First aid kits are critical to have in the home, the car, at school, and in the workplace.
During a large-scale emergency or natural disaster, medical personnel and first responders may be overwhelmed and unable to attend to all the medical emergencies in a timely manner. Having a fully-stocked and updated first aid kit will not just give you peace of mind but it may become life-saving in times of crisis.
Below you will find a complete first aid kit checklist, as well as a contents list where you can add the expiration and rotation dates of your kit’s items. Note that having the knowledge of performing basic first aid is as important as, if not more important than, having the supplies on hand when you need them.
Which items should go in a first aid kit?
First aid kits should contain the necessary items to help treat minor ailments and help address major injuries or infections.
As for the most crucial items, you should have something to:
- Treat burns, such as water-jel burn gel.
- Control bleeding, such as wound packing to help the blood clot, a compression bandage, an ace wrap, and for major bleeding, a tourniquet.
- Stabilize sprains and fractures, such as a SAM splint, ace wrap, and medical tape.
Making your own first aid kit versus buying one
When it comes to purchasing a kit or making your own, the choice is yours.
The main benefit of making your own kit is that you have control of what you put in it, especially if you prefer to use certain brands or products.
The main benefit of buying a kit is that it’s easy and generally the cheaper option. Having to buy bandages, gauze pads, wipes, and all the other 60+ items in your kit can be overwhelming and expensive. Buying a pre-made kit solves that problem for you! A lot of people find it more convenient to buy a kit and personalize it by adding a few of their own items in order to meet their specific needs.
If you’re interested in buying a kit, this is a great option.
How often do first aid supplies need to be replaced?
Your first aid kit needs to be inspected periodically to ensure that all of its contents will be in optimal condition on the day you need to use them.
Go through your kit every six months and check for signs of deterioration. This includes, but is not limited to: items that have expired or are due to expire, a product that looks damaged, discolored or is opened, wet items that appear to be dry (such as wipes), dry items that appear to be wet (due to condensation), rust, and cracks.
When inspecting your first aid supplies, you should also make sure that your medical insurance information, primary doctor’s information, and health record is up to date.
Determine whether you prefer to make your own first aid kit or buy one. Either way, we suggest personalizing it.
Below you will find a checklist to help you sort which items you already have and which ones you need to get.
You will also find a contents list. Go through each item and write down their respective expiration dates.
Use the contents list as a reference for when you need to update items in the future.
Learn and practice first aid techniques
I highly recommended that you learn to use the contents of your kit to perform basic first aid. Contact your local fire department for information on upcoming courses. There are many books, apps, and online resources to take advantage of as well. Keep a portable first aid handbook in your kit for future reference.