Why Your First Aid Kit Should Contain a CPR Mask

Posted on May 16, 2017. No comments

cpr mask-First-Aid-Kit--First Aide Shop

Many people have the strange idea that CPR is too complicated or risky to be attempted by the average person in the street and should only be done by a trained professional. This notion is hard to dispel, so we’ll say here what experts say: any attempt at performing CPR is better than none. Being trained is great, for sure, but don’t be afraid to make an effort.

While the American Heart Association says (correctly) that chest compressions are the most crucial aspect of CPR, they also recognize (correctly again) that doing compressions with mouth-to-mouth is even better.

But some people are reluctant to perform mouth-to-mouth, even when a life is on the line, because they’re concerned about possible infection or any blood or fluid in and on the victim. This is why your first aid kit should contain a CPR mask. It provides a barrier to ease those fears and objections, while increasing the effectiveness of CPR.

The Importance of a CPR Barrier Device

The aim of a CPR mask with a face shield or barrier is to prevent cross contamination. The person administering CPR should be protected against infection and any blood or other fluids that may be on the victim. While undergoing resuscitation, there is always the chance that the patient may eject body fluids through their mouth or nose. Meanwhile, it’s equally important that the patient be shielded from any germs the resuscitator may be carrying.

A CPR mask removes the risk of exposure to fluids, germs and viruses entirely.

A ‘Sheet’ Barrier is All You Need Out and About

There are two types of barrier devices for CPR: a molded mask and a flat barrier. No regular person is likely to carry a bulky molded mask in their first aid kit. This is the kind of barrier used by EMS (paramedics) and emergency rooms. It fits over the nose and mouth, sealing onto the face. Then the rescuer blows through a one-way valve. It’s a great device, but it takes up space and it requires training to use effectively.

A flat barrier consists of a sheet of plastic that covers the patient’s mouth and nose. The rescuer blows into a one-way valve through the middle of it. This is far easier to use and the entire device is very compact.

A Keychain CPR Mask Will Fit in ANY First Aid Kit

The American Red Cross Society recommends a CPR mask that has a face barrier sheet and a one-way resuscitation valve, and is also small enough to attach to a keyring. This is the kind of CPR mask that can fit anywhere, including in a first aid kit. You can even buy several of them inexpensively and keep a stock. (Each mask is good for one use.)

Even better, such a portable CPR mask includes simple instructions and a face guide drawn on the barrier sheet itself. This is outstanding help for anyone who has not had CPR training.

No Excuses

So, if you carry a first aid kit regularly, or even a trauma kit, that means you are prepared to help others at a moment’s notice. Be sure you’re prepared for every possibility. Fitting a keyring CPR mask into your kit is a breeze and could save a life!

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10 First Aid Myths That Could Make Matters Worse

Posted on May 08, 2017. No comments


Rumors, myths and gossip. We hear some almost every day. But if we then spread that unfounded information, we can cause people great harm. That goes double for the many first aid myths that still float around society. Doing the wrong thing can have serious repercussions.

Most people have never taken a first aid course, so when a medical emergency arises they only have memories of stuff they’ve heard somewhere. Sure, they can look online for answers, but along with the credible sources of first aid information, there are too many that give incorrect advice.

Let’s dispel some first aid myths once and for all. A good start in this area is to buy a first aid kit and look through what’s inside, because doing that will tell you plenty about proper first aid procedures.

MYTH: Apply Butter to Soothe a Burn

Any oily substance applied to a burn will worsen it, increase the risk of infection, and impede healing. Treat all burns with cool water first. For serious burns, consult a doctor, paramedics or ER professionals.

MYTH: Apply Ice to a Burn

Ice will cause further damage to burnt skin and increase the severity of scarring. A burn should be left open until the pain stops. Cool water is what to use.

MYTH: Tilting the Head Back for a Nosebleed

Tilting the head back is definitely a myth. What it can do is potentially fill the throat with blood. Lean forward, pinch the nose just below the bridge, and hold it closed until the bleeding stops.

