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First Aid And You

Updated on April 27, 2013

First Aid Kits

Courtesy of digitalart
Courtesy of digitalart | Source

The Humble, and Often Neglected, First Aid Kit

Every home, car, and workplace should have two pieces of safety equipment--a fire extinguisher, and a first aid kit. Most people have a first aid kit somewhere, but is the kit stocked with everything it should be? Are the medicines current, or outdated? Does everyone in the family know where the kit is, and is there a fist aid book with it?

In most cases, the answers to a lot of these questions would be "no". First aid kits are one of the most important and least cared for pieces of safety equipment in the home or car, and this can be a problem in an emergency. If you haven't checked yours lately, then this might be the time to do so! If you need it, it is a good idea to be able to find it, and know that what you need is in it. A first aid box full of legos or crayons doesn't help if you have a burn, cut, or sprain to deal with :-).

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courtesy of artur84 | Source

What's In A Good First Aid Kit?

If you have a decent backpack, you can build your own very complete first aid kit easily. A well stocked first aid kit should have the following items in it, all in good repair:

  • Thermometer
  • blood pressure cuff
  • various splints and ace bandages and braces
  • several types of different first aid tape
  • scissors and a swiss army knife
  • tweezers
  • a headlamp and a small flashlight
  • disposable vinyl gloves in several sizes
  • rolls or gauze and gauze pads
  • bandages in all sizes, and butterfly strips
  • Benadryl and an epi-pen for allergic reactions
  • aspirin for possible heart attacks or strokes
  • non-aspirin pain relievers in child and adult doses
  • anti-diarrhea and anti-nausea medicines
  • numbing cream (or oragel)
  • anti-biotic ointment and burn cream
  • an emergency tooth repair kit
  • an eye wash kit
  • a good first aid book
  • chemical hot and cold packs
  • a space blanket (for hypothermia)
  • ipecac syrup

This isn't an entirely complete kit, but it will get you through most emergencies that you may run into in an average situation. There are specialized first aid kits for different purposes that you can buy, such as sports first aid kits, marine first aid kits, and full field kits. What this gives you is all the necessary things, in a bag you can carry on a trip, or keep at home.

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First Aid Courses For The Family

Everyone in the family should not only know where the first aid kit is, but how to use what is in it. There are courses available for children and adults in basic first aid, and you should also take CPR courses. Many people tend to freeze in an emergency, and if you have taken a course and have some confidence, this is less likely to happen. You can contact your local red cross or ask your medical professional--they should be able to help you find a good course for your needs.

In the meantime, it doesn't hurt to have a few good books around on first aid, and make sure everyone reads them. Many books also have first aid worksheets and quizzes,so you can learn a few things before you take a class.

Safety First

The best protection is prevention. Your home should be safe, and you should teach your children safe habits from an early age--and practice them yourself. If you have children, make sure your home is child safe, with all poisons secured, fire extinguishers and working smoke detectors, and a fire escape plan. For sports, proper safety gear at all times. Buckle seat belts, wear helmets, and be sure your children understand safety rules are not negotiable.

In the great outdoors on camping trips, everyone should carry a small first aid kit designed for camping, and the buddy system is important. Teach your children campfire safety, and if you have firearms (and even if you don't), take advantage of the Eddie Eagle Firearm Safety course run by the NRA so your children will be safe if they are exposed to a weapon.


All children should be taught to swim as early as possible, as well. Drowning is one of the leading causes of child disability and death, and it is preventable. If you learn to play it safe, you won't need the first aid kit very often.

Playground safety, bike safety, and sports safety are very important as well. If you take your children to a playground, choose one built for safety, and teach them to use the play equipment properly. When it comes to bikes, most police departments offer bicycle safety classes, and children should always wear well fitted helmets (so should their parents!). Better Safe Than Sorry!

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courtesy of naypong | Source

First Aid and Serious Emergencies

With any luck, you will never be a first responder at an accident, or have someone suffer a heart attack or stroke when you are the only person around. But if this happens, there are some steps you should take immediately:

  • Call 911, and put the phone on speaker so your hands are free
  • explain the situation, and remain calm.
  • If there are signs of a heart attack or stroke, then give the person several regular ASPIRIN (it thins blood)
  • Don't move the person any more than you have to.
  • Make sure the airway is open, and see if they can talk to you can make sense.

With any luck, a medical professional will show up before the ambulance does--but the most important thing to do id talk to the 911 operator, and give them as much detail as possible--skin color, breathing, how the person is communicating (if they are), pulse, and any other vital signs you can take. This is when the big first aid kit in your trunk can really be useful.

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The Other Safety Necessity--Fire Extinguishers

Every home and car should have one of these-- I know. I have had to use one on a car (not mine, thank goodness) and also in my kitchen (not my fault). The extinguisher should be where anyone can get it in a hurry, and you need to check the gauge on them every six months or so, and replace them if they go flat or are used. If you have extinguishers, first aid kits, safety gear, and some common sense, you will be far more likely to avoid a real emergency.

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    • profile image
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      Eva 4 years ago from Tucson

      Thanks! Nice to be seeing people :-)

    • profile image
      Author

      Eva 4 years ago from Tucson

      You're welcome--hanks for commenting!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi, this is a great and detailed first aid help. I do have most of the above, but as for the ipicac, I always forget the stuff that can make you sick if you take something poisonous, great list, and really interesting, voted up! nell