Safety is our business. At TSS, we are all about providing our clients with resources and education to avoid hazards and minimize chances for serious injury. With this in mind, do you know what our certified safety specialists – people who live and breath safety – say is their number one safety must-have? The answer is: a well-stocked first aid kit.
“First aid kits are so important because you never know when the unexpected will happen,” says TSS team member Larissa Greer. “Being prepared can reduce panic and provide short term care to prevent infection or keep an injury from becoming more serious.”
Greer recommends always having a first aid kit within reach in the house, the car, on boats at work and in your backpack for hiking. She also advises that families can benefit from taking a first aid course so that everyone knows how to utilize the supplies in the kit and other common household items that can be useful in an emergency.
First aid kits usually include alcohol and antiseptic wipes and ointment, scissors, elastic and adhesive bandages, instant cold packs, disposable gloves, sterile gauze pads, medical tape and some type of sting and bite treatments. It’s also a good idea to personalize your kit for your needs – include medication you rely on, an EpiPen if someone suffers from a severe allergy, or an inhaler if a family member has asthma.
You can purchase a kit for about $10-$30. Or you can make a kit. Just remember to put your supplies in an easy-to-open container. Place your kit in an accessible location so anyone can get it. For hiking and boat first aid kits you may need to add different supplies such as baby wipes to clean small cuts, duct tape, a water filter (like a LifeStraw) and even vinegar if you swim in water with stinging jellyfish. Always make sure to restock your kit after using it and do a once-a-year inspection to replace medications with expiration dates and used our outdated items.
“You may not always be able to keep your family members from getting hurt, but if you have a first aid kit on hand at least you know that you can help them when an accident does happen,” Greer says.
If you are thinking of purchasing or making a first aid kit, the American Red Cross has some helpful recommendations for what a kit for a family of four should include:
- 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
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets
- 2 packets of aspirin
- 1 emergency blanket
- 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve). Available for purchase on tss-safety.org
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets
- 1 3 in. gauze roll (roller) bandage
- 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
- 5 3 in. x 3 in. sterile gauze pads
- 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
- 2 triangular bandages
- Emergency First Aid guide
For more information about first aid or to sign up for one of our first aid classes, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.