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First Aid Kits

Unexpected injuries often arise from everyday hazards like splinters, broken glass, hot surfaces, and sharp objects. You may not be able to prevent every accident, but you can be prepared to respond immediately with a properly equipped first aid kit. Even minor injuries, when left untreated, can become infected and lead to complications. With a first aid kit, you have the tools at hand to prevent further injury and promote healing. The American Red Cross recommends storing first aid kits in your home, car, office, and any other property you frequent.

Keep First Aid Kits Ready

The following items belong in every first aid kit:

  • absorbent compress dressings
  • adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • adhesive cloth tape
  • antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • antiseptic wipe packets
  • packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • space blanket
  • breathing barrier with one-way valve
  • instant cold compress
  • pair of large non-latex gloves
  • hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • scissors
  • roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • oral thermometer (non-mercury/non glass)
  • triangular bandages
  • tweezers
  • first aid instruction booklet
  • emergency phone numbers (police, fire department, local security service)

Ready-made first aid kits can be purchased at your local drugstore, or you can collect the above items individually and keep them in a waterproof box or bag. Make sure to add special medications, inhalers, or autoinjectors for family members with asthma, allergies, or other conditions. Each of your first aid kits should be customized to fit your family's unique needs; stock all of the items your family members might need in the event of a medical emergency.

Clearly mark your first aid kits and store them in readily accessible locations. Many families choose to keep a first aid kit in the kitchen, but there should also be first aid kits in cars, boats, recreational vehicles, and other places you regularly spend time. Make sure that every family member knows where each kit is stored. Check your kits at least once a year to make sure none of the items are used or expired, and replace anything that is missing or running low.

Know How to Use the Contents of Your First Aid Kit

Having access to a well-prepared first aid kit isn't enough if you don't know how to properly use the items to treat minor injuries. Ensure that all family members understand how to properly use the items in the first aid kit — also teach your children how to treat a minor wound. If someone around you suffers a cut, scrape, or skin abrasion, first judge the severity of the wound. Determine whether it can be covered with a bandage or dressed with a compress, or if it requires the attention of a medical professional. If the wound can be treated without a doctor, follow these three steps:

  1. After putting on a pair of non-latex gloves, clean the wound with a saline solution or antiseptic wipes.
  2. Apply pressure with a piece of cloth or paper to the site of the wound to stop the bleeding and then dab antibiotic ointment onto the wound.
  3. Use a bandage or cut a dressing to completely cover the wound. Finally, use adhesive tape to keep the bandage from falling off.

Keep an eye on the wound, and replace the bandage every few hours, repeating each step of the dressing process.

Educating children about unfamiliar first aid materials is important as well. Explain that space blankets are used to cover someone suffering from hypothermia to contain body heat. Demonstrate how breathing barriers are used to deliver rescue breathing, or enroll older children in a CPR course. Show every member of the family the first aid instruction booklet in which they can look up each item in the kit and read how it is properly used.

About U.S. Security Associates

U.S. Security Associates (USA) is one of North America's largest security companies, with 160 locally-responsive offices providing premier national security services and global consulting and investigations to customers in a range of industries. Recognized for world class customer service, leading-edge technology, and an enterprise approach to risk management, USA offers optimized security solutions to meet specific customer needs. USA is committed to building quality security and risk management programs that are Safe. Secure. Friendly.® The Securing Knowledge series is part of the extensive and growing library of reference and training tools that contribute to USA's award-winning customer service and benchmark security programs. USA's investment in training and development resources is reflected not only by BEST Awards from the American Society for Training & Development, consistent ranking on the Training magazine Top 125, and technology-driven quality management system, but also by the company's leadership team, security officers, and service excellence on a daily basis.

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