When to Use the Items in a First Aid Kit
Scraped knees from collisions with the sidewalk, bee stings while gardening, cuts from chopping in the kitchen, a twisted ankle after a hiking spill… the need for a first aid kit are plentiful, but how often do we actually pull it out? These are only some of the reasons why it is so important to keep a first aid kit handy everywhere you go. But do you know which items are in your kit, what they are for, and when to use them? Take a look at the inclusions found in the Alberta regulated occupational health and safety Standard First Aid Kit sold by First Edition!
Antiseptic towelettes are one of the most important things found in a first aid kit. The towelettes included in this kit have Benzalkonium Chloride, a solution that works as an antimicrobial to clean and kill germs. In emergencies and accidents, these wipes should be used to sterilize – either your own hands or the wound of someone else. Antiseptic wipes are necessary to clean and will help reduce the risk of infection.
As with any first aid kit, you will be sure to have an abundance of bandages – but are they ever the right size for your cut? Each Standard First Aid Kit includes a variety of bandages that can be used for multiple purposes. Sometimes, dependent upon the location of the wound, a specific size or type will be needed. In the First Edition kit you will have:
- Small compress bandages
- Large compress bandages
- Conforming stretch bandages
- Crepe roller bandages
- Plastic bandages
- Triangular bandages
The roller bandage is used best to hold a dressing in place for a wound, ensure there is consistent pressure on the wound location, or to support an arm or leg in case of injury. On the other hand, triangular bandages can be used to create a sling or cradle injuries such as broken bones or sprains. Otherwise, many of the other bandages (compress bandages or plastic bandages) can be used in the familiar way, to cover and protect an open wound and stop bleeding.
CPR Face Shield
If ever you find yourself in an emergency where someone is not responsive (not breathing and no pulse), CPR must be an immediate response. This life-saving assistance of compressions and breaths will ‘kick’ the heart back into a normal rhythm and allow oxygen to flow through the body once more. Of course, if you are giving CPR to a stranger, you may not want to have the direct contact of mouth-to-mouth. That is what a CPR Face Shield is for! This protective barrier allows you to administer oxygen without endangering yourself.
If you are not comfortable giving breaths (even with a face shield), compressions-only CPR is also effective. However, read why breaths are still recommended, if possible!
One of the key items needed for almost any injury is gauze! This light fabric and sterile pad can be used for packing, covering, cleaning, or securing wounds of all types. The reason gauze is so useful for wounds is because the weaves of the fabric stick to the blood flow and encourage the creation of a blood clot (how your body naturally stops bleeding). They are the ultimate solution for first aid assistance!
Medical Examination Gloves
Whenever assisting someone, your own safety should be a priority. Medical examination gloves are included in every first aid kit and should be worn when helping dress a wound, stopping blood flow, or any other emergency that would put your own skin in contact with someone else’s.
Infectious Waste Bags
When emergencies result in blood, vomit, or other bodily fluids, these fluids can be infectious and are dangerous to be in contact with. It is important that when assisting someone, anything soaked in these fluids be put away so that they cannot cause harm to another individual. This is where the infectious waste bag can be used. Seal everything in the bag that has been contaminated and pass it on to medical professionals to dispose of properly.
It may seem like a simple item to carry, but scissors are perfect to make bandages to size, cut tape, remove restrictive clothing, and so much more. Anything you need to cut; the scissors are there for it!
Safety pins – these small but mighty items are an essential to any first aid kit! Safety pins are multi-purpose and can be used to hold bandages in place, repair clothing in survival situations, used to attach makeshift slings, or in extreme survival circumstances have even been used as stitches!
Splinter forceps – commonly referred to as tweezers – are required in a variety of household and survival emergencies. Something as simple as removing a stinger or splinter from the skin is what splinter forceps are perfect for!
In our first aid kits, you will find a provided St. John Ambulance pocket guide (with both English and French). If you have not yet taken a first aid course or are unsure what to do in an emergency, the pocket guide is there for you. The book will provide information on how to properly administer CPR, how to dress wounds, what to do if someone is having a stroke, and so much more! Everything you need to know for general emergencies can be found in this pocket-sized guide book.
Looking to update your first aid skills? Register your team or family for a group first aid course and know how to help others and yourself!
Found in each first aid kit is a roll of clear plastic tape. This can be used for a number of purposes including: securing bandages or gauze in place, creating a splint, or sometimes for closing wounds when bandages are scarce. Be sure to replace the tape in your kit if it is used often!
Other First Aid Kits
All of the above items are included with the purchase of a Standard First Aid Kit, but if you are looking for a more expansive kit, First Edition sells two other options:
- AB#2 First Aid Kit – Includes larger item quantities than that found in the standard kit, and additionally includes abdominal pads and eye dressing pads.
- AB#3 First Aid Kit – Includes larger item quantities than that found in the AB#2 kit, and additionally includes abdominal pads, eye dressing pads, and tubular gauze with applicator.
Determine which kit is best for you and stay prepared for every emergency!
Now that you know exactly what is found in an emergency first aid kit and when to use it, bring your kit with you wherever you go! When you can easily access these life-saving supplies, it will truly make a difference whether help is close or far away. Stay safe and be prepared!