Note: This is day 17 of National Preparedness Month . Follow this year’s campaign on Twitter by searching for the #NatlPrep hash tag.
This month, as part of NPM16, I’ll be rerunning some edited and updated older preparedness essays, along with some new ones.
A little over forty-five years ago - when I was a teenager in a sleepy Florida town - I took a 3-night first aid class offered by the American Red Cross, and taught by our local fire chief. Part of our homework was to put together a `cigar-box’ first aid kit, which we would pledge to carry in our cars, or keep in our home.
I made two. One for the home, and one more for the trunk of my car.
While they weren’t exactly professional quality, and I’ve upgraded many times since, I’ve never lost the habit. The following year I went on to become an EMT, and two years after that, I was a paramedic. I confess to still feeling a bit naked these many years later without having a decent first aid kit within easy reach.
I’ll admit that owning two ambu-bags borders on the excessive, but I certainly feel better knowing they are there.Well equipped first aid kits are a necessity in every home, and should also be found in the trunk of every car. While you can purchase a ready-made kit (the quality of which varies depending on price), I’ve always preferred to create my own.
I undoubtedly have a more elaborate kit than most, but perhaps a look inside my auto first aid bag will inspire some of my readers to make one of their own.The `bag’ is an old style Laptop computer case, with a handle and a shoulder strap. I like these, because they have numerous compartments, are soft, and are reasonably waterproof.
On the `trauma’ side of the bag, I’ve got `Kling’ roll bandages, an ACE bandage, a couple of cravat `Triangle’ bandage (sling & swath), sterile 4x4 gauze pads, paper tape, Band-Aids, antibiotic cream and several absorbent feminine pads (they make excellent trauma dressings).
There is also a penlight, a felt tipped pen, and a note pad.
Under the front `cover’ flap, I keep some basic OTC medicines, including aspirin, acetaminophen, some hand antiseptic, and a bulb syringe (can be used for minor suctioning).
Under the flap on the other side, I’ve got surgical & N95 masks, exam gloves, and a `space’ blanket.
And if that were't enough, I've a non-medical emergency kit in my trunk as well. Some water, another space blanket, glow sticks (safer than road flares), a few tools, flashlight, etc.
Of course, having a kit isn’t enough. You need to know how to use it.
And for that, you need first aid training. If you haven’t already taken a course, contact your local Red Cross chapter, and find out what is available in your area. And don’t forget the CPR training (or recertification!) as well.Whether you buy a ready-made kit, or make your own, now is a good time to make sure you are fully equipped to deal with a medical emergency.
For more information I would invite you to visit:
AMERICAN RED CROSS http://www.redcross.org/