Posted by Amy Alton, ARNP on March 21, 2016
Family first aid kits and supplies are important to have in case of emergencies. Unexpected injuries can happen anytime and disasters will increase the likelihood that someone will be hurt. In the aftermath of disasters tasks that are not a regular part of every day life may result in injuries such as, burns from a fire, cuts and lacerations from chopping wood, and back sprains from lifting heavy objects. These are just a few examples.
Keep a first aid kit handy at all times. Have one in the home and one in each of your cars for routine trips. If you travel a longer distance, be sure to bring extra supplies. Know where the first aid kits are located in your work or school environment. Quick access to a first aid kit is vital.
First aid kits can be tailored to your family size and the ages of the members. A two year old will likely have different injuries than a 70 year old. Include some extra prescription medications for the members who need them. Having a list of contact and emergency phone numbers inside the kit will allow the user to quickly notify others of the injury.
Check the kit and supplies regularly for damage and expiration dates. Liquid medications will expire around the stamped date, but solid pills and capsules may last longer if stored in a cool, dry and dark environment. Don’t keep your supplies or kits in a bathroom or a very hot car for long periods of time. Use the supplies as needed and replace them as soon as possible.
Batteries inside of items like flashlights may go bad, and need a spot check monthly. Corrosion inside will damage your supplies if left for a long period of time. Always have extra batteries with your kits, just in case. Lighting is very important in a nighttime event and will help you see the injury and care for the victim. Consider a good headlamp a vital medical tool.
Here is a list of basic first aid kit supplies. Increase your supplies depending on the number of members and the time you anticipate for the ambulance to arrive:
Instant cold pack
Burn Jel Packets
Mylar or space blanket
Tourniquet (SWAT is a great all-purpose brand)
Celox or other hemostatic gauze or powder
Israeli Emergency bandage 6” size
Cayenne Pepper Powder
For a Family First Aid Kit, get more supplies in greater amounts.
Amy Alton, ARNP