MYTH: Give Alcohol to Someone with Hypothermia

That stuff about giving a cold person brandy or rum is just plain wrong and harmful. Alcohol dilates the blood vessels which will cause heat to disappear faster through the skin. Don’t be too concerned by shivering – it’s a natural response by the body trying to raise its temperature. Alcohol can suppress that response. Give the patient warm water, soup, tea or coffee and pack warm clothes or blankets around them.

MYTH: Suck the Venom Out of a Snake Bite

Did this crazy first aid myth come from cowboy movies? It’s impossible to suck out the venom. It is not contained at the bite. It spreads into the bloodstream. Instead, call 911 immediately. Then keep the patient calm and lying down still, as any movement will speed up the heart rate and spread the venom faster.

MYTH: Induce Vomiting When Poison is Ingested

Inducing vomiting is no longer recommended by health professionals. Immediately call 911 or Poison Control or your doctor for advice.

MYTH: Breathe Into a Paper Bag When Hyperventilating

Shortness of breath is not always hyperventilation. The person could be having an asthma or heart attack, in which case breathing into a paper bag will worsen the situation. Assist the person to become calm and breathe more slowly.

MYTH: Restrain a Person Having a Seizure and Use a Bite Block

Neither of these measures is recommended during a seizure. Keep your fingers out of the person’s mouth, put him on his side, and clear the area around him to prevent harm.

MYTH: Treat Sprains with Warmth

Who knows how this first aid myth started? But apparently some people still do it. Warmth will only increase the swelling. Apply ice (or plunge the injury into cold water) and a compression bandage, then elevate it.

MYTH: Urine to Reduce the Pain of a Jellyfish Sting

What Joey did to Monica in Friends was wrong. Urine on a jellyfish sting could cause more pain. Instead, rinse the area with seawater and gently scrape the area to dislodge the jellyfish stingers. Only then apply vinegar and/or calamine lotion.

These are just a few of the many first aid myths that continue to endure. All of them are useless, and some can be downright harmful. PLEASE… learn the right procedures, don’t listen to rumors, and always keep a proper first aid kit handy wherever you go.

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7 CPR Myths Debunked

Posted on Apr 26, 2017. No comments

7 CPR Myths Debunked

Let’s start with a fact: CPR SAVES LIVES.

Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time. Medical professionals are unanimous in stating that any CPR, no matter how imperfect, is better than no CPR at all.

There are many myths and misconceptions around this emergency procedure that make some people afraid of it. Let’s dispel some CPR myths because somebody’s life can depend on getting past that fear.

And while we’re on the subject, carry a certified CPR kit so you’ll be prepared for an emergency.

MYTH - You Need Training to Perform CPR

If you haven’t had any CPR training and you’re alone with a victim whose heartbeat has stopped, call 911 and give CPR the best shot you can. The 911 dispatcher always keeps you on the line and should provide you with instructions! You never know how long it will take for trained medical personnel to reach the scene. Meanwhile, CPR can keep life-saving blood and oxygen circulating through the victim’s body. Every little bit counts. Don’t worry about training. Listen carefully and help. There is much more to lose by holding back.

MYTH – Trying CPR Could Make Things Worse

If someone’s heart has stopped, attempting CPR can hardly make the situation worse. In such a case, CPR is always worth attempting and will definitely not cause more harm. Maybe fast chest compressions can cause some rib damage, but this is not an issue when a life is on the line.

MYTH – You Can Be Sued for Administering CPR

Good Samaritan laws are there to protect you if you provide emergency medical assistance. There is no legal basis that should prevent you from helping a victim of cardiac arrest.

MYTH – The Sole Purpose of CPR is to Get the Heart Beating Again

Granted, the end goal of emergency help is to get the heart beating again, but the primary reason for doing chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth is to keep blood and oxygen circulating in a bid to keep the brain and vital organs alive until more comprehensive treatment can be administered.

