First Aid Kits & Other Emergency Must-Haves
Emergencies can strike at any time. That’s why it is essential to be prepared at home and on-the-go to keep yourself and your family safe. While some emergencies require medical attention, many common illnesses and injuries can be effectively treated at home with the right supplies. Fully stocked first-aid kits should be kept in your home, office, and car to help keep you prepared in the event of an emergency. In addition to first-aid kits, emergency supply kits can be kept on hand to help you stay safe during natural disasters or power outages. Let’s take a look at the most critical first-aid kit supplies and emergency must-haves and tips to help keep your supplies fully stocked and accessible.
First-Aid Kit Essentials
When it comes to first-aid kits, you have options. Pre-made kits can be purchased at local drugstores or online at places like Amazon or the Red Cross shop. You can also make your first-aid kits. Purchasing first-aid kit essentials and adding medical devices or medications specific to your needs can help you build the perfect kit for your family. Before we jump into the supplies that should always be stocked in your kit, let’s go over some tips to help you prepare your environment for an emergency.
Helpful Tips for Emergencies At Home
Before you prepare your at-home emergency kits, it’s crucial to focus on the specific use for each kit. For example, first-aid kits serve a different purpose from emergency preparedness kits. Before you begin to pack your kits, consider the specific needs you and your family may have when using each one.
Most first-aid kits are used to treat:
Travel kits might also be used to treat:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Sore throats
- Nasal Congestion
- Minor aches and pains
In addition to first-aid kits for your home, office, or car, many people create activity or vehicle specific kits. First-aid kits can be targeted toward activities where injuries may occur, such as hiking or camping. You might also have a separate first-aid kit for your trailer, mobile home, vacation home, or boat. Each kit should target the needs and conditions specific to its use. A boating first-aid kit, for example, should be kept in a waterproof bag.
Once you decide what your kits will be used for and purchase the items specific to each kit, here are some helpful tips to properly store and maintain them.
- Check your kits regularly to monitor expiration dates. Replace out-of-date contents to ensure the effectiveness of your supplies.
- Restock your kit regularly. Try to replenish your supply each time something is used.
- Store your kits out of reach of children, but in a place that is easily accessible to adults. An excellent option for homes is the kitchen.
- Inform your family, babysitters, and other caregivers about the presence of your kits and its location.
- Keep a list of emergency numbers, medical history, medications, doctors, and insurance information for each member of your family in the kit to give to medical responders in case an emergency requires a call to 911.
- Talk to your family’s healthcare providers about additional essentials you should keep in your kit for the specific needs of family members with chronic conditions or regular medication use.
Vital First-Aid Kit Supplies for Every Family
The American Red Cross recommends that your first-aid kits be stocked with basic essentials for a family of four. This includes:
- 5×9 inch absorbent compress dressings (at least 2)
- At least 25 adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- Adhesive cloth tape
- Five antibiotic ointment packets
- Five antiseptic wipe packets
- Two packets of aspirin
- An emergency blanket
- A breathing barrier
- Instant cold compresses
- Two pairs of non-latex gloves (stock with size large to fit most)
- Two hydrocortisone ointment packets
- 3-inch gauze roll
- One roller bandage
- Five 3×3 sterile gauze pads
- Five 4×4 sterile gauze pads
- An oral thermometer
- Two triangular bandages
- Antiseptic solution, like hydrogen peroxide
- A splint
- A flashlight with extra batteries
- Hand sanitizer
- Aloe vera gel or burn ointment
- A first-aid emergency guide
You can also keep medications for common illnesses on hand, especially if you are packing a travel kit. These medications should include:
- An antihistamine such as diphenhydramine
- Extra auto-injector epinephrine (EpiPen) if necessary
- Cough and cold medications
If you or your family members take medication regularly, keep an extra dose of medicines in your kit, if possible. Talk to your healthcare provider about medical bracelets to help keep emergency responders informed if you become unresponsive. You can also get stickers to put on the front windows of your home or your car windows that let emergency responders know someone has a medical condition. Most are accompanied by a packet that allows you to write down your medical history and current medications. You can also add things like sunscreen and insect repellant for travel or activity-specific kits. No matter what type of first-aid kit you are making, choose a container that is roomy, easy to carry, and simple to open.
Emergency Must-Haves to Keep at Home
In addition to injury and illness, having kits for natural disasters and power outages at home can be helpful to your family. According to Ready, a national public service campaign for preparedness, your at-home emergency kits should have enough food, water, and essentials to supply your family for 72 hours. These emergency kits should include:
- One gallon of water per person, per day
- Non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
- First-aid kit
- Cash and change in a waterproof container
- A manual can opener for non-perishable food
- Dust masks for contaminated air
- A wrench, pliers, or other tools to turn off utilities
- Duct tape
- Battery-powered or solar phone chargers
- Garbage bags
- Moist towelettes
- Prescription medications
- Baby supplies
- Feminine supplies or personal hygiene supplies
- Family medical documents, copies of insurance policies, and other vital records (keep them in a waterproof container)
- Pet food and supplies
- Hand warmers and extra blankets
- Fire extinguishers
- Extra clothing
- Two-way radios
- Games and activities for children
Since this type of kit requires a more abundant supply of essentials, a plastic bin can serve as an excellent option for a container. Keep your container in a cool, dry place. Make sure it is tightly sealed. Like with a first-aid kit, check your supplies regularly for expiration dates. As your needs change, update your emergency kit.
Create a Plan and Know the Location of the Nearest ER
In addition to preparing your home, office, or car with the essentials you need to care for yourself or your family in an emergency, it’s also wise to have an emergency plan in place. Who should your children call in an emergency? Where is the nearest ER? Does it accept your current insurance? What should you do during a power outage if your medications require refrigeration? All of these questions should be considered before an emergency strikes.
To be even more prepared for an emergency at home, consider taking a CPR or AED class offered through your local Red Cross. Finally, take some time to drive the fastest route to the closest emergency center with your family, so you know where to go. iCare ER and Urgent Care facilities have convenient locations in Frisco, Fort Worth, and Argyle, Texas. With both urgent care and emergency room facilities, our team is equipped to treat most injuries and illnesses, within minutes, at any of our locations. Find our closest location for fast, convenient care or give us a call at (214) 407-8668.