Why Choosing The Right First Aid & Safety Kit Is Important
Let's Start With First Aid and Safety Kits Essentials
People often ask me why choosing the right first aid & safety kit is important. If we think about it, a first aid kit is easily one of the most overlooked parts of our planned (and even unplanned) outdoor activities.
The reason for that simple. Most people (me included) don't PLAN on getting hurt while off on an adventure or weekend trip or whatever. But we do plan our adventures. But, depending upon the adventure, how many people in the party, how remote is the area headed to?
Those are just basic considerations. To carry it a step further, when talking about first aid, the safety of the others in your party and/or your own personal safety? Then the discussion must include what type of kit? Most first aid kits are just basic band aids, alcohol swabs and packets of Neosporin, which is fine for the individual on a nearby hike. Did you know there are specific first aid kits for specific uses?
Types of Kits:
I test a lot of outdoor equipment and I only recommend things tested that meet or exceed manufacturers claims. The same apples to first aid kits themselves. It's time to learn which kit is best for what purpose.
Planning your trip:
Start your planning with where your trip will be heading into.
( 1 ) Will the trip be in a remote area out of cell phone reception? (take a radio or wind up flashlight that has a built in charger for most cell phones)
( 2 ) How long for rescue parties to reach the area? (talk to the local Ranger's or Forest Service staff)
( 3 ) What about infection, poison ivy/oak?
( 4 ) What type of wildlife is in the area of the adventure?
Now that you have established the basics of your trip, you can now plan the type of kit to carry.
At least ONE person in the group (depending upon the group size) should carry a Major Trauma first aid kit. A Major Trauma kit has the necessary supplies to treat injuries such as compound fractures, puncture wounds, etc.
Finally? Each hiker or member of the party should also carry their own basic first aid kit.
No one plans on getting hurt, but First aid and safety kits for all outdoor activities are a must.
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What would you do for a fractured leg or arm for instance?
By now, you should be getting a basic understanding as to what to look for in a first aid kit.
First aid and our personal as well as group safety is an essential part of every outdoor adventure. Plus, there are some things to think about, not normally not associated with a "first aid kit."
Beyond the basics: The "What If" Factor
What if someone in your party has allergies, constipation, heartburn, gets blisters, gets sunburned, gets a small cut and doesn't treat it immediately or maybe some member of the party has a dry throat? A dry throat could threaten your water supply (if it is limited). Small cuts can become infected if left untreated. These same minor cuts can possibly become life threatening if not properly treated and dressed.
Why a Base Camp First Aid kit?
If you are hiking with a small party (8 people or less) and have a base camp? Or if your party is going to be gone for an extended period,?I suggest purchasing the "Base Camp" or "Major Trauma" First Aid kit (as described below) or another kit of similar completeness. That way, if someone fractures a leg, ankle, arm or what have you, you will be prepared to treat that injury. Each member of the party should also carry their own first aid kit. The backup and safety of a base camp first aid kit allows for an extra layer of security when needed.
You can find more information on each kit, by simply clicking a link.
AMK Grizzly First Aid Kit
A Base Camp Kit
When I speak of major trauma kits, this is that kit. It can be carried in a backpack (when hiking, I attach mine to the exterior of my backpack for fast access) and it's a great Base Camp first aid kit as well.
QuickClot can save a life:
A QuikClot dressing. (such as Included in this kit) can be added to ANY kit as well as the trusted SWAT Tourniquet. The kit has the supplies you need to treat everything from sprains, cuts, scrapes, open wounds, burns, fractures, fishhook removal and treatment, and much more. Each section is entirely self contained, to include medical instructions. The Grizzly kit can treat virtually every eventuality.
( 1 ) Your or someone in your party's survival depends completely upon the severity of the injury.
( 2 ) how well that injury is treated, and finally.
( 3 ) how quickly the injured party is transported to professional medical care.
No first aid kit alone can guarantee survival. But what they do guarantee? That you, or your injured party, will have a better chance for survival by having the right First Aid Kit to begin with.
Survival for yourself and your party.....that's the message.
I personally recommend the Sportsman Grizzly Kit as your 'Base Camp' kit, Major Trauma kit or it should be the First Aid Kit the trip leader carries. Broken bones and infections are nothing to fool around with out in the middle of nowhere.
Evaluation: This is the best all around kit for the average to the serious hiker, camper, climber and all around outdoors person. The life you save may be your own.
My motto: First Aid and Safety is:
Plan your trip.
Plan your gear.
Plan your exit.
First Aid and Safety, Emergency and World Traveler First - A secondary choice for base camp
The World Traveler. A Great 'Intermediate' Kit
What's an intermediate First Aid and Safety kit? It is defined as a backup Base Camp/Major Trauma kit or an excellent all around first aid kit.
