Putting Together a First Aid Kit
It’s always important to have a well-stocked first aid kit in your home so that you can deal with minor accidents and injuries. If help isn’t close by, your first aid kit can be your best friend. Now, you could just go to the store and purchase a ready-made kit but the fact is, they suck!
No thought goes into putting commercially available kits together, but the good news, is that it’s pretty easy to create your own first aid kit for your home, car, or anywhere else. All it takes is a little planning to get it right so we have put this guide together to help you out.
Believe it or not, you can’t just go put and purchase any old bag for your first aid kit, you could, but it probably wouldn’t last long. This bag also needs to be able to protect the medical supplies that you place inside.
Your chosen bag needs to be the right size for your first aid kit with sections allowing you to separate the different parts. It should be a five second job to get a band-aid out but it’s no good if you have to hunt through everything else to find it.
Now, of course, the layout of the supplies doesn’t stop any of them from being useful but it will help if you are in a hurry. In my personal opinion, you should choose a bag with internal pouches and pockets and segregate your gear by type – for instance, bandages will go in one pocket, gels and ointments in another, and miscellaneous in yet another separate compartment.
Finally, I want to just also mention that you need to think about what the bag is actually made out of. At the very least, the bag should be water-resistant. Your equipment is probably not going to be of much use if it is soaking wet when you need it. You also need the materials to be fairly tough, possibly with a bit of puncture and tear-resistance.
Nylon, especially high-denier, is generally both water-resistant and won’t rip or tear easily. Thankfully, there are plenty of worthwhile packs made from highly resistant materials.
As an idea to get you started, we have picked out the following bag that we believe to be an excellent choice for storing your supplies.
Orca Tactical Molle Pouch
The Orca Tactical Molle Pouch has been designed specifically for the purpose of housing first aid gear. It is a close match for the ones used on the battlefield by the U.S. military. It’s easy to strap to a larger pack, yet small enough that it can be stashed under a car seat, and has plenty of organization inside for a decent amount of gear. It’s also water-resistant and has a full clamshell-style opening for complete and quick access.
When putting together a first aid kit, there are certain supplies that every kit MUST have. One of the best resources out there for information regarding first aid and first aid education is the American Red Cross – and the basic items for your first aid kit listed below, are recommended from them. Those basics (as outlined for a family of four) are as follows:
- 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9″)
- 25 adhesive bandages of assorted sizes
- 1 adhesive cloth tape (10yd x 1″)
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approx. 1g)
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets
- 2 packets of aspirin (81mg each)
- 1 space blanket (mylar or similar)
- 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pair of non-latex gloves
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approx. 1g each)
- 1 pair of scissors
- 1 roller bandage (3″ wide)
- 1 roller bandage (4″ wide)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (3″ x 3″)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (4″ x 4″)
- 1 oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
- 2 triangular bandages
- 1 pair of tweezers
Now, it is easy to look at a list like this and think, “well I don’t need that item“, and so you leave it out. That is exactly what you should NOT do. Do yourself and the people you care about a favor and don’t skip a single one of these items. Because if you have it and never need it, it’s always better than needing it and not having it.
You need to also understand that many of these items have expiration dates and will require occasional replacement. An expired emergency product means it has lost its effectiveness and won’t do you any good so check at least once a year to ensure that nothing is about to go bad.
Once you have your basic supplies sorted, it is time to start looking at more specific items that your family needs.
If anybody in the home suffers with serious allergies, then it would probably be a good idea to pack a couple of EpiPens in your kit. At the same time, if somebody only suffers with mild allergies, consider antihistamines for controlling the sneezes.
Think about any special requirements that members of your family have and be sure to cover those bases.
First Aid Training
It is very important that you understand how to use each item from your first aid kit. The last thing you want is to be in a life or death situation and not have a clue what to do. There are places such as The American Red Cross and St John Ambulance that recommend that every first aid kit includes their Emergency First Aid Guide, which outlines a number of emergency procedures from treating a burn to suturing a deep gash.
These booklets are a great addition to your first aid kit but nothing is as effective as some hands on training. You have a few options here and so you should do what you feel more comfortable with.
YouTube has many channels offering first aid and most big names nowadays such as Red Cross and St John Ambulance have their own channels. While these videos are certainly better than nothing, we believe taking an actual first aid crash course is a better option.