Prepare for Disaster With a First-Aid Kit

Minor injuries and ailments can happen anytime. Keeping a well-stocked first-aid kit at home can be handy in such situations. It can help you preserve a life, protect against further harm, and help with recovery. New technology has made today’s first aid kits much more portable and simple to use.

Keep the kit accessible and make the location known to everyone who lives in the house. Make sure it contains any personal items you may need such as medications and emergency phone numbers. Check the kit regularly and make sure it is stocked. Replace flashlight batteries that may be dead and check the expiration dates of other items. You can buy a prepackaged kit or make your own by including the following essentials. The Red Cross recommends the following be a part of your home first aid kit:

Handbook
Make sure you have a first-aid booklet. Otherwise, a fully stocked first-aid kit may not be of much help if you do not know how to use it. A handbook will have basic information for dealing with all sorts of emergencies and is a great reference to have.

Bandages
Make sure you have two absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches). Use these to absorb the fluid from a open wound and dress it. Also include Band-Aids in an assortment of sizes. Add one adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch). Look for latex-free products that are easy to tear and hypoallergenic. Use tape to secure the compress dressings and other medical devices. Also pick up five sterile gauze pads to cushion wounds and absorb fluids.

Ointment
It’s a good idea to have five antibiotic ointment packets in individual packets, which are easy to dispense and more efficient than a large tube. The antibacterial compound in the ointment will kill or slow down the growth of bacteria. Use this on minor scrapes, cuts and burns under a bandage to prevent infection. Also include five antiseptic wipe packets. These handy towelettes help reduce the risk of infection by killing bacteria. Use them to wipe your hands before dressing a wound. Add two pairs of non-latex gloves to help prevent contamination. Non-latex products are a better bet since some people are allergic to latex. Finally, include two hydrocortisone ointment packets. This ointment relieves minor skin irritations, itches and rashes.

Pain reliever
Two packets of aspirin are a good idea, too. Aspirin is used to reduce fever and relieve mild pain from colds, headaches and toothaches.

Additional items
A thermal blanket will reduce heat loss and keep you warm longer. It is also waterproof and windproof and can pack into small spaces. One breathing barrier, also known as a pocket mask, allows the rescuer’s hands to be free during CPR and provides a better seal on the patient’s face. Add one instant cold compress to temporarily relive minor pain and swelling. You do not need to refrigerate or freeze it. Finally, add a pair of scissors to your kit.