Friday, July 2, 2010

Emergency Prep: First Aid Kits

It's that time of year.  With outdoor living and hot weather, come lots of little mishaps, and it points up the need to assemble and keep a good first aid kit.   I have several - a tiny one in my purse that I picked up in the 'travel sizes' section of the store, a slightly larger one with more stuff that I keep in the car, and a big honkin' one in the house for real emergencies - the "you and your neighbors are on your own until disaster relief people can get to you" size. 

Think of all the things that can happen, especially if you have kids:  blisters, cuts & scrapes, fireworks burns (!) from stepping on or picking up spent sparklers, heat exhaustion, bug bites/stings, splinters, ticks, etc.  And do you ever have what you need when you need it? Think home, camping/hiking, boat, barn, office/school, car ..... 

I took a first aid class a couple of years ago, and our instructor advised us to keep a small zip-lock bag in the door pocket of the car, filled with a clean white cotton washcloth and rubber (preferably Nitrile) gloves.  If someone is overheated the cloth can be wetted and put on their face, while the bag can be used to carry and  pour water over the person to wet their clothes.  If you have a cooler, the bag can be used as an ice pack.  If you should (God forbid) ever come across an accident on the road, put on the gloves and the cloth can be used to staunch bleeding until emergency services get there.  Pretty handy.  

There are tons of lists out there on the internet for putting together kits. Websites vary from those who just like to be prepared, to "survival" sites.  If that's too scary for you, here is a basic list from the Red Cross .  Generally speaking, the kits you buy in Walmart or the drug store are garbage - although the container might make a good base for assembling your own.  For a terrific craft project for kids, take an empty/clean Altoid tin or plastic travel soap box, and fill it with a few bandaids, anticeptic wipes and a travel size bottle of hand sanitizer.   It's never a bad idea to be prepared.

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