Do You Have a Proper First Aid Kit?

If an accident happens to you or another member of your family, do you have the materials that you need to treat a wound? Most people stock the more common first aid items, but having a fully stocked first aid kit is an essential step in ensuring the prompt and timely help that a minor injury needs.

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Where should I have a first aid kit?

Everyone knows that you should have a first aid kit in your home, but people don’t necessarily think to have one in other places that they frequent. For example, you should keep a first aid kit in your vehicle. The kit could come in very handy if you need medical supplies after a fender bender.

You should also check to make sure that the places you visit regularly have a well-stocked first aid kit. This includes your workplace, and schools that your children attend. If possible, you should also carry a small first aid kit with you in a day bag or purse.

What should my kit include?

According to the American Red Cross, your first aid kit should include (at minimum) the following items:

  • A first aid instruction booklet
  • Assorted adhesive bandages
  • Antibiotic ointment and antiseptic wipes
  • Aspirin and other over the counter drugs
  • Roller bandages and gauze pads
  • Absorbent compress dressings
  • A few pairs of non-latex gloves
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • An oral thermometer
  • An instant cold compress
  • A space blanket

Definitely be aware that these are the minimum requirements for a first aid kit. To complete your kit, you should also include a few supplies for emergencies (like a flash light, a battery powered radio, and some spare batteries) your family’s prescriptions, and a list of emergency phone numbers.

If you would like to purchase a kit instead of building your own, there are many options. There are many options on Amazon.com, and you can also buy a kit directly through the Red Cross.

How should I keep my kit up to date?

Your work isn’t over once your first aid kit is assembled. You need to set aside the time to occasionally check that it is up to date and ready for use. We recommend that you check your first aid kit at least twice a year, making sure that you perform the following tasks:

  • Replace any used or expired contents.
  • Update your prescription medications, if applicable.
  • Check batteries of your flashlight and radio, and make sure the spares also work.
  • Ensure that your emergency contact phone numbers are correct, and ensure that it contains numbers for family members, health care providers, and health insurance policies.

You should also have a family meeting to review the contents of your first aid kit and emergency supplies. You may choose to also go over how to treat a couple common first aid topics, like these from WebMD. This is also a great time to review any emergency plan that you have in place.

The most important thing to remember is that with a little bit of effort now, you could help yourself and your family in the future. By making sure that all of your first aid kit supplies are stored together in a central location, you will be much better prepared for any small accidents that may occur in the future. Also remember – don’t hesitate to call 911 or to contact your doctor if a crisis occurs. Getting timely medical attention is critical in emergency situations.

Photo credit: papertygre / Foter / CC BY