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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Your Guide to Assembling the Perfect First Aid Kit

A good first aid kit is just like a smoke alarm or a spare tire. You may not always need it, but when you do it really needs to function! Sure, everybody recognizes a first aid kid should have some bandages, a pair of scissors, and some topical ointment. But what really goes into assembling a truly first class first aid kit? Let’s look now.

A good kit is versatile

The best first aid kid will always be as universal as possible. While each kit should be a little tailored to some unique needs (more on that to follow), ultimately a good kit is one anybody can use. Whether it’s used to treat someone who is 7 foot tall and 200 pounds, or 4 foot tall and 50 pounds, or any combination in between, a kit should be versatile.

Further, while certain kits will cater to the specific needs of certain pursuits - such as camping, sailing, or mountain climbing - ultimately each should come with the ability to treat an injury and minimize its pain. Beyond this, it should also provide a temporary solution for the injured person if it’s a serious injury that requires further medical attention.

A good kit is a little overstocked

Depending on your needs, it’s often ideal to have 1 first aid kid per person. This can be particularly important for big adventures like a camping trip or an overseas holiday. Obviously, this is not always practical, and won’t always be necessary.

Nonetheless, it is always useful to play the ‘what if?’ game a little. What if 2 people get injured at once? What if someone needs a second round of ointment or bandages? By packing a little extra you’ll increase the odds dramatically of your first aid kit having too little when the need arises.

A good kit meets your needs and environment

Packing a first aid kit also requires some reflection on your needs and environment. A 300 piece first aid kit will offer more supplies than a compact one, but it’s ultimately about what you need.

It’s really great if your first aid kid has some vinegar to apply on a jellyfish sting. But a jellyfish sting is unlikely to occur if you’re taking an afternoon walk through the forest in the winter. Similarly, poison ivy may be nasty, but you won’t encounter it if you’re swimming in California this summer.

It is great to have a versatile first aid kid, and to overstock it a little on essential supplies. That’s why it is important to be conservative when including any extras you don’t need. Speaking of….

A good kit minimizes perishables where possible

Certain medical supplies will only last for so long.  This is just a fact of life and it is totally OK if your first aid kit needs fresh supplies now and then. Nonetheless, it’s important to avoid stocking your kit with goods that expire quicker than others. Examples of this can be spray on sunscreen, liquid bandages, and similar goods.

Even if the expiration date seems a long time when you first buy it, time really flies when you're kit goes unused. Supplies that expire quicker are fine for small uses day by day such as when working around the home, gardening, or playing sport, but are not good to keep in a first aid kid. Always look to buy supplies for your kit with the longest possibly expiration date.

But a first aid kid won’t replace the need for medical attention

It’s fantastic if you’re first aid kit is versatile and a little overstocked. It is not good if it's trying to replicate the emergency department of your local ER. Overstocking your first aid kid can cause a number of problems.

If your kit is really overstocked, it can be harder to do routine checks that ensure your kit’s equipment works, and its perishable supplies are in-date. It can also mean it takes longer in an emergency to locate the supplies you need. For someone injured and in pain, that extra time taken could mean their condition will worsen, and treatment will become more difficult.


We’ve shown here the principles that’ll help you when choosing the best first aid kit.

There may be some variables depending on your particular needs, but there are two golden rules: it’s vital to actually have and carry a first aid kit. Do these 2 things, follow the principles above, and you’ll be prepared to meet any first aid situation that arises.

This is a guest blog entry.

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