Whether your first aid kit is the size of a box of Band-Aids or large enough to outlive the Zombie Apocalypse, it occasionally needs to be reviewed and streamlined. Here’s a few tips to make it more efficient and have quick, easy access to everything.
MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE
A first aid kit should be easily accessible. If at home, keep it in a hall closet, bathroom, or someplace where everyone (except little children) can reach it. If at work, store it in an obvious, well-marked place. Please remember to let non-residents know where it is (such as babysitters, interns, etc.).
A first aid kit should also be easily transportable. Make it small, such as an easy-to-carry box, or a bag with a carry strap. In most cases, emergencies will happen away from convenient spots, so transportability is key.
Consider a toolbox, a plastic storage container (with or without handle), a drawstring bag, small luggage, or a fishing kit as good options.
Whenever possible, make your items small enough to easily fit in the kit. This may involve putting items in travel-size containers or using smaller portions. It is important though to keep the precautions and instructions of each item accessible. Consider purchasing unit doses or small portion sizes of medicines and creams. Also, make sure to properly label all items if they are out of their original containers. If they have extra precautions, such as don’t get in your eyes, add that and recommendations on what to do.
MAKE A LIST OF EXPIRATION DATES
If you have items in your first aid kit that have an expiration date, make a list. Write down the item and the date it expires. Leave room beside the date. This is to allow the addition of new dates, as you replace those items.
Important: before disposing of original containers, document the expiration date of the item.
GROUP LIKE ITEMS TOGETHER
As you assemble this kit, remember to group similar items together.
For wound care, you would want your gloves and gauze together. Band-Aids, antibiotic creams/spray, and wrap should be together as well. Have a disposable bag handy for clean up. Hand sanitizer should not be far away.
This grouping does not have to be complicated. Just make it make sense.
LABEL, LABEL, LABEL!
While you may be the one assembling the kit, you may not be the one using it. Label for easy use. While specific labeling devices are available, they are not necessary. A permanent marker and tape go a long way. Many storage bags have areas to mark. Boxes
can be labeled on both ends. Key chains are also useful and make help with further streamlining—such as color coding.
AVOID REDUNDANT ITEMS
Streamline your kit by avoiding doubling up on items that do similar functions.
Instead of having bottles of both Hydrogen Peroxide and Alcohol, choose Alcohol wipes and travel-size Hydrogen Peroxide. Instead of having Triple Antibiotic Cream (which does present some allergy issues for some), choose hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes.
PACK OTHER IMPORTANT ITEMS
While we do want to streamline the first aid kit, don’t forget to pack other important items
Emergency contact information and phone numbers
Address and Phone Number for the location
Pen, paper, and a permanent marker
Cutting tool, such as scissors or multi-purpose tool
Instructional cards, such as pictures of CPR, Heimlich maneuver, etc.
Trash bags and zip-close bags
Whistle (to help others locate you)
Blog information by: Sheila Cathcart, ATC