Emergency Preparedness: First Aid Kits

Having a well stocked first aid kit is a key element to successful emergency preparedness. You should keep a first aid kit in your home and in your car(s) so that you can be prepared wherever you go.
First aid kits come in many shapes and sizes and you can purchase them or make your own. I prefer to make my own because I like to customize what goes into it. Thus far in my preparedness efforts I’ve been using a first-aid kit that I put together in college for one of my athletic training classes. But it’s tailored more towards athletes (go figure) and I’ve been wanting to get a fully loaded family first aid kit for a while now. So why don’t we do this together? 🙂 (Tip: If you can find two or three other people (or a big group!) to do this project with you, you can purchase products in bulk and split the costs. It’s more cost effective that way.)

First let me explain why it’s important to have a first aid kit. Obviously you want to be able to take care of any cuts and bruises that take place in your home–keep them clean and well-cared for so they don’t get infected and turn into problems. But minor issues aside, in the event of a widespread, large-scale emergency, you can bet that good medical care and medical supplies will be hard to access. It is for this reason that I recommend not only having a well-stocked first-aid kit, but that you be knowledgable in how to perform emergency care. But we’ll get into emergency care/first aid later. First lets get our kits put together! I’ll break this into two parts so that we don’t overwhelm ourselves on the first day. First we’ll talk about what types of containers to use for our kits, and next week we’ll learn about what to put in our first-aid kit. So let’s get going…

Two of the main keys to a good kit are functionality and organization. If you can’t find what you need when you need it, your kit will end up being more of a frustration than a help. So the first thing we need is a good container for our kit. It can be as simple as a plastic resealable baggie to an elaborate organization box. Whatever you choose, make sure your container fits the needs of the kit. A plastic baggie could be good for a small kit such as one you’d keep in your purse, but you wouldn’t want to use it for your home kit since it wouldn’t be very organized nor sturdy. For a home and car kit, I like to use tackle or tool boxes because they’re sturdy and  have lots of little compartments for lots of little things. Backpacks or small duffel bags would also work as long as you have a way to organize them inside.
My athletic trainer kit was a simple plastic toolbox from Wal-mart (similar to the red one in the picture above). That one is going to become my car kit and I have now purchased a LARGE tackle box to use for my new ultimate first aid kit. (It’s the bottom two examples in the picture above.) What I really like about it (and trust me… I debated and evaluated many different kinds–just ask Hubby!) is that it has a large main compartment for larger pieces of equipment (like Hubby’s stethoscope and blood pressure cuff, and other bigger items), and then what really sold me is the plastic boxes that stack up on bottom. Many different tackle boxes had this style, but this was the only one I found that had a large (tall and deep) plastic box in addition to the thinner boxes. The thinner boxes all have small spaces for  storing things, which is fine for a lot of the first aid stuff, but I was also needing some more larger spaces for things like Ace bandages, medical tape, etc. which is what the deep box has. Anyway, the point is that it fit my needs perfectly and so I got it (perhaps a bit hastily, since I just found it online today for about $25 less than where I got it… but I have it nonetheless!) 🙂 If any of you are interested in it, the brand is Flambeau and you can find it HERE (for the $25 less price).

So anyway, our goal this week is to get a kit container that will meet your family’s needs. (Remember that you do not have to purchase this. You may already have something around your house that would work!) But my recommendation is that, even if you have no supplies at all yet, you go ahead and choose a container that will suit your ultimate needs so that a year down the road you don’t have to get a new kit when you run out of room in your smaller one. And if you’ve already got your home kit well-stocked, get a container for each of your cars. Either way, let’s get ready to start stocking!
See ya next week! 🙂

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