First Aid Kit Considerations

Recently my son and I went primitive camping. The kind of camping where you take everything you need in and take everything you took in out. As we were preparing our packs we went through the usual lists of items to take and deciding if we really needed this or that or could make do with just one. We packed all of the basics you might expect like clothing, shelter, food, water, etc… We also packed a few extras like flashlights, wind up radios, multi-tools, water shoes, swim shorts and gold panning gear.

– Side note, part of the reason that we camped where we did was to get some practice with gold panning. –

When I packed the first aid kit I considered this a necessity item and packed it promptly. Thankfully ended up not needing it but like many of the things I brought I would have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

I performed a cursory check to see what the first aid kit contained and was satisfied with its contents. The first aid kit had the usual bandages, gauze, antibiotic creams and anti-itch slaves, etc… What I should have done was make an inventory list and place it in the kit as well to make it easier to track what I have used and what would need replaced as well as having expiration dates listed in one spot so I could tell what needed replaced. Several components in a first aid kit can expire and while the item itself if not bad, the seal that keeps it sanitary may have broken down and it can no longer be counted on. In an emergency, I am going to use expired gauze and such but the components of a medical kit are usually not too expensive to replace.

Basic Components of a First Aid Kit

According to the American Red Cross there are several items that any first aid kit should contain. The below list is direct from the red cross website.

  1. 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  2. 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  3. 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  4. 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  5. 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  6. 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  7. 1 blanket (space blanket)
  8. 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  9. 1 instant cold compress
  10. 2 pair of non-latex gloves (size: large)
  11. 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  12. Scissors
  13. 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  14. 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  15. 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  16. 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  17. Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  18. 2 triangular bandages
  19. Tweezers
  20. First aid instruction booklet

In addition to the list above you will also want to ensure that you include personal items such as medication that you need, phone numbers of doctors and personal contacts, and a set of spare glasses if you wear glasses.

Optional Components of a first Aid Kit

In addition to the basic components there are several items that should be strongly considered to be included. This list is not exhaustive but contains some things that you may want to include in your kit. Your personal kit should be different and personalized to you needs.

1. A list of any allergies that you have
2. Your basic personal information like Name and birthdate.
3. RATS Tourniquet
4. QuickClot
5. Suture kit
6. Emergency dental filling kit
7. Eyewash
8. Burn Cream
9. Burn Dressing
10. Headlamp and batteries
11. “Write in the Rain” notepad and pencil
12. Sharpe/Permanent Marker
13. Epi Pen – Or similar emergency allergy response device
14. Scalpel
15. Moleskin
16. Sanitizing wipes
17. superglue

     Some of the extras above are things you would find in a Trauma kit. There are many more items that you could include but it depends on the things that you will be doing. The kit described above would not be enough for a search and rescue operation but would maybe be too much for a camping trip if you put all the extras in there. First Aid Kits should be readily available in your home, car, and workplace. The kit you keep in your car may need to be adjusted as some things may not store well in the changing heat/cold conditions of the car.

The most important thing is that you should consider the most likely scenarios you may face and try to prepare for those first and build your first aid kit around the expected hazards. Always keep your first aid kit handy and up to date. Be sure that your medications are current and that you set a schedule for checking the kit and rotating the supplies out.


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