Author: Bryan Lynch
Bio: Bryan Lynch grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. He is an expert contributor over at SurvivalCache.com, where he covers all things survival and preparedness.
First aid kits and medical knowledge are some of the most important aspects of preparedness. Everything that we do is built on the foundation of our health.
If we are in poor health or have an injury we cannot properly attend to, then any task we undertake becomes exceedingly difficult, if not impossible.
Take a moment to consider the following: The average response time of an ambulance in the United States is seven to eight minutes in an urban area. In rural areas, that response time can be doubled or longer.
Now, consider two common medical emergencies, not breathing and uncontrolled bleeding.
A major wound that causes uncontrolled blood loss can result in death in less than six minutes. And a person who is unable to breathe on their own can only go four minutes before incurring brain damage and six minutes before death. Of course, these numbers are not absolutes, but again averages.
But based on the average response time of an ambulance, it is likely a person could die from these two common medical issues before help arrives.
Unfortunately, I have heard more stories than I care to remember of individuals dying due to a lack of medical supplies and knowledge.
One common example I have heard time and time again involves vehicle accidents. A car crashes and friends or family watch their loved one bleed out because there are no first aid kits available or the kits do not have the proper supplies and people do not know what to do.
Therefore, it is critical to have a well-stocked first aid kit available and the knowledge to use it so that the above situations can be dealt with.
When it comes to first aid kits there are two questions that I have come across often. “Are there different types of kits, and should the kits in my vehicle/home/pack be different from one another?”
These might seem like odd questions at first but considering there has been a lot of material generated on the different types of bags, i.e. BOB, GHB, I.N.C.H, I can understand why people would wonder this.
I am going to break both of those questions down and provide an answer to each as I understand them.
Different Types of First Aid Kits
To answer the first question, yes there are different types of first aid kits and each of them has slightly different purposes.
Do not let the title of this kit detour you. These are the types of kits that can be picked up for a few bucks at most grocery and retail stores.
They are meant for the average person who does not have much medical knowledge. This kit usually comes with simple items such as band-aids, triple antibiotic cream, gauze, and a variety of over-the-counter medications.
General Purpose Kits
This type of kit is slightly more advanced than the previous and is what I consider a middle ground kit.
They are larger and have more supplies that cover a broader range of ailments without getting into advanced techniques or techniques that may require medical training. Other than the typical bandages and creams, they tend to have CPR materials, splints, tourniquets, ice packs, and others.
A trauma kit can be smaller in size, but it can deal with a major wound, hence the name. That is why they usually have gauze, blot clotting agents, tourniquets, and specialized bandages.
Some kits have more specific purposes, the trauma kit above could fall into this category. But other examples could include kits that have specialized items, like dental kits or surgical kits.
Advanced kits are generally large, expensive, and have a lot of medical supplies that can help out in almost any type of situation. While almost anyone can purchase an advanced kit, they are typically reserved for people who have had medical training and therefore know how to use everything within the kit.
Vehicle, BOB, and Home Kits
From my experience with friends and family, most people have different first aid kits in these locations.
In my observation, home kits tend to be the largest as there is ample storage space available and people spend most of their time there.
Generally, vehicle and backpack kits are smaller. This makes sense with a bugout bag considering that storage space and weight are a concern. But it does not make sense with a vehicle as there is more than enough space for a moderate to large kit and weight is not an issue since the vehicle does all the work of hauling it.
First aid kits being different in size is understandable but not so much where the contents are concerned, and the contents of the kit should reflect an individual’s skill level.
This is why I think a first aid kit should not be smaller than a general-purpose kit.
The Large First Aid Kit and Bonus Mini offered by Surviveware is a good example of a general-purpose kit. It is small enough that it can easily be strapped to a bug-out bag, stowed away in a vehicle, or kept on the shelf at home.
It also has plenty of supplies inside to handle a variety of medical situations. From simple cuts to wrapping up a turned ankle, to providing a mask and the instructions to perform CPR.
The purpose of having medical supplies available is to help yourself when an injury occurs. The aid a person can give oneself diminishes as a kit becomes smaller because fewer supplies are available. In my opinion, this defeats the purpose of being prepared.
At the end of the day, yes first aid kits are different between a vehicle, BOB, and home. They are different brands, sizes, and may have different purposes. Do they have to be different? No.
However, they become different more out of convenience than anything else. Dedicating an entire room in a home to medical supplies can be an option. Packing a vehicle or BOB to the brim with medical supplies, not so much.
A moderately sized, general-purpose kit that covers a lot of bases easily fits in a vehicle and is equally well suited for a bug out bag. Remember, be sure that your first aid kit is adequately supplied so that you do not find yourself in a situation that could be avoided.
Thanks for reading and stay prepared!What type of first aid kits do you like to have around? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know!