Basic first aid kit – What should you include?

basic first aid

This article looks at what a business should include in a basic first aid kit, along with a list of injuries each item addresses.

Stocking a basic first aid kit

In a typical first aid kit, your stock list can be split into three categories: dressings, necessities, and extras.

Dressings are used to cover up and protect wounds. Different types of dressings are used for different injuries. The types you should look to include are as follows:

  • Plasters: used for small cuts and grazes
  • Sterile pads: these can be used to cushion wounds, and are attached with tape. In a pinch, clean materials like a scarf can be used
  • Sterile wound dressing: used to apply pressure to larger wounds, and are a sterile pad attached to a bandage
  • Triangular bandages: large triangle-shaped bandages which are used to create slings, or dressings for burns and wounds if they are sterile
  • Roller bandages: long, thing, rolled bandages that are used to hold dressings in place, reduce swelling, and apply pressure to wounds
  • Sterile eye dressings: dressings used to protect and stem bleeding from injuries to the eye

The necessities include items that are required to safely and appropriately treat injuries and apply the dressings, as well as medicines which are useful for treating wounds. These items include:

  • Disposable gloves: used to reduce infection risks when treating wounds and dealing with bodily fluids, medical waste, or dressings
  • Face shields: used to reduce infection risks when giving rescue breaths during the application of CPR
  • Sticky/adhesive tape: to hold dressings or the ends of bandages in place. Pins and clips are also used to fasten loose bandage ends
  • Painkillers: over the counter tablets to provide pain relief until EMTs arrive
  • Distilled water: to help clean hands, cool wounds, and put out small fires
  • Alcohol-free wipes: used for the cleaning of skin around wounds
  • Gauze pads: able to be used as a kind of dressing, or swabs to clean around wounds
  • Scissors/shears: used to cut sterile pads, bandages, tape, or items of clothing to the right length or get access to wounds
  • Alcohol gel: cleans your hands before and after administering aid

Stocking a first aid kit with these items means you have a well-stocked kit with which to address most injuries you come across.

The “extras category” are things that you can make do without, but by including them, your kit allows you to deal with a wider range of scenarios. These can include:

  • A torch: allows you to attract help, warn others you are nearby, and be able to perform first aid in the dark. Attracting help and warning others can also be achieved through including a whistle
  • A blanket: keeps people warm, a key part of treating hypothermia
  • Kitchen film: able to dress and protect burns and scalds
  • Survival bags: a kind of sleeping bag which protects an injured person from the elements until such a time where they can be rescued
  • High vis jacket: useful when attending a roadside accident, helping to draw attention to you and warn others you are nearby
  • Warning triangles: signs which can be placed on the road to warn drivers of the accident, and give them time to slow down or give a wide berth

TutorCare offer a number of work based courses covering numerous workplace dilemmas. From our Emergency First Aid at Work course to Paaediatric First Aid, we offer in-house, and online first aid training alternatives.

Along with First Aid at Work Refresher courses for those that wish to renew existing certification we also run Train the Trainer First Aid programmes and specialised modules such as Anaphylaxis First Aid.

Alternatively follow the link listed here for a comprehensive breakdown of all of our First Aid Training Courses.

Further Reading:

The NHS website contains a lot of information about first aid in general, and on many more specific aspects of the process: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/first-aid/

Likewise, the website for St. John Ambulance provides a lot of information about different first aid techniques and how to properly prepare a first aid kit: http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/first-aid-advice/first-aid-techniques.aspx

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