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Preparing A First-aid Kit

In today's world, so many of us spend long hours in the car commuting, running errands, and vacationing. It makes sense to be prepared for an emergency by having a well-stocked first aid kit in your car, in addition to having one in your house.

You can buy a first aid kit already assembled, but you'll save money by assembling your own. The benefit is that you can customize it to your family's needs.

If you have certain medical conditions in your family, include their special items in the kit, should their needs arise in an emergency situation.

The Red Cross's Prepare.org recommends that a first aid kit include:

  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • 2-inch sterile gauze pads
  • 4-inch sterile gauze pads
  • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
  • Triangular bandages
  • 2-inch sterile roller bandages
  • 3-inch sterile roller bandages
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Needle
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Antiseptic
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue blades
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves
  • Sunscreen
  • Non-prescription drugs
  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

Use a watertight container to store these items in your car. Small heavy-gauge zippered bags can hold the bandages and keep them dry.

For the kit you keep in the house, you might store these items in a plastic bin with an airtight seal. Make sure that it's well labeled, and that every member of the family knows where it is.

In addition to the list of first aid supplies for the car, you might want to also have on hand a roadside emergency kit. Until you get that together, have on hand a flashlight with extra batteries, bottles of drinking water, a blanket, and trash bags.

Other helpful items to include in the first aid kit for the car are a basic guide book for administering first aid, snacks such as crackers or granola bars and juice boxes, and a few other non-perishable foods in case you end up stranded on the road for an extended length of time. It's also useful to be trained in CPR.

Emergency preparedness is everyone's responsibility. Taking the proactive step of preparing a first aid kit in advance and keeping one in your home and in your car is a good first step in your overall preparedness plan.

Other Resources

The American Red Cross is an excellent resource for learning about emergency preparedness. They provide CPR training, several books on administering first aid, and they sell first aid kits and CPR masks.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a website that's full of emergency preparedness resources. Download and print a copy their free Are You Ready? guide.

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