Almost everyone agrees that you should have a first aid kit handy for emergencies. Surprisingly, not everyone keeps a first aid kit handy.
Because there are so many different types of first aid supplies on the market now, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the choices. Many folks buy too many unnecessary supplies that will never be used. While still others feel so overwhelmed at the choices available, they don’t buy even the most basic supplies at all.
Obviously, having too much of the unnecessary or too little of the vital supplies is less than ideal. The remedy to this is to keep on hand the first aid supplies that are most commonly used. This allows you to save money (by not over-purchasing supplies you’re not likely to use) while still being prepared for the most likely scenarios you will face (by keeping a well stocked first aid kit).
Let’s look at some steps to evaluate and decide what is most appropriate for your home medical kit.
The Activities of the Occupants
The first thing to consider is where the first aid kit will be stored and thus who are those that are most likely to be in need of the first aid should the need arise. A home that is occupied by a married couple and two teenage children will have very different needs that the needs of a family that has toddlers.
For example, because toddlers seem to be accident prone, there should be a plan in place for dealing with accidental poisonings. Products like activated charcoal will be used by ambulance personnel or a hospital, but before that time you can take steps with water, milk, or syrup of ipecac to reduce the impact of poisoning. In any case of accidental poisoning, always contact poison control before administering any treatment prior to the emergency response team’s arrival.
Let’s examine another scenario: carpenters and woodworkers are at risk of severe cuts on any given day. Because of this, their kits should be stocked with the appropriate supplies needed to stop bleeding and to disinfect any wounds.
The Health of the Occupants
When setting up a first aid or emergency response kit for the home, take into consideration the medical histories of the residents. For example, someone who has an extensive cardiac history may need an automated external defibrillator. Another, more common example of a health condition is one like diabetes, which could be handled by keeping extra diabetic testing strips on hand, along with a supply of syringes and any medications required to treat anaphylactic shock.
Along with all the items needed to treat people, there should also be information present. When an ambulance is called, the crew will need to know what medications the person is taking, the proper dosage, and why they’ve been prescribed those medications. EMT’s will also need to know the details of the patient’s medical history. All of that information will be passed along to the doctors and nurses at the hospital, so it’s a good idea to have everything written and stored with the medical equipment for quick reference.
The Visiting Occupants
In the event that you will be entertaining visitors, it is wise to be made aware of any potential medical emergencies that may arise. For example, a business specializing in health equipment will likely have a clientele that suffers from various ailments. Common customers at these establishments are elderly persons, who may use canes or walkers. In this example, the first aid kit should include cold compresses and other items for treatment of falls.
If you are stocking first aid supplies for a school concession stand, think of the potential sports injuries that may take place in the gym or on the field. Be prepared for orthopedic problems and minor lacerations.
Public places such as shopping centers or churches can be challenging, because their daily visitors can be difficult to predict. It is recommended to make an emphasis should be on general medical care when putting together a first aid kit for businesses that see a variety of clientele.
No home or business can be ready to treat every imaginable illness or injury. Even a fully stocked ambulance won’t have every possible item available. But with some careful review of who will be there, what may befall them, and their medical history, you can make a fairly strategic and effective plan in the event of a medical emergency.