Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: First Aid Kit

I'm always on the lookout for things I can add to my store of preparedness items, large and small. We have a pretty well stocked and rotated "medicine cabinet", the odd compression bandage, band-aids, disinfectants and the like, and can manage cuts, bumps and abrasions around the house with little drama, but what we certainly lacked was a single, contained go-to First Aid kit. Even with the windfall of a mostly-full, retired ADF Field Medic Kit, I wanted to have some properly put together First-Aid kits and out of the blue, a 78 Piece Emergency First Aid Kit was advertised and I snapped several up.One for home (now hanging up in our main hallway), one for my car, and one "spare". I'm fond of spares.

Each of these hand-bag sized rip-stop and bright red kits is stuffed with a collection of well laid out items in several easy access pockets. There are three main pockets to this kit, folding over into one easy to see at a glance package. In the middle of this kit are 6 rolled 5cm x 4m bandages, a elastisised compression bandage roll, medical tape, alcohol wipe sachets, a set of plastic forceps, scissors and a set of safety pins.

The inner pocket is covered over by a clear flap, which in turn carries sterilised non-woven wound pads, both in 10cm x 10cm and 5cm x 5cm. It also carries a series of non-adherent 5cm x 7.5cm seterilised pads, an eye-pad and a bundle of elastic band-aid type plasters. Sufficient to patch up all manner of domestic injuries, where more intense medical attention is either not required, or can be at least patched long enough to keep someone from leaking all over the place on the way to see a Doctor.

The final pocket contains several items that I consider important both for specific needs and generally. Befind a hook-and-loop flap are a set of sterile latex gloves provides barrier protection against any infectious agents that may be faced whilst tending someones injuries and I think are crucially important when doing so. I usually put a couple more sets of gloves in any first aid kit I have, for this reason alone. Many years in a microbiology lab have made the phrase "Gloves!" part of my unconscious battle-cry when facing body fluids. A burn dressing is likewise a vital part of any kit. Burns are especially susceptible to infection, and require special care to avoid septic shock setting in, which may occur with fibrous bandages. A triangular bandage is also a welcome addition, being useful as a sling, head bandage and for splints. The inclusion of an instant ice-pack is a great idea , especially if in a remote location, even if it is disposable. I may replace this with a catalytic renewable one at some stage. Lastly, the inclusion of a space blanket made me very happy, as they are an awesome first aid and survival tool as I've said before, when reviewing the Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival kit.

When I was on my Junior High Outdoor Education field trip, in 1991 whilst living in Canada, and up in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, my tent-mate hacking into his thumb with an axe whilst holding the log he was looking to chop. Less-than-stellar, right there. However, I had a first aid kit on hand, and quickly patched him up sufficiently that he could be driven the several hours to the nearest hospital to get the stitches he required. Now, its not like he would have lost his thumb or anything, but having a kit on-hand, and having the where-with-all to act made the rest of his treatment a lot easier. Be prepared. Be equipped. Know what you have and how to use it.


  1. I'd be inclined to add a couple of squirties of saline, and possibly chlorhexidine. Also some iodine swabs - in the absence of iodine allergy, alcohol is not really the most appropriate antiseptic swab to use on skin. Keep them though for disinfecting scissors and the like.

    And also - nitrile gloves! Sterile is nice, but in most first aid situations it's not really the main reason to wear gloves, and nitrile is less of an allergy issue than latex.

    1. thanks Cat, i'll keep my eyes open for iodine wipes and saline/chlorohexidine dispensers. As it happens I use long cuff nitrile gloves by preference, AND they are in purple!

  2. thanks Cat, i'll keep my eyes open for iodine wipes and saline/chlorohexidine dispensers. As it happens I use long cuff nitrile gloves by preference, AND they are in purple!


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