Regardless of whether you are preparing for an emergency or to be ready for something that could happen every day, every home should be outfitted with a good first aid kit. In fact, most experts agree that regardless of their intended purpose, you should have ready access to three kits depending on where you are:
Keep a first aid kit in your home as well as in your car.
Have a first aid kit available at work.
Either carry a first aid kit with you or keep one that you have ready access to.
First aid kits come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and types. The one that is best for you and your situation will depend on your circumstances. There are a number of places where you can purchase a good first aid kit, but the best are the ones you create yourself, including items that are specifically designed for your needs, whether that be the activities you often take part in and your specific medical issues.
What Contents Should Be in a First-Aid Kit?
Whether you decide to buy a ready-made first aid kit, make your own, or adapt a ready-made kit, there are a few items that should be standard:
Items such as personal medications as well as emergency phone numbers and any other items that your healthcare provider may suggest
At least two absorbent compress (5 x 9 inches) dressings
At least 25 adhesive bandages of assorted sizes and shapes
One roll of adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
Five antibiotic ointment packets (approx 1 gram or more)
Five antiseptic wipe packets
One small bottle of aspirin (81 mg each)
One space blanket
One lightweight bivy sack
One breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
One cold compress
Two pairs nonlatex gloves (large size)
2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approx 1 gram or more)
One roll three-inch bandage
One roll four-inch bandage
One package 3 x 3 inch gauze pads
One package 4 x 4 inch gauze pads
One oral thermometer
One package triangular bandages
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about any first aid kit is whether it is complete or not, it will do little good unless you know how to use everything in it properly. In fact, without some basic familiarity with the ingredients listed above, you could conceivably do more harm than good in an emergency situation. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to prepare for an emergency by taking a first aid class sponsored by the American Red Cross or similar organization.
Other items that would be good to include in your first aid kit include:
A flashlight with batteries or a rescue hand-crank flashlight. The latter often includes not only a flashlight that needs no batteries, an emergency radio, and a USB plug for recharging your flashlight, cell phone, and other items.
It is also important that not only should your first aid kit be complete, but you should also inventory everything on a regular basis to make sure that there aren’t supplies that you should restock as a result of use or as ingredients expire. There is nothing worse than to need a first aid kit only to discover that the bandages or another ingredient is missing because it was used during a household crisis.
Last But Not Least
Another important item that should be included in your first aid kit is a complete plan for how you and your loved ones will find each other in the event of an emergency. After all, there’s no telling when such an event will take place. This means that when you least expect it, some kind of emergency might take place and you will need to gather where you have agreed to. You should not only have this plan on paper in your emergency kit, but each family member should know where and how they are to meet if an event of this type takes place.
On any given day, at any time during that day, an emergency could find the members of your family anywhere in an area. Perhaps parents are at work while children are at school. What is your plan to gather together in order to be in one place. Don’t plan on traditional means of transportation being available in such a crisis. And don’t plan on telephone communications being available. Plan instead on any and every eventuality, and make sure that everyone understands what they will need to do.