MYTH – You Can Contract HIV From Performing CPR

The risk is minimal. That’s a fact. This myth is driven by fear and stops some people from attempting CPR. HIV can be transmitted by blood, semen or vaginal fluid – not saliva.

Of course, sometimes a victim may be bleeding or carrying a disease. But if the victim has significant fluids in the mouth, you need to keep the airway open. This is where carrying a keychain CPR mask with a plastic barrier sheet and a one-way air valve can be enormously helpful.

MYTH – CPR Always Works

Watching movies and TV can make you believe that CPR works every time. What it does is raise a person’s chances of survival. The survival rate of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims who do not receive bystander CPR is about 4%, but goes up to 10% if bystander CPR is started immediately. Chances go up even more when professionals arrive quickly. Every life is important.

MYTH – You Can Gain CPR Certification Online

No, you cannot. You can certainly pick up tips and techniques through online sources, but if you want CPR certification, you can book classes with the Red Cross and the American Heart Association.

So, the message is… Don’t believe the CPR myths, don’t be afraid to have a go, and carry a small CPR mask for emergencies. You can save a life even if you aren’t trained.

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Tips for Assembling an Outdoor Safety Kit

Posted on Apr 15, 2017. No comments

Check List for -First-Aid-Kit Assembly

Getting outside and experiencing our wonderful land is always a joy. But danger is never far away. Whether you’re hiking, backpacking, camping, hunting, hitting the beach or even picnicking, something can go wrong while you’re out and about. Trips and falls, cuts, sticker bushes, bug bites, burns and breaks can all intrude on the experience. The last thing you want is to be both hurt and stranded. Therefore, a portable outdoor safety kit is more than a good idea – it’s a must. You’ll need essential tools, some food, emergency items and, of course, a first aid kit.


The first thing you need to consider for your outdoor safety kit is how you’ll carry it. Start with the first aid kit – that’s an obvious priority – and build from there. Even at this first step, you’re presented with plenty of choices. A humongous first aid kit like they have in parks, zoos, theme parks and EMT vehicles take up more than a backpacks or duffel bag. Pocket kits seem cool at first, but many include barely enough supplies for a splinter. Finding a happy medium between contents and size is the goal. Fitting a first aid kit into a backpack with room to spare is ideal. It doesn’t matter if you’re alone or in a group, choose one that’s light, portable, but also helpful.

Don’t Overstuff

Your outdoor safety kit doesn’t have to be a bugout bag for the apocalypse. Overfilling just makes it heavier. It also makes finding what you need more difficult. Analyze your situation logically. If you’re going for a casual daytime nature hike at your local national park, then you most likely won’t need a tent or cooking supplies let alone water purification tablets, burn gel, and the like. Pack for your immediate need and then add for an extra day or two.

First Aid and Emergency Kit Combined

Your outdoor safety kit needs a well-stocked first aid kit and some helpful survival items. Your best bet is to buy an ANSI-certified emergency preparedness kit that’s carried inside a lightweight, zip up, waterproof cover. It should include items like:

  • Band-Aids and small adhesive dressings in various sizes
  • assorted bandages and gauze
  • antiseptic towelettes, alcohol wipes and insect sting treatments
  • medical tape
  • scissors
  • painkillers
  • cold pack
  • emergency blanket and poncho
  • radio and batteries
  • light stick
  • and so on.

Such a kit will have what you need to administer first aid and handle the elements for a few days until professional assistance arrives or is found.

Trauma Supplies

Serious accidents can happen when you’re in the great outdoors. So many people have suffered or died because they didn’t have a few extra essentials. It takes very little effort to beef up your outdoor safety kit by adding a lightweight portable trauma kit. This would contain specially treated clotting sponges for heavier bleeding, tourniquets, gloves, and a small CPR mask.

Tools of the Trade

The Boy Scouts are right: be prepared. If you’re heading out for a few days, either by yourself or in a group, a few tools and handy items won’t take up huge space or add massive weight to your outdoor safety kit:

  • Bug spray.
  • A good multi-tool that includes a folding saw.
  • Flashlight.
  • Firestarters.
  • Waterproof matches.
  • String.
  • Trail mix and energy bars.
  • Carabiners.
  • Duct tape.
  • A can – great for storing items and also for collecting and boiling water.

