera gel
CPR 1-way valve face shield, pocket mask, and/or face shield

Trauma Supplies (for some cases):
Moldable “Sam” splint
Materials to form soft splints (pillows, blankets, towels)
Eye shields

Medical Additions (if warranted and prescribed):
Rescue inhaler

Car Additions:
Utility blanket or space blanket (lined with plastic foil for warmth)
Sterile water
Trauma shears
Burn relief pads
(I also carry an emergency lantern, batteries, flares, plastic tarp, shovel, and jumper cables.)

All workplaces are required by OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) to have a visible, fully stocked, and in-date first aid kit. I strongly suggest that you have one at home, in each car, and in any work space (craft area, wood shop, garage, etc.) where accidents are likely to occur. When you’re hurt, you don’t want to have to hunt down the supplies you need.

Remember: Always wash all injuries with clean warm running water and soap if at all possible! The second best option is to pour sterile water over the injury and wash or use antiseptic gel, spray, or wipes. When water is not available or too polluted to use, use sterile gauze or a clean cloth to wipe off the injury, and apply an antiseptic product.

Where do you keep your first aid kit(s)?
What else might you include in your personal kit?


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