We think it’ll never happen to us… until it does. In the blink of an eye, life can change and when we are unprepared for what life throws at us, it makes the moment of the unexpected all the more daunting – we stand shell shocked, not knowing how to proceed because we don’t have the necessary gear or information. Being prepared not only helps us and our loved ones, but we can be there to help others too. This world needs more loving, caring people in it don’t you think? Maybe it’s just me, but if an accident happens, I want to be the one with the kit and the know-how. It’s great to have a basic first aid kit, but when accidents happen, do we know what to do with the contents of the kit?
Should a First Aid Kit contain medication?
Everyone would shout a resounding yes with this one, but should you really buy a kit already supplied with medication?
If you plan on using all of that medication before its expiry date, then go ahead – but it is far better and more practical to buy a kit that has a good foundation of ready supplies and then add your own medication and ointments. We are unique, we all live differently and have different needs – so make sure your kit has a bit of space for customization.
What kind of casing should I look for?
A good kit has a robust casing; Surviveware’s small first aid kit pictured above is made with 600D material. The D stands for Denier which is a unit of yarn thickness; the higher the number, the thicker the material. 600D does not rip easily - it is strong and can withstand rain, snow, mud, and whatever else you want to throw at it. Yes, you can just pop your supplies into a Ziploc bag, but for longevity, a good sturdy bag is preferable.
A soft casing is ideal for two reasons:
- They can be squeezed into backpacks and car trunks without taking up too much space
- They don’t crack or break under pressure.
The BEST kits to have are labeled and compartmentalized. Why?
- You want to be able to find what you need when you need it.
- In high-pressure situations, labels help you to think
- It’s a great way to keep stock of your supply and keep your kit neat and tidy. No one wants to have to upend their kits to look for an item in an intense situation.
So let’s answer this question, what IS in a basic first aid kit?
You only want the most important things right? Sometimes one item can be used for a few different applications, so we need to sift through the fluff to find out what we really need, and throw out what is unnecessary. Many things in your kit have more than one use and when we think of all the potential benefits, we know which items are priorities.
A strong set of shears are invaluable and although you may think you’ll never use them, one day, you’ll wish you had them. Don’t just put kitchen scissors in your kit, Trauma Shears are specially manufactured with the user and the patient in mind. They will cut through thick fabric easily (even seatbelts) and they have blunted tips so that the patient doesn’t undergo additional trauma by getting nicked or spiked.
Butterfly Shape, H-Shape, Large, Standard, Mini and Square Shaped Adhesive bandages are a good foundation. You don’t have to keep the entire pack in your kit, just a few of each should do - you can always replenish supplies later.
Covering wounds with cotton gauze helps to prevent infection. In survival situations this can also be used as a fire starter.
You’ll need a couple of sterile cotton swabs to cover or wipe wounds.
A crepe bandage is ideal for supporting a sprain or a muscle strain. They are also great for securing a dressing in place and applying light pressure to a wound to stem bleeding.
The very versatile triangular bandage is extremely useful. It can be used as an arm sling and a tourniquet – you could even go a few steps further for survival purposes and use it as a mask, a head covering in acute weather conditions, and cordage.
PBT Conforming Bandage
A conforming bandage helps with injured joints. It is highly elastic and allows for movement while offering support to the injured area.
Emergency or Thermal Blankets are really helpful in treating hypothermia or shock. The blanket regulates the body’s temperature and it is also waterproof and windproof, making it a perfect shelter or cocoon if you’re stuck in inclement weather.
You need tape to attach bandages, cover blister hotspots, and chafing. Tape is also good for securing splints.
Laminate Baggies & Personal Mini Bags
You’ll need these for your own personal medicine supply.
Safety pins are great to have in your first aid kit as another way to secure bandages. They are also a temporary solution to clothing repairs and very useful in helping to fashion arm slings out of shirts if there is nothing else available. They’re also a substitute splinter probe and not that I’d want this, but they can be used as a wound closure (when desperate times call for desperate measures).
You have a splinter, it needs probing and removal.
Most people, would much rather keep their wound closure supply replenished than have to resort to using a safety pin out of desperation.
Remove splinters, glass, dirt, ticks, and debris from wounds. Just to keep things interesting - have you thought of the benefits of using your tweezers as added aid in flipping pancakes or holding the nail you’re trying to hammer? Plucking eyebrows is so last season.
If you are lost, you need to be found, and rather than damaging your vocal cords by screaming or shouting, a whistle is preferable. The higher pitch can be heard from further away.
If you’re going to be in contact with ANY body fluids, wear non-latex gloves.
Brush up on your first aid knowledge by watching YouTube video’s on how to administer CPR or take a first aid course near you. It’s helpful having these supplies, but you need to know how to use them.
If you like a bit of convenience and want precisely everything you may need at the click of a button (including the baggies for your meds) here’s a ready-made kit already put together with all of the supplies mentioned above. Done.
Prepare yourself and stay prepared.