This article is here to help you build your own first aid kit. Now, there are many first aid kits available commercially and usually at a good price.. and most of them are pretty good! So why go through the trouble to build your own?
The reason is that building your own first aid kit forces you to become acquainted with all of the items and their various uses. You could have the best first aid kit in the world, but if you don’t know how to use the parts properly, it’s basically useless to you.
Add onto that the fact that humans aren’t at our logical best in high-stress emergency situations, and you can see the importance of learning to use the parts of your first aid kit properly.
So where do we begin?
First, we need something to store our parts in. A case, box, or pouch will work fine. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just large enough to house our items.
Second, we’ll need a manual on how to use everything. After you put together your kit, you may feel that you already know how everything works, and can skip this step.
I implore to you to consider these 3 facts: 1) people forget things over time. What’s fresh in your mind now may not be in 6 months. 2) Our memories are generally at their worst in high-stress or emergency situations. 3) It may not be you who’s applying the first aid. If it’s YOU who’s hurt, would you not want the person administering the first aid to be as informed as possible?
Again, your manual doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can type it up on your computer, or even write your notes neatly on paper. As long as it’s readable, it’s useful.
ITEMS FOR YOUR FIRST AID KIT
Next, we need to select our items for our kit. This is a list of common items found in first aid kits. It’s up to you what you choose to include, but always remember it’s best to be over-prepared than under-prepared.
- Exam Gloves- Helps prevent infection (both ways) during a first aid situation.
- Surgical Mask- will prevent pieces of gross and sometimes infectious materials from entering your mouth, as well as protect your patient from all your gross mouth stuff.
- Space blanket- maintains body heat while waiting for help to arrive.
- Scissors- cutting bandages, among other uses.
- Tweezers- remove dirt, splinters, tics.
- Lighter- sterilizes needles, tweezers, etc.
- Thermometer- to take a person’s temperature, check for fever.
- Irrigation syringe- to wash out wounds with water or disinfectant.
- A small flashlight/penlight- to inspect wounds, body cavities, or for general first aid admission in dark environments.
- Adhesive bandages (aka Band-Aids)-used on cuts cuts, lacerations.
- Sterile gauze pads- used to absorb blood, rub alcohol, or cushion wounds. The anti-septic quality will help prevent infections.
- Elastic bandages- used for sprains and splints.
- Soap- used with water to disinfect and clean wounds.
- Antiseptic- used to disinfect and clean wounds when soap and water are not available. It can also be used to dress gauze or bandages.
- Alcohol pads- used as an anti-septic.
- Burn dressing- used to treat burns.
- Moleskin- used to treat blisters.
- Adhesive tape- many uses, such as holding gauze in place, covering blisters or wounds and making splints.
- A tourniquet- to stop the flow of blood from an injury, or prevent the spread of venom form a snake or insect bite.
- Asprin- anti-inflammatory.
- Painkillers- for treating pain.
- Anti diarrhea- for comfort and staying hydrated.
- Epipen- only necessary if someone in your family has a sever allergy.
ABC (Airway, Breathing and Circulation)
- Face shield- for CPR administration that avoids mouth-to-mouth contact.
When you are finished, place your items in your first aid kit, and put it somewhere out of the reach of children but accessible in an emergency. Should you need to use it one day, you are now better equipped to do so properly.
Good luck, and stay prepared!