These are the kinds of items that won’t overstuff your kit. Avoid adding ‘luxury’ items to it.

If you follow all the advice here, you will have a very useful outdoor safety kit that will serve you well and not be a hassle to carry. Just be sure you buy the best first aid supplies and always tell people where you’re headed and when you’re expected back again.

Be safe out there and enjoy!

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10 First Aid Tips, Tricks and Hacks to Save Time

Posted on Apr 10, 2017. No comments

10 First Aid Tips, Tricks and Hacks to Save Time

Let’s face it. A first aid kit is a definite ‘must have’ in any home and in every car. You never know when something will happen and you will need one. The old Boy Scout motto “Be prepared” is always relevant.

But if you get caught in a situation where you don’t have access to a first aid kit, you can still be prepared. Here are some nifty first aid tips, tricks and hacks that will help in non-emergency situations.

Bacon Makes Everything Better… Even a Nosebleed!

Everyone seems to be bacon crazy these days. So, it makes sense that bacon can be used as a first aid time saver with nosebleeds. Of all the first aid tips in this short eBook, this one was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 2014. (That’s NOT actually a Nobel Prize. The Igs are parody prizes for unusual achievements in scientific research.)

Bacon can help to stop a nose bleeding. Just take some bacon and place it inside the nostril. The bleeding will stop in short order because pork contains natural clotting features. Meanwhile, the salt in the bacon is a desiccant and dries out the area.

Homemade Ice Packs

If you’re short of ice packs around your home, or when a first aid kit’s ice pack is a ‘one use only’ item, there is still a solution. Kids and adults alike are all prone to trips, twists, strains, sprains, falls, bumps and tumbles. Here is a first aid hack for making your own ice packs. Of course, frozen peas in a zip bag are always good, but you may want something reusable.

You’ll Need:

  • Sponges – different sizes and shapes are good
  • Water
  • Zip baggies

Soak the sponges in water and wring out until damp. Place each sponge in a baggie, seal and freeze. That’s it. They’re reusable and you can buy everything you need in a dollar store.

Scrapes and Cuts Holistically (And Cheap)

Most first aid kits you purchase include some sort of antibacterial product. Ointment, hydrogen peroxide and alcohol wipes are common. But what do you do when you run out? This first aid hack is easily created and used on the fly.


  • Salt
  • Water
  • Honey

Heat a cup water until it’s warm to the touch and add a couple of pinches of salt. Stir to dissolve the granules. Use this solution to clean a scrape or cut. Once cleaned, apply honey to the wound. Honey has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It’s also hypoallergenic and the only natural food item that never goes bad.

Keep in mind that this first aid hack is intended only for minor cuts and scrapes. For anything serious, clean the wound with a gentle saline solution, bandage, and seek assistance.

Banana vs. Mosquito Bites

There is nothing pleasant about mosquito bites. They bump up, itch like crazy and are just annoying. Young children especially don’t cope well and want some relief from the persistent itch and irritation. If you don’t have calamine lotion, ice or an ointment, one of the simplest first aid hacks is to rub a banana peel on the bite. The peel has enzymes and minerals that help to neutralize the inflammation and itchiness.

Pineapple for a Bruise

Yes, a tropical fruit first aid hack. If you get a bruise, sprain or strain, or tendonitis or arthritis, often an ice pack or cold pack is the first order of business. After that, without any ointments handy, the delicious pineapple can be a good help in reducing inflammation and swelling. Just to be clear, use the internal flesh of the pineapple; you really don’t want to rub the skin on yourself. Rub the pulp onto the area in question. Even pack some on and hold it in place. The bromelain in the fruit will get into the skin, break down the fluids that accumulate to cause swelling, and the problem should ease faster.

