Emergency Preparedness: First-Aid Kit Contents

Alright. Do we all have our first aid kit containers? Good! Well next we need to fill them.
There are SO many options to choose from when stocking a first aid kit. You can just stand in a medicine aisle at the store to realize the plethora of options available. So, what to choose? Is it all important? Yes and no. Obviously everything has a time and a place. Here’s my suggestion. When you first start to fill your kit, start basic and then work your way up to an ultimate first-aid kit. You don’t have to have the whole ‘medicine aisle’ in your kit right at the start, but it doesn’t hurt to add more and more as you have the money and first-aid know-how.

So to help with this process, I’m going to list contents for  first-aid kits in three categories: Basic, Intermediate, and Ultimate. If you’re just getting started with your first-aid, start with the basic kit and then add from there. (You can download a printable checklist version below.)

Note: For some items I will list the generic name for items and then list an example brand name because sometimes I have no idea what the generic name means, but a brand name clears that confusion up for me. But I am not promoting any specific brands… only trying to help clarify. So here we go…

Basic First Aid Kit Contents:

  • adhesive bandages in assorted sizes (Band-aids)
  • alcohol wipes/towlettes
  • gauze pads (2×2 and 4×4)
  • medical adhesive tape
  • butterfly bandages
  • antibiotic cream (Neosporin… and I like the kind with pain relief as well)
  • aspirin (Bayer) (NEVER give aspirin to a child)
  • ibuprofin (Motrin or Advil)
  • acetominophen (Tylenol)
  • tweezers (for removing splinters and the like)
  • instant ice packs
  • disposable latex or vinyl gloves (always use when working on an open wound)
  • pad of paper and a pen

Intermediate First Aid Kit Contents includes all of the above, plus:

  • anti-diarrhea medication (Pepto Bismol)
  • anti-itch/steroid cream (for poison ivy, bug bites, rashes, etc.)
  • anti-histamine (allergy relief/ medicine for allergic reactions) (Benedryl)
  • antacid (Tums)
  • aloe vera gel
  • sunscreen
  • insect repellant
  • lip ointment (Carmex, Blistex, or another good lip balm)
  • eye drops (Visine)
  • eye wash/saline solution
  • hand sanitizer gel
  • petroleum jelly (Vaseline)
  • larger adhesive bandages
  • elastic bandages for strains and sprains (Ace)
  • tongue depressor
  • finger splint
  • wrapping gauze (for wrapping around larger wounds)
  • adhesive tape (like athletic tape) (for securing gauze as well as stabilizing an injury with a splint)
  • self-adhering wrapping gauze
  • moleskin
  • safety pins
  • rubber bands
  • nail clippers
  • small scissors (for cutting adhesive tape or clothing)
  • safety scissors (with rounded tip) for cutting items off of injured person
  • thermometer
  • snake bite poison extractor
  • resealable bags, various sizes (to put dirty/bloody items in, or items you don’t want to lose, i.e. a knocked out tooth, etc.) (i.e. Ziploc)
  • permanent marker
  • basic first aid instruction book

Ultimate First Aid Kit Contents include all of the above, plus:

  • rubbing alcohol
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • antiseptic wound wash (Band-aid Hurt Free or Betadine)
  • decongestant pills and/or spray
  • cold & flu medications
  • smelling salts
  • syrup of Ipecac
  • activated charcoal (for poisoning emergencies–use only if instructed by your poison control center)
  • mouth-to-mouth/CPR shield
  • breathing/dust mask
  • eye goggles
  • cotton balls
  • cotton swabs (Q-tips)
  • turkey baster or other bulb suction device for flushing out wounds
  • triangular bandages/arm sling
  • splint materials (like SAM splint)
  • eye pad/patch
  • instant hot packs
  • burn cream/treatments (for more serious burns)
  • blood clotting spray
  • forceps
  • scalpels
  • hemostats
  • sterile sutures, in several sizes
  • dental tools
  • dental floss
  • save-a-tooth storage device
  • clean string
  • small flashlight (with extra batteries)
  • space blanket
  • matches
  • hard candy (to provide sugar for diabetics)
  • in depth first aid/surgical guide

Download Printable Version
Alrightythen! Did this list just give anyone a heart attack? I hope you know CPR! 😀 Okay, well just remember… one step at a time. Start Basic. Then gradually build up to the Intermediate level. And then move on to your Ultimate First Aid Kit. It’s not as bad as you think. You probably have a lot of this stuff already lying around your house. Just gather it together so you’ve got a kit ready for any emergency.

Some other points to remember and good ideas to consider:

  • Check your kit every 6 months to 1 year to change out any expired medications and restock any items that have been used and not yet been replaced.
  • If you have children or people with special needs/medical conditions, add any extra items that are appropriate to your situation.
  • Make sure everything is properly labeled.
  • Keep an inventory of everything that is in your kit and keep it inside your kit so you can take a quick glance at your list and know if you do or do not have a certain item.
  • You may want to have a medical consent form and a medical history form for each member of your family and keep it with your kit.
  • It’s also a good idea to keep a list of emergency phone numbers with your kit, including: family doctor and pediatrician, local emergency services, emergency road service providers, and the regional poison control center
  • Recommended locations to keep a first aid kit: Home (Ultimate); Car (Intermediate); Boat (Intermediate); 72-Hour Kit Grab Bags (at least Basic); Purse (Basic)
  • And finally, if you have any old cell phones, do not throw them away. Instead, charge the phone up, turn it off, and stick it in your first aid kit. Even if your phone is no longer connected to a service plan, it can still dial 9-1-1 and reach the local authorities! This would be especially helpful in a car kit or boat… someplace where you may not have ready access to a landline.

Please remember, having a fully stocked first aid kit does not make you an expert in first aid. You should not perform first aid on someone if you do not know what you are doing. Not only could you make the problem worse, but you could be sued for performing any aid above the level you are certified (sad, but true). That being said, let’s not have ignorance as an excuse. Let’s learn some first aid! We’ll start tackling basic first aid techniques in the upcoming months. If there is anything specific you would like to learn, just let me know. However, if you REALLY want to be proficient at it (not to mention certified), I would recommend taking a first aid class. Until then, healthy wishes to you all!

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