You are faced with an accident at home,
you may have to stop major bleeding, deal with a serious burn, treat a
snake or spider bite, help someone with a fractured limb, or deal with
a foreign body in a wound or eye. But you have your first aid kit!
Are you certain that it’ll contain all the items needed to deal with
the emergency at hand — or adequate instructions?
Buying a Kit is a very confusing
exercise. Apart from the huge range available, there’s a
staggering number of kits in each range.
There are First Aid Kits
for home (small, medium, large, leisure, family, all-purpose) and for
(office, retail, industrial); also for
motor trauma, off-road, boat, outdoor, pocket) and for
special purposes (diving
and hiking, to name a few).
They come in a variety of shapes and
sizes, hard, hinged containers for easy access, and in compact soft
packs that stow away neatly, or wrap around your waist on walks. That
choice depends on your own personal requirements.
Very few First Aid Kits deal with even a Minor Burns
Injury, Major Burns Injuries on a large scale are another
matter of course, but I would bet that there aren't many families
around who haven't had at least a minor burn to cope with.
And of course the most common is SUNBURN.
The trouble is that most product for treating minor burns do have a
limited shelf life, and cannot be included in the list of items as
advertised by the companies supplying the kits. As
a 3rd Degree Burns Survivor, and also one who suffered
blistering sunburn as a child, I feel compelled to use some of this
website to draw attention to this shortcoming.
Consider these as Essential
Items for a General Purpose Kit:
At least nine
sterile, cotton-gauze swabs, for cleaning wounds and placing over
non-adherent burn dressings.
At least three
disposable hand towels or tissues, for general cleaning, other than
adhesive dressing strips in assorted widths, to cover small cuts,
blisters and abrasions.
One roll of
low-allergenic adhesive strapping, at least 25mm wide x 2.5m long, to
hold dressings in place.
individually packed, non-adhesive dry dressings, 100 x 100mm, to use
for burns, abrasions, cuts, lacerations and weeping wounds.
wound dressings of different sizes, to protect wounds, use as an
eyepad, or help control bleeding by applying pressure.
Three rolls of
stretch bandage, 50, 75 and 100mm wide and at least 1.5m long (and
stretchable to twice that length), to hold dressings in place, support
injured limbs or give first aid for poisonous bites.
calico bandages with at least 900 mm edge length each, to use as slings
or dressings, or as bandages to hold large dressings or splints in
At least five
safety pins about 40mm long, to hold bandages in place.
One pair of
rust-resistant scissors about 100mm long, with at least one blunt
point, to cut dressings and bandages, or to cut away clothing.
One pair of
rust-resistant, pointed forceps, with accurately aligned tips and in a
protective case, for removing splinters and stings.
One pencil and
notepad, to record times and details or for passing messages.
At least three
sealable plastic bags, about 150 x 200mm, for carrying water, making
ice packs, disposing of dirty dressings or carrying severed body parts.
gloves and an approved resuscitation mask, for infection control.
information — books are available from expert ambulance services.
At least six
individually wrapped isopropyl alcohol swabs, for cleaning areas around
thick and absorbent ‘combine’ dressing, 90 x 200mm, to cover wounds.
squeeze-bottle of saline solution, about 100ml, clearly labelled with
usage instructions and expiry date, to clean eyes, wounds and burns.
foil blanket, to keep a casualty warm.
treatment, 10ml minimum, clearly labelled with its purpose and expiry
date, to relieve discomfort from stings or bites.
treatment, to treat burns if no cool water is available.
Aloe Vera Gel,
about 100ml, clearly labelled with usage instructions and expiry date,
to apply to superficial burns, sunburn.
of Burn Cream with painkilling ability, usage instructions and expiry
should be in every household, not as part of the Kit, but essential for
putting out a fire on the stove-top on a person.
The last four items are my additions
to a recommendation by Choice Magazine for a First Aid Kit, and apart from the Fire
Blanket, would not impose much of a burden Physically or Financially.