The Proper Contents of a First Aid Kit

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First aid is defined as “emergency treatment administered to an injured or sick person before professional medical care is available.”

With proper training, anyone can administer first aid. Along with the training, the most important piece of equipment necessary for proper first aid is, of course, a well stocked first aid kit.

There are a number of first aid kits available in the market, all of them containing supplies that are necessary for proper first aid treatment. There are even a number of commercially available first aid kits designed for specific activities, environments, and patients such as sports, home, office, and even the outdoors.

Of course, you could always assemble your own first aid kit. Especially if the hazards present in your facility are unique, putting together your own kit is probably the better option. But even if your workplace hazards are relatively typical, one advantage of assembling your own kit is that you can tailor the amount of first aid supplies if not the supplies themselves.

A good starting point, if you wish to put together your own first aid kit, is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and American Red Cross’ recommendations regarding first aid kit supplies. The OSHA and American Red Cross recommend first aid kits contain the following items:

  • Small and large gauze pads – at least 4 x 4 inches for small pads and at least 8 x 10 inches for the large ones.
  • Adhesive bandages (band-aids) – at least 25 pieces preferably in different sizes.
  • Roller bandages – 3 & 4 inches wide
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • 2 absorbent compress dressings – 5 x 9 inches
  • 5 antiseptic wipes
  • 5 packs of antibiotic ointments
  • Adhesive cloth tape – 10 yards x 1 inch
  • 2 elastic wraps
  • 2 packets of aspirin
  • 2 packets of hydrocortisone
  • At least one blanket
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • A splint
  • Instant cold compress
  • Resuscitation equipment – a breathing barrier with a one-way valve, a resuscitation bag, a pocket mask, etc.
  • Medical gloves – 2 pairs, preferably non-latex
  • Oral thermometer – non-mercury, non-glass variety
  • A first aid instruction booklet and directions for requesting emergency assistance

As previously mentioned, with proper training, anyone can administer first aid treatment. OSHA, for its part requires you to provide first aid training to a some of your personnel. There are a number of first aid training programs for both general and more specialized first aid. Typically, the American Red Cross provides the training, but local fire departments and schools can also do the same. You may also want to consider putting up first aid wall charts and posters in and around your facility to further reinforce first aid techniques.

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