A cornerstone of every disaster plan should be the first-aid kit. Knowing ahead of time what first aid supplies to include in your kit will ensure that you have everything you need during a disaster, without overloading your kit with too much.
Putting Together Your First Aid Kit
During a disaster such as an earthquake, a tornado, a hurricane or a fire, you’ll want to be able to access a first aid kit to help treat any injuries or illnesses you encounter during this emergency. Your disaster plan first aid kit should be in a lightweight container with a handle so that you can grab it in a hurry. You should store it in an out-of-the-way location that’s easy to access, such as under a piece of furniture or in a cupboard or closet.
The Must-Have First Aid Supplies
Filling your first aid kit with the following supplies will help prepare you for a wide range of injuries and illnesses that might occur during a disaster until you can seek professional medical attention:
- Bandages of multiple sizes (you can often purchase a box with multiple sizes included), including finger size as well as knee and elbow size
- Antibiotic ointment, at least one tube
- Moist towelettes with sterilizing alcohol, to clean dirt off of wounds
- Hydrogen peroxide, to sterilize wounds
- Sterile gauze
- Compression (elastic) bandages
- Medical tape
- Pain reliever (your choice of acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc.)
- Aspirin (for pain relief, but also to take when suspecting a heart attack)
- Tweezers (for getting splinters out)
- Vinyl or latex gloves (to wear when treating wounds)
- Cooling packs (that cool when exposed to air)
- Small splints
- CPR barrier device
Don’t Be Tempted to Use Your Kit Unnecessarily
The first aid kit you put together as part of your disaster plan should remain just that—the kit you can grab in a hurry during an emergency. If you don’t get your cupboards stocked with the medicine and first aid supplies you might need throughout the year, it can be tempting to unearth your disaster first aid kit and take some supplies from it. However, if you don’t immediately replace them, you won’t have a fully stocked kit during a fire, tornado, hurricane, earthquake or similar emergency. Have doubles of all of the first aid supplies in your kit on hand so that you can leave your disaster kit alone until you need it.
Refreshing the First Aid Kit
You should examine your first aid kit at least twice a year to make sure that none of your first aid supplies have expired. Supplies like medicines and ointments have expiration dates, after which they’ll be less effective, if effective at all. Having expired supplies will undermine your efforts. Since it can be easy to forget about your kit, since you probably won’t use it much if it’s a part of your disaster plan and not your daily routine, remind yourself with a note on your calendar.
Putting together a well-stocked first aid kit should be one of the first steps you take when putting together your disaster plan. Choosing the right first aid supplies can help prepare you for the worst case scenario.