Where do I start? What first aid items will I need?
You can get a good head start by purchasing a preassembled first aid kit. You will find most preassembled kits have been put together through much feedback by those who have experience treating injuries during a crisis. Some basic first aid essentials include gauze, tape, adhesive strips, scissors, antibiotic ointment, bandages, burn treatment dressings or lotions, rash or itch creams, thermometers, arm splints, tweezers, safety pins, pain reliever, antiseptic towelettes, ammonia inhalants, instant ice packs, sponges, eye washes, rubbing alcohol, etc. Although preassembled kits contain the most common items needed during emergencies, it is important to gather items that fit your particular needs. Prescription medications needed for asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, etc., are crucial for your first aid kit. Also, be sure to include special items needed by small children or the elderly.
First aid kits come in all sizes and include from basic items to supplies used by emergency medical technicians. With the right training a surgical kit would be wise preparation. First, determine what items you will need the most and how much you will need of each item. For example, families with small children will probably need extra adhesive bandages and items for scrapes and cuts such as antiseptic towelettes. Or, you can specialize a first aid kit to meet a particular need or situation (i.e. auto first aid kit, camping first aid kit, home first aid kit, business first aid kit, etc.) Second, you should purchase a kit containing items that best suit your needs. It is useless to have a professional kit containing items you do not know how to use, or to have a kit too basic to treat emergency needs.
Where is the best place to store my first aid kit?
You should keep a portable first aid kit in your emergency kit. You will find that if all items are kept in a convenient location in your home or automobile, you can grab what you need without having to scramble to find your emergency essentials. A common mistake is to overload your first aid or emergency kit. Remember, your kits should be lightweight and easy to carry. In order to survive most natural disasters, you are required to act quickly. First aid items, along with other emergency items should be kept in a compact, lightweight storage container such as a duffel bag, backpack, or carrying case. Do not keep your kits in a hard to reach place such as an attic or storage closet.
What if I can’t afford to buy a comprehensive first aid kit?
Keep in mind that a first aid kit is an investment like an insurance policy. Some people may prefer to purchase a portable stereo or a new outfit over a first aid or emergency kit. However, those who have lived through an emergency either regret not having had the needed supplies or are relieved they planned ahead and invested wisely. If budget is a concern, start small. Obtain the most important items first, such as adhesive bandages and pain relievers. Then, as your budget permits, add to the items you already have.
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