Friday, January 11, 2008

Preparedness Tip - First Aid Kits 1

This topic can get lengthy so we will attempt to start with the overall mental picture first and drill down to where you can decide how much effort you want to put into making sure you have the proper tools for the most likely events or as best you can for those worst case scenarios.

You will need some form of first aid/surgical/trauma type kit in your on/off road vehicle, home, camp, watercraft, hiking/camping pack, plane, workplace (many workplaces are required by law to have an "approved" first aid kit) and as a permanent component of your "bug out" gear bag.

Determining what type of kit and how it is contained are important depending on contents, size, location and environment. This kit may be used by trained people to help YOU so consider that when designing your kit.

Having a well supplied home kit that is portable when you are forced to leave can be a life saver....having to access it for a band aid can be a have a few around handy with some triple antibiotic ointment and wound cleaning pads. Most of your basic supplies can be found in a good drug store but you will need to get more advanced items online or in surgical supply/specialty stores if you have any near you.
Items like hemostatic agents, splints, saline, field surgical kits etc., can be found at Emergency Medical Products ( / Masune First Aid ( / Nitro-Pak or Brigade Quartermaster to name a few.

Most backpacking stores will carry Wilderness First Aid Kits which can be a good start ($30) and expeditious. Remember you have to carry it with you and do have a 3 day spare supply of prescription meds on hikes and camping excursions if you can't live without them!

Economizing by having only one kit for home and on the go is a poor idea as you may fail to have it where you need it - unless you do not leave home/drive/go outdoors etc. Settle on a bag/box that works for your needs and determine how many you can afford....nice thing is that you can start with one and expand from there.

If you participate in sporting events and your club has the typical undernourished "liability correct" first aid kit bolted or taped to a wall - you can and should have your own on hand nearby.

There have been some significant advances in emergency medical equipment and over-the- counter remedies as well. Many doctors are now more apt to prescribe an extra regimen of your regular medicines to have on hand for your emergency bug out kit as well. Have a list and ask now, because getting to the drug store that just blew away in the twister is not the best plan.

Some quick tips....
  • the person using the kit may not be you - you may be the injured person
  • you need to know and be familiar with the contents of any kit and how/when to use them
  • first aid/CPR-AED/advanced training is highly recommended
  • have more than one kit - minimum one for home and one for on/off road vehicle.
  • contents checklists are useful to avoid being stuck without critical components
  • use or paint kits in orange or bright blue and mark them with Star of Life symbols and marked clearly as "First Aid Kit"
  • some military ammo cans or plastic sporting boxes (orange) are great but may be hard to open one handed if injured or you lack the strength
  • bags specifically designed as first aid kit bags are available but suitable other soft containers can be acquired for less cost from marine and sports stores

To be continued...

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