Thursday, June 21, 2012

Preparing for the Unexpected: Creating a First-Aid Kit

A first-aid kit is an essential part of any home. It provides the supplies to help stop a bad situation from getting worse. It is important to think about what you need on hand in case a dish breaks and someone steps on a sliver, or a pocket knife is closed incorrectly and slices a finger, or a bee stings you. You never know what life could throw your way, and a first aid kit is a good way to be prepared. I talked with Kelly Llewellyn, RN, and EMS Administrative Specialist at Meritus Medical Center, and checked out the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website for emergency preparedness, to figure out what you really need in your first aid kit.

So, what should be in your emergency kit? FEMA recommends these items:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches) 
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes) 
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch) 
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram) 
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets 
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each) 
  • 1 blanket (space blanket) 
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve) 
  • 1 instant cold compress 
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size large) 
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each) 
  • Scissors 
  • 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/nonglass) 
  • 2 triangular bandages 
  • Tweezers 
  • First-aid instruction booklet 

Okay, so that list may seem a little long. But, if you don’t want to hunt down each item, visit check out the American Red Cross store. They have family first-aid kitscar first-aid kits, and even a first-aid kit geared toward your pets!

That covers the basics, but here are some equally important tips from Kelly:
  • Have three first-aid kits—one for your car, one for your home, and a smaller, abbreviated version to carry in your purse, especially if you have small children! 
  • Change around your first aid kits depending on the season—in the summer, you’ll want to be sure to have sunscreen with you, but in the winter, you may want an extra space blanket. 
  • Check the dates on the materials in your first-aid kit regularly. When the time changes and you check your smoke alarm, take a few minutes to check your first aid kit too- throwing out anything that’s out of date and replacing it. 
  • Customize your first-aid kits to fit your family. If you or a loved one needs special medications, have an emergency stash. If someone is diabetic, include glucose tablets. 
  • Put the number of Poison Control in your first aid kit, or, better yet, in your cell phone. You never know what a small child may put in his mouth, so you need to be ready to call and get it checked. 
  • Find a place to store your first aid kit where older children can grab it in an emergency, but younger children won’t easily find it. 
Here’s to hoping that you only have to open your first aid kit to check the dates, but if you do ever need it, I hope these tips have helped.

By: Kayla Murphy

No comments:

Post a Comment