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Monday, 13 May 2013

FAK - First Aid Kits.

So are you prepared for injury, accident and incident?

You could have a quick and basic test here (courtesy of St Johns Ambulance):

What medical emergencies am I really worried about and how am I going to manage these until further support arrives?
  1. Family members have serious allergies to nuts and other items.
  2. Some family members are insulin dependant diabetics
  3. Young family members may be prone to falls, causing cuts, grazes and other wounds
  4. Therefore - concussion, choking hazards, sprains or breaks may occurr.
  5. Hypothermia due to being exposed to the elements
  6. Dehydration - as above, or when on long hikes etc.
  7. Infection caused by exposure to bacteria or viruses.

What do I have to help manage these issues?

In my everyday rucksack, I have a basic first aid kit:
This includes:
  1. pic 1; Adrenaline Pen.
    Prescribed Peadiatric Adrenaline (pic 1) for the treatment of anaphylaxis caused by severe allergic reaction.
  3. I carry various glucose forms for hypogyclemic incidents (and avoidance), I also ensure others are reminded to carry adequate amounts of medication such as S/C Insulin sets.
    3.  The various items in my first aid kit include: (pic 2)
  • gloves, alcohol swabs and hand gel.
  • various waterproof plasters
  • blister care padding.
  • various sized dressings.
  • triangular bandage.
  • regular bandage.
  • surgical tape.
  • foil blanket.
  • butterfly sutures.
  • small and basic torniquet - NOT for emergency prolonged use.
pic 2; various sized dressings, plasters and basic first aid items
 4.  Basic first aid instruction free from St Johns Ambulance shows how to support someone with concussion, choking, with sprains or breaks.  I strongly recommend attending a first aid course and if this can be arranged through your work then do so.
I think this video by the British Heart Foundation is great, it shows the basics for CPR and hopefully anyone can do this until more advanced equipment and skilled technicians arrive or you arrive at A&E department.

 5.  Hypothermia is best avoided (in my opinion) by appropriate planning and proper preperation.  Its important to ensure that your core temperature remains stable and around 37'c to maintain homeostasis.  I include with my FAK; foil blankets, extra fluids, electrolyte powders, emergency 2 person shelter and clothing appropriate for the environment I am heading to. i.e. waterproofs, extra fleeces, hat and gloves, also that the equipment or clothing reflects the environment and tasks being done.  Likewise, avoiding heat exhaustion (hyperthermia) by utilising shade, and remaining hydrated in a similar way.

 6.  For maintaining hydration I make sure I have plenty of fluids with me, and ways to gather, contain and boil water where required.  I have a few sachets of electolytes for serious dehydration situations or for replacing salts after a long hard days hike.

    7.  I have gloves, alcohol swabs and hand cleansing gel.  Gloves are placed so they can be reached first prior to placing any hand on to an injury, this protects you and the injured person from possible contamination and infection.

I dont particpate in shooting or hunting so I have not included items for gun shot wounds, however I am contemplating including some 'quick clot' to help with heavy lacerations and blood loss. 

As indicated above, my kit is intended to support with a basic first aid need whilst waiting for emergency response team, so a fully charged mobile or other ways of hailing help (whistle, signal mirror, flares etc) are an essential part of a first aid kit depending on your situation.
Medications I often include in my kits are:

Paracetamol (+ childrens doses) - for pain relief and to help lower high temperature.
Ibuprofen (+ childrens doses) - for pain relief and to help reduce swelling.
Buscopan - for stomach cramps.
Ranitadine - for severe indigestion.
Calrityn (+ piriton childrens doses) - for allergic reactions.
Immodium - to help with diarrhoea.
Salbutamol Inhaler - for treatment of asthma (prescribed)
Dextrose Glucose Tablets - for energy and low sugar situations.

Other items may  include:

Hydrocortisone cream - for stings or small allergic rashes.
Antiseptic spray or Sudocrem - for an added wound cleaning ability.
Foot Powder - for hygiene and foot care after hiking, especially in damp conditions.

Sun block - with a high SPF.

Apart from where prescribed, these are readily available over the counter so I only need to carry small amounts generally.  I am also devising a table to print out, laminate and include but my printer has died on me.  I'd like to show the name, dose (adult and child), side effects, desired effects and warnings of each medicine included.  Make sure you note down what medicines you take and when.  (obviously have consent where needed if giving medicines to others....)
Its so important to know what you are doing with medicines, I often see on forums people misusing medications - this can be harmful and dangerous.  I feel information is best found here about medications.  I recommend looking up a medicine and checking its PIL (patient information leaflet) and making sure you are aware of its side effects and contraindications, as well as how to use it most effectively and with the least harm.
I have access to blood pressure monitors, blood glucose monitors, stethoscope and other assessment tools.  I have undertaken training and qualification to use these items effectively.  It is important to know what you are doing and what to do with the results shown.
I have a larger first aid kit in my car.....

this contains:

  • tweezers
  • magnifying glass (many uses, in here for use with tweezers)
  • scissors
  • steri strips and stitch cutter
  • medicine spoons
  • medicine oral syringe
  • micropore surgical tape
  • electrical tape ( you just never know when might need this)
  • vaseline - for those lubricating moments.  And many other uses again...

And a larger selection and quantity of dressings, bandages, plasters etc:

In response to a posted question, I  have added this item:
Face Mask
I have one in my car and one at home.  Latest guidelines ( these are updated more frequently than my blog) suggest breaths can be avoided if you dont feel confident administering them.  Giving CPR alone is an exhausting thing to do.

So this is my first aid kit, the smaller is on me when outdoors, the larger isnt far away in the car.
So what do you think?  What have I missed?
Please leave comments for me to continue developing this kit...
Many thanks for reading...EJS


  1. Brilliant idea to put the little questionnaire on from St Johns Ambulance - erm, I only got 3/5, which was a bit shocking.

    Your EDC kit and your car kit both look really comprehensive to me. I don't have kids, and can't carry much, so I more or less make do with ibuprofen, imodium and some plasters.

    I'd say definitely include the hydrocortisone. Do you need anything for hayfever etc? Or a Deep Heat type product for muscle sprains? If you're prepared to do CPR and breathe, you should maybe think about those protective sheets you can get, that stop cross-infection. And if you've got kids out in the long grass, you maybe need some tick remover tweezers (ahem - you have tweezers in the car kit, I've just seen. Comment left in just in case :) ). Great kit! Thanks for posting.

  2. hi, thanks for this, post has been updated