As an ARES volunteer we need to be ready for medical emergencies both large and small. One of the basic components of an effective 72 Hour Kit is a First Aid Kit. During a disaster deployment you may be one of the first volunteers at the scene or you may come upon people requiring first aid while traveling to your deployment location.
The basic components of a good First Aid kit are:
- At least two pairs of non-latex Surgical Gloves
- Cleansing agent – soap, antimicrobial towelettes or hand sanitizer.
- 1 Breathing Barrier with one-way valve for use during CPR.
- At least 1 Space Blanket
- Sterile Dressings to stop bleeding – 3″x 3″, 4″x 4″ or larger
- At least 6 Roller Bandages used to hold and cover sterile dressings
- A roll of Adhesive Cloth Medical Tape
- Adhesive Bandages (Band-aids) in a variety of sizes
- 2 large triangular bandages that can be used for either arm slings or to cover sterile dressings
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
- Instant Cold Compress
- Antibiotic Ointment
- Burn Ointment
- Insect Bite Cream
- Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant for wounds
- Digital Thermometer – no glass or mercury filled thermometers
- Aspirin, Ibuprofen or other non-aspirin pain reliever
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Anti-histamine tablets
- Personal Emergency Contact Info and a copy of your ID – in case you become injured.
- Prescription medications you take every day. You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates.
- Power Bars or Candy Bars for quick energy.
- Small transistor radio to receiver for AM / FM broadcast bands.
- First Aid Instruction Booklet
Snake Bite Kit
- Gatorade or other electrolyte packs – bottled water size. For treating and preventing Heat Stroke.
- Insect Repellent
- Sun Screen
- Potassium Iodide pills – One pack per family member. Potassium Iodide protects your thyroid from absorbing radioactive iodine from nuclear fallout. They are available online and no prescription is required for Potassium Iodide pills.
- Self-Adhesive Ace Bandages.
- Bic lighter or waterproof matches – Starting a camp fire can prevent/treat hypothermia and keeps victims of shock warm.
- Surgical face mask / dust mask – to reduce inhalation hazards.
- 2 large bandannas. Many uses such as hand towel, face mask, sweat band, etc
- Caffeine pills – They come in very handy when you can’t stop to have a cup of coffee.
- Maxi Pads – In addition to their original purpose as feminine hygiene products, they make very good sterile dressings. They are large, thick, absorbent, have an adhesive to keep roller bandages in place and they have a plastic barrier to help keep contaminants from being introduced into a wound.
Whether you assemble or purchase a first aid kit it is always important to check the expiration dates of all the products in your kit at least twice a year. Be sure to immediately replace any items that have been used. A depleted First Aid kit limits your capability during a real emergency. Do Not use your First Aid kit for daily bumps and scrapes, keep it separate from your other medical supplies. Your First Aid kit should only be used for real emergencies.
As with all tools, the effectiveness of your first aid kit is directly related to the training of the person using it. It is highly recommended that everyone be trained in first aid. Contact your local Red Cross for First Aid and or CPR training classes.