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Why Keep a First Aid Kit When 911 is Just a Ring Away?

A handy first aid kit is one of the best things you’ll ever have in case of minor injuries and medical emergencies. When dealing with medical cases, time is of great importance. The faster you address the problem, the better the result will be, no matter how minor it is.

How to make your first aid kit safe and easy to use?

This is kinda ironic. After all, how can a first aid kit be unsafe to use when its purpose is to save lives?

  • When facing an emergency, some people tend to panic. To avoid improper use of medical supplies and making the situation even worse, make sure that the supplies are properly labeled. Write the indication or action of oral medicines to avoid taking or giving the wrong pill by accident. Take note that not everyone is aware of what certain oral medicines do to the body.
  • Divide the contents of your kit into smaller containers according to their uses so that you can just grab one mini-container without difficulty. Keep the creams and ointments together, as well as the gauze pads and dressings, the elastic bandages, the sharp equipment such as scissors and tweezers, the vital signs equipment, and the emergency medicines.
  • Organize the medicines in a pill container to make them easy to find, prevent mixing them up with other supplies, and to avoid the wrapping from getting torn or damaged, which might reduce the potency of the drug.
  • You should also be aware of the expiration dates of your supplies and oral medicines. Keep the bottles properly sealed to avoid spillage and contamination.
  • Although you probably have them saved in your phone directory already, you should still keep a list of emergency numbers in your first aid kit. You can also include a list of your immediate family members’ phone numbers in your kit.
  • When you are going on a holiday vacation, check the supplies inside your first aid kit to know what might be missing. Your needs in the comfort of your home and car are different from your needs when you’re in an unfamiliar place.
  • Your first aid kit must be stored in a cool and dry place that is inaccessible for young children but accessible enough for adults should it be needed. Keeping separate first aid kits in your car, your bag, and your house is not enough. You should also know when and how to use its contents. Having a first aid manual in your kit is also handy.

What is a good-quality first aid kit?

Your first aid kit can come in various forms like a waterproof bag, a toolbox, or a small first aid cabinet mounted on your wall, as long as your first aid essentials are secured inside. Some first aid bags already come with first aid equipment and supplies when you buy them while some don’t. Regardless, you should know what supplies to include in your kit.

Recommended contents of a first aid kit

Ensure that your kit is well-stocked by filling it with the following medical supplies:

  • Personal protective equipment
    • Disposable face mask
    • Sterile gloves
  • Wound care solutions
    • Cleansing wipes that are alcohol-free
    • Distilled water for wound cleaning
    • Tourniquet (to control heavy bleeding)
    • Ice bag or instant cold pack
    • Hot pack
  • Creams and ointments
    • Antiseptic cream
    • Spray or cream for insect bites
    • Cream for rashes and skin irritations
    • Creams to relieve sore muscles
    • Burn ointments
  • Gauze pads and dressings
    • Eyepatch or dressings
    • Sterile gauze pads in different sizes
  • Bandages
    • Adhesive bandage or plaster
    • Rolls of crepe bandages
    • Triangular bandages
    • Band-aids
  • Sharp equipment
    • Tweezers
    • Scissors
    • Safety pins
  • Vital signs equipment
    • Digital thermometer
    • Digital or manual blood pressure apparatus
  • Emergency medicines
    • Painkillers
    • Paracetamol
    • Cough medicines
    • Antihistamine tablets (for allergy)
    • Aspirin (for patients 17 years old and older)
    • Prescribed or maintenance medications
  • Survival/safety supplies
    • Flashlight
    • Whistle
    • Emergency blanket
    • Compass

The American Red Cross recommends the inclusion of mouth-to-mouth breathing devices with one breathing barrier, such as pocket masks and face shields, in your first aid kits so that you’d be ready in case you need to initiate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

So why keep a first aid kit when you can just call 911?

You’ll never know when a medical emergency is going to happen. That’s why it is better to be prepared at all times. An emergency doesn’t choose a time or a place. You might find yourself in a situation where medical access will take a few minutes. Or perhaps the situation is pretty bad that the medical dispatch has to give you instructions on what to do for the patient while the ambulance is on the way.

In case of emergencies, you can be just as involved in the situation as any healthcare provider. Nothing is wrong with being prepared.