Imagine this scenario: You’re on a road trip and are in an accident. Emergency units are available but may not arrive for another 30 minutes. Or imagine this: the most frightening, colossal natural disaster has just hit your area and you and your family are victims. Thankfully, everyone survived but with significant injuries. Cell service is out but it didn’t matter because all emergency units were out helping other people. The number of people injured couldn’t even be estimated. Now, what are you going to do? These are only two out of many reasons why you need a well-stocked first aid kit. Keep smaller ones in your car for all seasons, in a bug-out bag, hiking backpack and one deluxe kit in the house where everything is all in one place.
Put together your own first aid kit or purchase a GOOD one from the store or online. A variety of bags could be used for this, but you might consider a waterproof cooler bag. This will keep items inside cool and dry. A back pack will work, too, as long as it’s big enough for all your supplies. If you are assembling your own kit, The American Red Cross recommends you include the following for a family of four:
• * 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
• * 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes) plastic/fabric
• * 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
• * 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
• 5 antiseptic wipe packets (*container of antibacterial wipes)
• 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each) (*larger bottle of aspirin)
• 1 space blanket (per person)
• 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
• * 1 instant cold compress (4”x5” if available)
• * 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large) / exam quality gloves
• * 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
• 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
• 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
• * 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
• * 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
• Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
• 2 triangular bandages
• Tweezers (stainless steel)
• First aid instruction booklet
The above list is obviously for short-term needs and, as I said before, would be good for a “bug-out” bag, hiking backpack, boating / camping or to keep in the trunk of your car. However, realizing potential catastrophes could be on the horizon, I would suggest that you put together a more extensive kit that would cover possibly weeks, months, and even years. Of course, the amounts of each item and what you include depends on how many people are in your care and what items you deem as necessary.
* I starred the items (above) that should be doubled or tripled for extended use, but be aware of expiration dates. Unless you use something on a frequent basis, it might be better to buy in smaller containers and review the contents periodically.
I would like to add a few other items that you might want to include in your kit:
• A sewing needle threaded through a matchbook cover. Strike the match to sterilize the needle for splinters.
• OTC aids to stop bleeding (ask the Pharmacist to find out what is available.) Did you know ground Turmeric acts as a natural clotting agent?
• Emergency phone numbers, including contact information, list of doctors, pharmacy, and hospitals (slip this paper into your Emergency First Aid Instruction Booklet. Also include any medical history that might be helpful to others.
• Ibuprofen / Acetaminophen / Tylenol etc.
• OTC (Over the counter) medicines, including cortisone creams, rash creams, tooth/gum relief, pain relief gels/creams, etc.
• Specific prescriptions for your special needs
• Antacid tablets or liquid
• Cold and flu medicines or natural supplements
• 2-3 bandanas in a Ziploc bag (to keep clean) for a multiple of uses, such as stop bleeding, filtering water, cover nose and mouth in dust storms, etc.
• N95 facemasks (especially useful when around contaminants, health pandemics, etc.)
• Disposable medical gloves
• Disposable plastic shopping bags, rolled up (for waste or as a protective barrier against body fluids)
• Knuckle / fingertip bandages
• Calamine lotion
• Gas relief
• Allergy relief
• Alcohol cleansing pads
• Burn relief pack
• Stool softener
• Sterile eye pad
• Finger splint
• Cotton tipped applicators
• Arnica for bruising
• Hand and toe warmers
• Moleskin (blister prevention)
• Insect sting relief pads
• Sunscreen / sunburn relief
• Aloe Vera (for burns / sunburns)
• Small flashlight you can hold in your mouth if no one else is around
• Silver (Activz) Solution (liquid and gel – different from others on market – not colloidal)
Better yet, “take a walk” through your medicine cabinet and add other essentials to this list. Suggestion: Keep all OTC medicines (or similar) in a large Ziploc bag inside your kit for easier identification and prevent leakage.
Again, always check expiration dates periodically and when buying items in the store, go through all the available items on the shelf to get one that has the furthest out expiration date. TIP: For an easier visual, write the expiration date on each item with a black permanent marker.
FINAL NOTE: This is one check list you don’t want to ignore. The sooner you put it together, the better prepared you will be for whatever might come. This really could be a matter of life and death! Right now, copy, paste, and print this page out and start compiling your emergency items and check them off your list. Plan to get it done this week! You can do it!