101 Millionth Use for Duct Tape: Prevent Blisters and Chafing

That ever versatile duct tape practically holds the world together. It was crucial in saving the crew of Apollo 13. And it can save you from getting blisters in your shoes, whether they be running shoes or hiking boots or stilettos. Place a strip on your areas of concern – usually, heel, Achilles area and toes - and a “non-chafe” barrier will be formed by this first aid time saver.

Glue for Splinters and Cuts

Plain white glue, like wood glue or the stuff you used in school, is a great first aid hack for splinters. In a pinch, rubber cement could be utilized. If you get a splinter that is difficult to remove and you don’t want to use a pin or needle, apply white glue over the area. When it dries, peel off the glue and your splinter should come with it.

If you get a cut and haven’t a Band Aid or bandage handy, clean the wound as best you can, squeeze it gently together (so it’s not open), then add glue. It can form a temporary seal.

Cuts and Bandages

You can’t have one without the other. If you get a cut, you need to stop the bleeding, seal the wound, and bandage it to keep out infection. If glue isn’t your thing or won’t work quickly enough, try cayenne pepper. Be warned, it will sting or burn like crazy, but the bleeding will stop.

Need a quick bandage? A sanitary napkin (i.e. feminine pad) is great. Better than tissue paper that will tear after it gets blood on it, and certainly better than staining any clothing you use. The absorbency of the pad works incredibly well to soak up blood, prevent seepage, and protect the wound until better aid can be administered.

Hacks for Sunburn Pain

If you get sunburnt, it hurts. Your skin’s pH level is really thrown off by it. Cold water can help somewhat but try vinegar as well. It will help you level out the pH and thus reduce the discomfort. Combine any type of vinegar to equal parts water (1:1) and soak a shirt in that. Wring it out and wear it. It may not smell nice, but you’ll see how fast your sunburn stops hurting.

At home, another first aid time saver for sunburn relief is to fill an ice cube tray with aloe vera liquid and stick it in the freezer. Prepare a couple of trays as summer begins. If sunburn strikes, pop out the aloe vera cubes and rub them over the area.

Basil the Bug Repellent

Maybe this isn’t a first aid tip, but it’s a great prevention measure that really works. Bugs are a force of nature… literally. You want them away from you, especially mosquitoes with the added danger of the Zika virus. The simple item you need: basil. We love it, bugs do not.

Boil some water and add fresh basil leaves. Turn off the burner, cover the pot, and steep the leaves for about three hours. Strain the water and be sure it’s cool. Pour your mixture into a spray bottle from the dollar store and add a few fresh basil leaves. Spray it on your skin to keep bugs away. You can also spray it on clothes and upholstery, and around windows and doors.

Want to make it even more powerful? Add some vodka to the mix.

That’s a few helpful hacks and time savers for first aid. Of course, the best thing you can do is ensure you are never caught short. Order yourself a quality and comprehensive first aid kit now. In fact, order a few – one for home, one for the car, and one for outings.

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The Different First Aid Kits Explained

Posted on Mar 10, 2017. No comments


Every day somebody, somewhere, needs first aid. You know you should keep a good first aid kit on hand, but how do you know which is right for your needs? No two kits are the same. They’re all different. Some are good for basic cuts, scrapes, burns and such, while others are more elaborate. How do you know which one you should have?

When you understand the first aid kit differences out there, you can choose the right match for your needs.


The biggest difference in first aid kits is if they are certified or not. Buy a kit that meets OSHA and ANSI standards (Occupational Health and Safety Act and the American National Standards Institute.) Avoid any kit that is not certified.

ANSI approved kits are separated into Class A and Class B. Class A is for common injuries in a workplace and Class B is for more serious and complex problems.

A Basic Kit for Cuts, Scrapes and Minor Issues

You can find key differences in first aid kits in their intended purposes. A basic kit should be in your bathroom at home, or the kitchen, for treating simple problems like small cuts, scrapes, burns, bumps, bruises,even headaches and nausea. A kit like this is inexpensive, small, portable, and refilled easily. It will contain bandages, salves, aspirin, gauze, cleansing wipes, antiseptic ointment, maybe even a cold pack.

