On Day 13 of our Let’s Get Prepared! Challenge, we’re continuing our discussion of emergency kits by focusing on First Aid kits.
You can purchase a complete kit, or you can build your own. Let’s talk about what should go into a kit, whether it is a complete one, that you might include in your Go-Bag for evacuation, or a smaller version, that you might keep in your car.
In order to build a strong kit, let’s think about what you’d need if you faced any one of these conditions:
- Pain Management
- Chronic or intermittent medical conditions (asthma, allergies, etc.)
- Sudden onset / Life-threatening conditions
Think of these as things like cuts, punctures, burns, bites, and nose bleeds. The most important things to think about with wounds are to stop the bleeding and to prevent infections. You need items like bandages, gauze, tape, and antibiotic cream. In a pinch, you could use duct tape to close wounds (if you have no other options and need to stop severe bleeding) or do butterfly stitches. *OUR* kit includes additional items like a product to help nose bleeds, since I get those a lot, and blister bandages, since Handy Boy and I both know how miserable we can get when we have blisters.
This can be anything from a common cold or a headache to major gastrointestinal distress. *OUR* kit includes some basics like aspirin, ibuprofen, cold and sinus medication, allergy medication, and anti-diarrheal medication. We leave items that come in bottles in their bottles, and remove blister packs from the boxes and write the dosage directions and expiration date on each package.
Injuries range from simple sprains to serious compound fractures or worse. They are afflictions that need to be addressed either to promote proper healing, reduce pain, or prevent worsening conditions. An ace bandage or gauze that can be wrapped to mobilize joints are a basic start for this. You might consider a finger splint or a wrist, ankle or knee brace if you know you’re prone to injuries of those joints. *OUR* kit also includes some saline to help with washing out eyes in case of an injury or intrusion to the eye.
Remember that many of the above conditions may call for their own approach to pain management. *OUR* kit has the basics, like ibuprofen, anti-itch cream, instant cold compresses and some topical arnica gel for muscles. You should consider your own needs and preferences around pain management and what you’d want on hand.
Chronic or Intermittent Medical Conditions
I listed items like asthma or allergies, but certainly, you know your own body and what your own challenges my be. Some of this requires some intervention approach (having an inhaler or an epinephrine pen) and some require ongoing prevention or medication (like a life-saving medication you take every day to prevent incidents or reduce symptoms. For *OUR* kit, this means both allergy medication and inhalers for Handy Boy’s asthma.
Sudden onset / Life-threatening conditions
This category includes things like heart attacks, stroke, or major catastrophic concerns (like those requiring amputation). *OUR* kit includes an item that we can use for a tourniquet and some baby aspirin. Also, I have been trained in CPR.
Here is what the Red Cross recommends should be in everyone’s kits (this list is for a family of four):
- 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
- 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
- 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets
- 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
- 1 blanket (space blanket)
- 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
- 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
- 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
- 2 triangular bandages
- First aid instruction booklet
What is the MOST IMPORTANT part of a sound First Aid Kit?
Whether you learn how to perform CPR, or learn how best to stop bleeding, or even to tie a tourniquet, knowledge can make all the difference between outcomes, especially when time is of the essence.
Want to see some pictures and details of *OUR* kit?
These two clear, durable, stackable plastic boxes fit inside our Emergency Supply tote. We review this kit in its entirety annually and replace any expired or about-to-expire medication.
First, we have a First Aid box, which contains: bandages, antibiotic cream, wipes, latex gloves, gauze, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and a guide for both First Aid and for CPR.
Then we have a Medicine Box, which includes items for pain relief, allergies, colds and coughs, anti-diarrheal, anti-itch cream, petroleum jelly, saline, protective face masks, a rapid inhaler, more latex gloves, and a non-mercury thermometer with sleeves.
Additional items, like scissors, tweezers, duct tape, etc. are in with our regular Emergency supply kit.
This one is pretty straight-forward! Go make your shopping list and get started building yours! OR, you can just go buy a complete one or starter kit directly from places like The Red Cross.
Join in the conversation over at the Clever Girl Organizing Challenge Facebook Group to learn from and to teach others as we all take on the Let’s Get Prepared! Challenge!
Reminder: Our goal here is to take steps towards improvement. The content in these posts is designed to inspire thinking, not fear.