While this kit is not as complete as the 'Grizzly' kit? It does contains enough supplies to be able to treat up to 8 people, for a period of up to two weeks. Something to keep in mind about these recommendations from the makers of ANY First aid kits?
The duration of time and number of people it can treat, depends upon the severity of the injuries and the number of people being treated.
A back-up Base Camp Kit:
If you understand the above, then you understand why I recommend a Base Camp or Major Trauma style kit for at least one member of the party. Everyone should carry their own individual first aid kit anyway but when traveling with a party of any size? (example: a party of more than eight people) I recommend a second Base Camp kit be carried by another member of the party in case you are separated for any reason. Remember, prescription medicines and other items you should also carry are not included. I'll talk about those things a bit later.
Plan your trip accordingly:
One last thing to remember about this kit is that it includes the ability to treat dehydration as well as all of the other minor infections, spider bites and tick removal, sunburn etc. As with the Grizzly, you will find this kit includes a really complete guide to wilderness medicine and you can even take this kit for traveling outside the U.S. where many of these items are not found.
This is a fairly well rounded first aid kit for the money.
A Great 'Backup' For Your Base Camp Kit
The World Travel Kit makes a great "back-up" kit for your base camp when on an extended trip The reason? You never know when you will need the 'extras' for First Aid that are in this kit.
Evaluation: Although this kit is not as complete as the 'Grizzly' kit, the contents far exceed a standard band aid and alcohol swab first aid kit out there Buy one and have it Shipped FREE right to your door
Carrying a few extras is easy and can be life saving
What do I mean 'extra's?' Don't the First Aid and Safety kits carry enough?
The simple answer is yes and no. But there are "other" items you should consider when making your list of "extras." I like to be prepared for every eventuality, like Ace bandages. I always carry a couple. One wide and one normal width. Great for sprains and strains plus you can wrap your GPS, radio or Flashlight in one.
A few examples:
Tongue depressors? Carry at least a half dozen and a couple rolls of adhesive tape, (one wide and one narrow) for sprained or broken fingers. Also, take along a pair of fingernail/toenail clippers, a small bottle of sunscreen, bug repellant, pepto bismol tablets or bottle and/or a package of Tums, moleskin (for blisters) cough drops and finally, carry an epipen.
Who thinks of an epipen? But, I can tell you, if you are miles from anywhere, and you need one? You have it and could possibly save someone's life.
Now, and most important of all, dehydration tablets, or re-hydration packets! There have been many times I have come across hiker's in a condition of dehydration and have helped that hiker back to health because of them. These two simple items, If you have them, you may save a life. All of the above are inexpensive, and they will not go bad over time from lack of use (as long as they stay sealed) nor does any of it weigh very much. But, and here's the kicker, it could be the difference between being able to treat serious injury or not.
One last thing:
Cough drops. A dry throat can cause a hiker to drink too much water, simply because their body is telling them something is in their throat and it is irritating their throat lining. They can over consume their water. Simple Cough drops can help relieve that and conserve precious water.
Some of these items will be in your first aid kit, so you needn't duplicate.
A Basic First Aid Kit
First Aid and Safety Guide kit Individual use.
Finally, a kit everyone should carry. This kit is similar to the other kits mentioned, just smaller and more compact, Can be easily carried by each member and frankly should be considered a necessity.
Handles common injuries:
It can handle most injuries that can or do occur when you are in the outback. Every adventure into nature is different, but at least you have above and beyond the basics here. If each member of my team carries one, it's enhancing the total group's safety supplies.
Keep in mind, that none of the kits mentioned today, are by any means, comprehensive for every emergency. But when properly used by someone trained, they will suffice and possibly save a life until proper medical care becomes available.
That alone....will play a huge part in all of your first aid and safety needs.
Just remember my original and over-riding philosophy when heading for the great oudoors:
Plan your trip
Plan your gear
Plan your exit.
We sometimes focus too much on the places we head to, or where we are going to spend the night, or what we plan to eat for dinner or a host of other things. Worrying about the weather is always good, but seldom do we plan on getting hurt. When planning our trips, we often overlook the idea of getting hurt. A good First Aid and Safety kit is essential.
To be clear-- certainly no one ever plan to get hurt, but being prepared in case either myself or someone in my party is injured may turn out be a life saver. I do my utmost to plan for a safe trip, but there are those times we run into unexpected circumstances. Take the time my counselor fell asleep and was sunburned?: http://campingmannw.hubpages.com/hub/mountain_climbing-2 It never hurts to carry too much first aid but it's bad when you don't carry enough. To reiterate, always carry a First Aid and safety kit that matches your adventure. Now that, that idea is firmly planted in your head? You now know the importance of proper first aid first aid kits.
Thanks for reading, stay safe and I'll see you on the trail--CampingmanNW
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