This is the kind of kit you may want to keep in your backpack when out and about. Great for hiking, cycling, picnicking and such.

Multi-Person Kit

Some first aid kits display the number of persons they are designed for. When you see one showing it is for 12 people or 25 people, you know it’s a good choice for work, or church, or a social club, or a sports team.

Trauma Kit

Some people keep multiple first aid kits because they may face situations of different risk. For more severe injuries, a regular kit won’t be enough. They need a trauma kit. The differences in this first aid kit are that it should include tourniquets, gloves and QuikClot sponges for stopping heavy bleeding quickly.

CPR Mask or Bust

Get a first aid kit that includes a CPR mask. It is not mandatory under many standards, but it’s a life-saving device. The small key chain CPR mask used by the American Red Cross is perfect. It fits anywhere, has a one-way air valve and protective barrier, and even includes an instructive guide to help anyone.

Emergency Preparedness Kit

The biggest difference with an emergency kit is that it’s not only for first aid. It’s a catch-all that can have you prepared for almost anything. It might include a radio, emergency blanket, whistle, light, batteries, and waterproof matches, among other items. It’s a must for adding to your bug-out kit you keep outside your home (for earthquakes and such) and for going on long trips or into remote areas.

It’s All in the Packaging

Otherwise,first aid kit differences come down to what they’re contained in. Small zip-up cases are portable and can fit in bags, glove compartments, and so on. Hard case kits are for visible mounting or storage.

Like the Boy Scouts say, be prepared. Know your different first aid kits and get the kind(s) you need.

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How Having the Right First Aid Kit Can Save Lives

Posted on Mar 01, 2017. No comments

first aid kit(s) save(s) lives

Life has a funny way of throwing unexpected things at us. How we handle the unexpected often comes down to our preparedness and our ability to respond. This has always been the driving force behind the concept of a first-aid kit.

But it’s not just about having a first aid kit in general. It’s about choosing the best first aid kit to suit your needs and circumstances.

Because having the right first aid can save lives.

My First Aid Kit Could Save Lives? Really?

Absolutely! We are not being dramatic here. A large number of accident-related fatalities are a direct result of a lack of first aid treatment in the crucial first ‘golden hour’. Dealing quickly with a cut, laceration, open wound or allergic reaction can save a life. Helping an accident victim who is in shock is absolutely essential, because shock can be deadly.

You never know how serious a problem may be and how important your quick and simple treatment can be. You never know if a victim has more serious underlying health issues.

Then what about floods, a wildfire, a hurricane or a tornado? Are you ready?

Not All Kits Are Equal

Do you have the right kind of kit available when you really need it? Different kinds of problems and injuries can arise in different settings and environments – at home, at work, camping, hunting, road trips, cycling, and so on. The right supplies can make all the difference for treating injuries and cleaning and dressing wounds immediately, as opposed to waiting for help to arrive or traveling to a hospital.

Then there are kits that are for both first aid and emergency preparedness.

Your choice of first aid kit can save a life.

  • First Aid Kit. Be prepared to handle cuts, burns, open wounds, strains, sprains, and more. Have what you need to keep someone calm and immobilized should they suffer fractures.
  • Trauma Kit. Stop more extensive bleeding with a tourniquet and an advanced QuikClot clotting sponge. Protect your own life by using the kit’s medical gloves.
  • Emergency Kit. Prepared people keep one ready in their back yards. In addition to first aid items, it should be packed with what you need to survive a short time in difficult circumstances like cold, in the wild, after an earthquake, and so on.

By the way, add a CPR mask with one-way valve to every kit. This is definitely a life saver. Sometimes, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation can be difficult, or the rescuer needs to avoid fluid transfer from the victim. A pocket-sized shield with a valve can be inserted into any kit.

Does Your Kit Include a First Aid Guide?

You don’t have to be a first aid expert to save a life. If your kit includes a guide, anyone can provide crucial treatment.

