Safety at home: What is in your first-aid kit?
A correctly-packed first-aid kit is necessary for Service members and their families. Having a first-aid kit in the home, along with the proper training to use the items, can help mitigate an emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Areca T. Wilson/Released)
Posted 2/18/2014 Updated 2/18/2014
by Airman 1st Class Areca T. Wilson
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
2/18/2014 - JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -- A correctly packed first-aid kit is an essential tool for Service members and their families to have in the case of an emergency. Having a collection of supplies and equipment, or a first-aid kit, along with proper training to use these items, is also a necessity.
"In case parents or adults are unable to call Emergency Medical Services, children should know how to dial 911, the location of phone numbers and the contact's address and phone number," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Beverly Lutz, 633rd Medical Operations Squadron emergency room flight chief.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michelle Loftus, McDonald Army Health Center Family Health Clinic noncommissioned officer in charge, agrees with Lutz's sentiments, encouraging Service members to be proactive in preparing themselves and their families.
"Families must be prepared for any type of emergency that can happen around the home," said Loftus. "Most life-saving care is given by the first person to respond to an emergency, generally within the first hour after an injury has occurred."
When preparing a first-aid kit, choosing its contents is important.
A container that is closeable, sealed, waterproof and possibly airtight to protect the first-aid supplies is best, said Lutz.
"A first-aid kit should be kept in a waterproof case that is easy to open and well-organized so even younger children can use it," said Loftus. "[Having a] waterproof [case will] prevent damage to the bandaging material as well as keep the materials clean and sterile."
In addition to ensuring first-aid supplies are properly protected when stored in their designated container, Service members are also advised to include an emergency contact information sheet and personal information such as health conditions and current medications.
After completing the first-aid kit, families should store them in a safe place that is easily accessible.
"First-aid kits should be stored in areas that are easily accessible to all family members," said Loftus. "Ensure that all the family members and caregivers know where to find the kit, so they are not searching for them during the time of need."
First-aid kits should also be placed in a dry area and not exposed to excessive moisture.
"The kitchen is a good place to keep the first-aid kit," said Lutz. "It is not recommended to keep medications and first-aid supplies in the bathroom as the steam generated from the shower or bath can affect the medications and supplies."
A well-stocked first-aid kit is only a tool; therefore, proper training is advised before attempting to administer first-aid.
"It is always recommended that families and their caregivers go to a basic first-aid course to learn appropriate bandaging and how to recognize medical emergencies," said Loftus. "These courses are offered through the American Red Cross or even local boy scout troops. Another class would be the Basic Life Saver course to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation or assist choking victim."
For more information on first-aid kits visit, www.redcross.org.
Below are items Service members should include in their first-aid kit:
- Adhesive bandages
- Compression wrap
- Ice pack
- Antibiotic ointment
- 2-by2-inch and or 4-by-4-inch gauze
- 2-inch surgical tape
- Medical gloves
- Copies of personal documents including, a list of medications and pertinent medical information
- Family and emergency contact information
- One-way valve mask for CPR
- Medical tape
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen