What Yours Should Contain

No home should be without a first aid kit. You can buy one that’s ready to go or make your own, but it’s imperative you’re familiar with all the contents.

Always be prepared for an emergency by keeping a first aid kit in all the places you frequent, including your house, your car, your place of work, or even on your person. Or know where you can quickly find a first aid kit if you need it, such as where one is located at the home of your neighbor or relative.

Take into consideration how many people are in your family, since that will determine the minimum amount of supplies your kit should contain. The Red Cross recommends that a first aid kit for a family of four include, at minimum, the following:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet

Read the first aid instruction booklet thoroughly and make sure everyone in your household does too. Keeping a kit is not enough in an emergency; you have to also know how to use its contents.

If you plan to participate in a specific activity, there might be additional materials that would be useful to have. For example, some companies make first aid kits specifically for boating and camping.

Tangible items aren’t the only things you want to be sure to keep in your kit. Certain information is just as important, such as prescription details for any regular medications for you or a family member, emergency phone numbers (911, local police, poison control, etc.), emergency contact phone numbers (physician, relative or other trusted person to be called in the event of a crisis), and any other information your health care provider recommends having handy.

Also, remember to examine the contents of the kit regularly to make sure nothing is missing or out-of-date (this includes replacing batteries if your kit contains them, either by themselves or in a flashlight).

Image via Marcin Wichary on Flickr.


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