Emergency First Aid Supplies
First aid kits come in such a variety of sizes, sometimes with a very different selection of supplies. They can be everything from small pouch types for hiking or full-on paramedic style bags. You need to choose one that is the best for you and your family and the situations in which the kit(s) might be used.
Larger kits would be for people who might live in quite remote areas and may have to depend on themselves for longer periods than people who are less remote. Anyone with medical training is apt to have a larger first aid kit (jump kit) or medical bag. The Grow Network Medicine Bag is a good place to start if you are making your own. It’s a great size for travelling or emergency evacuation.
All first aid kits should be personalized for the people who are going to be using it the most. But it should have the most basic first aid supplies and then customize it from there. If you are more familiar with herbal medicines or homeopathics, then carry those in your bag. If you are more comfortable using OTC (or prescription) medications, then by all means use those. An emergency is no time to be learning about new things. If you require live-saving or sustaining medications, make sure you carry enough with you for at least a couple of days.
Basic Supplies for any First Aid Kit: Disposable gloves, Bandaids in an assortment of sizes, gauze pads - Telfa (non-stick) are best, in an assortment of sizes, tape, field dressings (aka pressure dressing or compress dressing), triangular bandages, moleskin, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, 81mg Aspirin, small scissors (manicure type scissors work well), tweezers, plastic re-sealable bags, small knife, lighter. These items will fit into a utility belt pouch or fanny pack for short walks or foraging trips.
A mid-size First Aid Kit (add to the above items): tension (Ace) bandage(s), crepe bandages, cling bandage (aka VetWrap), blister pads, safety pins, magnifying glass, small flashlight, antiseptic wash or spray, antiseptic cream or salve, pocket (CPR) mask, saline (comes in individual use tubes or a larger container, depending on the size of kit you are making).
Larger First Aid Kits would add in: Abdominal pads (these come in a variety of sizes) for bleeding, extra field dressings, tourniquet, additional triangular bandages, speed straps, butterfly sutures, larger selection of gauze or Telfa pads, roller gauze, eye pad & ring pad, burn dressing, crash scissors, eye cup, SAM splints, immobility device (neck collar), instant hot & cold packs, blanket.
Depending on your personal (and/or family) needs for medication or for those you might encounter, you may want to include: an epipen and/or an antihistamine, anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), glucose, antacids, throat lozenges, anti-diarrheals, anti-nausea meds and any personal medications or prescriptions.
You never know where you might be in an emergency. Many people have multiple first aid kits (in different sizes) that are left in vehicles or at their place of work in addition to an emergency travel kit and home first aid storage.
Include a list of emergency phone numbers in your first aid kit. It could be taped to the inside of your first aid kit or make small laminated cards to carry in your kits. Poison Control, Hospital, Doctor (or other practitioner), Emergency Contacts (you would be surprised at how quickly your memory can fail when in stressful or emergency situations).
Making up small first aid kits for kids is a great way to make them feel more secure, responsible and independent. A small fanny pack can easily be customized depending on age and skills, with specialty-design bandaids (cartoon characters, glow in the dark, etc.), moleskin, gauze pads, wipes, hand sanitizer, cough lozenges, whistle and the following where age appropriate, a small container of an anti-sting cream (Kids After-bite), small container of herbal salve (or Polysporin), sunscreen, small pair of blunt scissors, tweezers, triangular bandage and field dressing.
If you have pets, you may want to have a pet first aid kit.
Keep a first aid manual in your kit. It’s helpful if you are not accustomed to doing first aid on a regular basis or for someone else on scene who may need the prompting of a first aid manual. There are ones designed for all ages and skill levels.
Taking a First Aid course is part of being prepared for an emergency. You can take a basic course and then proceed from there to your comfort level. Doc Jones’ Herbal First Aid course is an excellent choice as is 7Song’s Herbal First Aid course. The Red Cross, St. John’s Ambulance, the Heart & Stroke Foundation and several other providers offer a variety of first aid courses depending on the needs for your individual situation.
Online courses are no substitute for in-person practical courses, however, they are a good introduction to the subjects that will be covered in a regular course.
Kids can learn first aid just as easily and there are courses designed for various age levels. Simple skills can easily be taught at home.
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