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Emergency Medical Kits: What Are The Most Important Essentials Needed?

Emergency Medical Kits: What Are The Most Important Essentials Needed?

Every Home Needs A First Aid Kit

Any time you find yourself in an emergency, you want to be prepared. A crisis can pop up in life at any moment. Having the supplies handy to deal with whatever comes your way is essential for keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. That means keeping everything you need to administer first aid in your home. 

Taking care of someone who is injured, or treating your own injury, can save a life. Using a well-stocked first aid kit, you can turn the tide in an emergency, protecting yourself and others in the event of an injury.

Emergency Preparedness Isn’t The Norm

Although natural disasters and other forms of crises are common occurrences throughout the United States, many Americans do not have a plan for how they will react if an emergency arises. Without an emergency response plan or the supplies you need, you can quickly find yourself overwhelmed. 

The majority of Americans – over 60 percent – have no plan of action for emergencies. It’s time to change the statistics by stocking up your home with all of the emergency supplies that you need, including a fully-assembled first aid kit. With a first aid kit at the ready in your home, you can treat injuries in your home or take your kit with you in the event of an evacuation.

How First Aid Can Save A Life

The supplies in your first aid kit can make the difference between life and death in a dire situation. In an emergency, you may find yourself cut off from access to medical help. If you can’t get to a hospital or doctor’s office, you’ll need to administer first aid yourself. 

In times when you can’t access medical professionals, it can be a game-changer to have the knowledge and supplies that you need to care for an injured person. A well-stocked first aid kit can provide you with enough tools to keep someone safe and stable until you can get to a hospital.

What Are The First Aid Essentials?

Every first aid kit should be stocked with a few specific items. You’ll need basic, portable supplies that meet needs related to safety, hygiene, and warmth, as well as items for treating injuries like scrapes, cuts, bruises, and burns. 

In addition to the basics, it’s wise to add any medical supplies to your first aid kit that are specific to any conditions that you have or a loved one has. For example, if you or someone in your family has severe allergies, a spare EpiPen is a must-have item to include in your first aid kit. Your first aid supplies can be customized to meet the specific needs of your family.

Keep Your First Aid Kit Stocked With Supplies For Personal Hygiene 

One of the most important aspects of caring for an injured person is keeping your tools, hands, and any nearby surfaces clean. Open wounds are highly vulnerable to bacteria, and dirty hands or unclean medical supplies can cause a wound to get infected. To make sure that you are protecting yourself and your loved ones, you’ll need to stock your first aid kit with plenty of personal hygiene supplies.

An ideal source of germ-killing power to include in your first aid kit is a bottle of hand sanitizer. Highly portable and reliable, hand sanitizer is perfect for keeping your hands clean in circumstances when you don’t have access to clean, fresh water or soap. While soap and water are preferable in situations where they are available, hand sanitizer can be an excellent plan B.

You can use hand sanitizer to protect yourself and others from the spread of germs, but it can also serve other valuable purposes in administering first aid. In a crisis, hand sanitizer can be used in small amounts to disinfect a wound. The alcohol content in hand sanitizer makes it ideal for keeping injuries from getting infected. 

You can also use hand sanitizer to keep yourself clean after using the bathroom in an emergency situation. If you don’t have access to running water, hand sanitizer is the best way to prevent the spread of germs after you do your business.

You can also stash a package of wet wipes in your first aid kit as another method of killing germs. Wet wipes can be used in first aid to clean cuts and scrapes or to disinfect medical supplies. These small, portable wipes can also be used to keep your hands clean or wipe up a mess quickly.

In addition to wet wipes and hand sanitizer, it’s wise to stock your first aid kit with a reliable means of protecting your hands while administering first aid. Medical gloves are ideal for this – they’ll keep your hands clean and protect an injured person from any germs that might be on your hands. Treating an injury with dirty hands is never a good idea – for the sake of your own safety and others, sanitize your hands and wear gloves whenever you perform first aid.

Stock Your Kit With Supplies For Caring For Everyday Injuries

In addition to stocking your first aid kit with supplies that can keep your hands clean and help with disinfecting wounds, you’ll also need the tools to treat everyday injuries like cuts, scrapes, bruises, and burns. Your first aid kit can’t be a portable hospital, but it can be as close to one as possible! 

Bandages are one of the essentials for any first aid kit. A clean, properly applied bandage can help to prevent infection, slow and stop bleeding, and reduce pain over time. Your first aid kit should include multiple types of bandages that are suitable for treating different varieties of injuries. Some of the most common types of bandages to include in your kit are gauze, adhesive bandages, and butterfly bandages.

  • Gauze can be portioned out and cut into small strips, then applied to a wound with medical tape. This type of bandage can help to slow bleeding by keeping pressure on an open wound. Gauze is ideal for serious cuts.
  • Adhesive bandages are smaller, sticky, and perfect for patching up burns, scrapes, and small cuts. These bandages are typically small enough to gently wrap around a cut on one of your fingers. You can pair adhesive bandages with antibiotic ointment for protection from infection while an injury heals.
  • Butterfly bandages can be used to help larger open wounds heal by providing stability and pressure to an affected area. A butterfly bandage can keep a wound closed while it heals by crisscrossing along the cut to keep it from opening and bleeding.

A high-quality pair of medical shears is another must-have item to include in your first aid kit. Shears can be used to cut strips of gauze or to safely take off used bandages. Keep your medical shears clean to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.

You can also stock your first aid kit with antibiotic ointment, non-prescription pain relievers, burn gel, and other small items that can come in handy in a crisis. These items will not weigh you down, and they are definitely worth having handy.

Carry The Supplies That You Need To Stay Safe, Warm, And Dry

It’s always smart to carry your first aid kit alongside a fully-stocked bag of emergency supplies. This bag should hold up to 72 hours worth of provisions, as well as tools, reliable sources of warmth, and protective gear like masks and gloves. If you need to evacuate your house in a hurry and can only bring one bag with you, your emergency kit is the bag to take!

In addition to your first aid supplies, some of the most essential items in your emergency kit are sources of warmth like ponchos, emergency blankets, and hand warmers. Protecting yourself and your loved ones from the elements will help you ride out any crisis situation. 

Be Prepared For Anything 

A well-stocked first aid kit can save lives. It can also help you and your family have peace of mind knowing that you will be prepared for an emergency if one arises. In addition, you can use your first aid kit to care for yourself or a loved one in the event of an everyday injury. 

The supplies in your first aid kit should be familiar and usable to every member of your family that is old enough. You can practice administering first aid with your family so that everyone is ready to respond if someone gets hurt.

To stay as prepared as possible, keep your first aid kit somewhere where it can be grabbed quickly and easily – right by your home’s main door is an ideal spot. Pair a fully-stocked first aid kit with other emergency supplies – tools, safety supplies, food, and gear to stay warm – and you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way. 

Sources:

First Aid: Bandaging | Saint Lukes

How To Put On A Bandage - Emergency First Aid | SJA

Get Your Official First Aid Certification | Red Cross

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