We can’t emphasize enough that emergencies can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. But here’s the good news: The more you prepare now, the better chances you and the people around you have of surviving any crisis that comes your way. Learning how to make a first aid kit is a way to start preparing for emergencies ahead of time.
A first aid kit is an essential item to have whether you’re at home, at work, or traveling. You can purchase one premade or build your own. But whichever option you choose, make sure you know exactly what the kit contains and that you customize it according to the location where it’s stored and the people who are likely to use it.
Read on to learn more about the importance of first aid, how to make a first aid kid, and how to customize it according to your specific needs.
First Aid: What It Is & Why It Matters
Before we get into how to make a first aid kit, it’s helpful to understand the purpose of first aid and why it’s so important. First aid is given immediately after an emergency has occurred, and it’s often administered by willing bystanders who step in to help while waiting for medical professionals to arrive.
Of course, the ultimate goal of first aid is to save a life — more specifically, to stabilize the emergency victim’s condition until medical professionals can take over. This can mean anything from bandaging a wound to applying a tourniquet to administering CPR.
How quickly a person receives first aid can mean the difference between life and death. So in addition to knowing how to make a first aid kit, knowing how to administer first aid for different types of emergencies is an essential skill for everyone, medical professional or not.
When to Administer First Aid
To know how to make a first aid kit, you need to first anticipate the many types of emergencies that may occur. For example, you may need to administer first aid when a person is:
- Injured (e.g., is bleeding, is burned, has broken bones, has suffered a concussion, etc.)
- Not breathing normally
- Experiencing an allergic reaction
- In shock
- Having a seizure
Having a first aid kit easily accessible wherever you are helps ensure you are prepared to handle these and other emergency situations. However, if you don’t already have a first kit available, you’ll need to know how to make and fill it with the most important supplies.
How to Make a First Aid Kit
The first step in knowing how to make a first aid kit is understanding what types of emergencies you’re most likely to face and what supplies you’d need in each circumstance. The more supplies you have on hand, the better equipped you’ll be to handle whatever emergency comes your way.
Keep in mind that simply having these supplies won’t be very helpful if you don’t know how to use them. Take time to familiarize yourself with each item in your kit as you put it all together. You might even want to print out step-by-step instructions for certain items so you don’t forget when the time comes and tensions are running high.
Finally, be sure to regularly inspect your first aid kit and replace any items that have been used or are no longer in good working condition.
First Aid Kit Supply List
While you want your first aid kit to contain enough supplies to handle an emergency, keep in mind that space is limited. We recommend including limited quantities of the following:
- Various types of bandages, medical tapes, and gauze
- Antibiotic and hydrocortisone ointments
- Emergency blanket
- Cold compress
- Breathing barrier
- Nonlatex gloves
- Oral thermometer
- Instructions for emergency first aid
In addition to these basic supplies, consider specific medical conditions you or people in your household or workplace have. What emergency supplies would be useful in case of an emergency related to those conditions? For example, someone with a severe allergy may need an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen).
Customizing Your First Aid Kit
Since some emergencies may be more common in certain situations than in others (such as those caused by workplace-specific hazards), it’s important to know how to make a first aid kit that’s customized to the location where it’s stored.
When customizing your first aid kit according to your home, workplace, or travel needs, consider the following questions:
- How much space do you have? Where the kit is stored impacts how much space you have and thereby how many supplies you can include. A travel first aid kit, for example, needs to be light enough to carry with you, while a home or workplace first aid kit can be a little larger and heavier.
- Who is likely to use the first aid kit? Customize the kit with supplies that are tailored to the people who will use it. How old are they? Do they have any health conditions that require special supplies, medicines, or other accommodations?
- What location-specific hazards do you anticipate or regularly encounter? As you tailor your first aid kit according to its location, consider the types of emergencies that are most likely to occur there. What supplies would you need in those specific situations that you might not need elsewhere?
- What written information would be helpful to include? In an emergency, the more information you have available, the less you have to remember. Include written instructions for how to use the emergency supplies, important contact information, and any other information you would need to access quickly in an emergency.
Even if you purchase a premade first aid kit, it’s a good idea to add custom items that are tailored to your specific needs. Then, once you have your first aid kit stocked and customized, be sure to store it somewhere that is easily accessible and regularly inspect it for items that need to be discarded and replaced.
Be Prepared With a Well-Stocked First Aid Kit
Whether you’re at home, traveling, or at work, having a well-stocked first aid kit on hand can save lives. Learning how to make a first aid kit and what supplies to include is the first step to ensuring you have everything you need when disaster strikes.
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