Thinking Ahead

Your first aid kit must be appropriate for the activities going on around you and the length of time they last. For example, if you’re camping for a week, you need more supplies than just for a day hike.

Also think how many people need to be covered by a kit. A good kit will tell you how many people it’s good for.

Extra supplies can mean the difference between life and death. The wrong kit will leave you short.

Keep it Fresh, Keep it Stocked

Supplies simply must be replaced and kept within their shelf life. Otherwise, a kit becomes useless. It's easy to get a kit and forget about it. Some first aid items expire or deteriorate.

Mark your calendar the same as you do for smoke detectors to check supplies twice a year. And if you ever use some supplies, replace them immediately.

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Ultimate Road Trip Survival Kit Must-Haves

Posted on Feb 16, 2017. No comments

road trip first aid kit

Who doesn’t love a good road trip? So much fun! But anyone who has been on a road trip knows that Murphy’s Law can strike at any time. Sometimes it’s car trouble. Sometimes it’s weather or traffic jams. And sometimes strandings, accidents and injuries come along to put a damper on an otherwise fantastic time. To help yourself and others, a road trip first aid kit is an important additional passenger. In fact, you need a first aid kit and survival/emergency preparedness kit in one. There are many things about such a kit, from design to content, that you need to address, but here are the must-haves.


A road trip first aid kit must be portable. That’s a given. We don’t just mean it can fit in the car or trailer. It needs to be accessible and able to be carried easily. Everything needs to be in one convenient pouch or case. We recommend you look for a product made from lightweight but strong fabric that has a wide zipper pouch that opens completely.


Your kit absolutely must have stellar organization. In an emergency, finding what you need quickly is everything. Rummaging through your kit wastes precious time. This is where purchasing an emergency preparedness kit is often better than making your own. A really good one will have separate sections sealed off – for small cuts and burns, more severe bleeding, emergency preparedness, etc.

Emergency Items

Your road trip kit needs items for keeping you alive and for attracting attention. Emergency blankets and ponchos keep you warm and dry. A whistle, a radio with batteries, a light stick and a flashlight are just as important.

Urgent Care

Should someone need CPR, a keychain-size CPR mask with one-way valve and protective barrier is a godsend. Also included should be thick bandages, alcohol wipes, a cold compress and a first aid guide.

For Bleeding and Burns

You’ll need an assortment of adhesive and fabric bandages for minor wounds and various sterile pads for ‘bloodier’ injuries. Add to those antibiotic ointment, burn cream, and antiseptic wipes. Plus tape. Must have tape.

Protective Items

You (or a patient) may need protection from fluids and germs during first aid or an emergency. Some good medical gloves and a procedural mask are a good start.


For minor and more serious problems alike, you’ll need some simple instruments, including scissors, tweezers, cotton tips, safety pins, a thermometer, even a finger splint.

Medication and Cleansing

It’s always important to have aspirin or ibuprofen (chewable) and maybe iodine. If anyone has severe allergies, an EpiPen is essential.

What’s listed above are what we’d call the basic essentials.

Optional Handy Items

Your road trip first aid kit can include some very useful other emergency preparedness items, if you like, especially if you head into the back country:

  • Matches
  • Needle and thread(s)
  • Super glue
  • Feminine hygiene pads and tampons - they soak up liquid, can be used on wounds, and are great for fire lighting
  • A good multi-tool
  • Dental floss (makes good string)
  • Protein bars
  • Water

If you’re taking a basic road trip, buy yourself a good first aid and emergency kit. It will come in very handy, at least until you can get home or to professional help. If you’re going off-road, along with the kit take a few extra items with you in the car.

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The 130-Year History of the First Aid Kit

Posted on Feb 13, 2017. No comments

first aid kit history

It seems like the first aid kit has been around forever. It hasn’t. In fact, the first aid kit’s history is intriguing, especially as the world’s first one was developed after a chance meeting on a Denver & Rio Grande train.

The Early Years of First Aid Kits

In 1888, the founder of Johnson & Johnson, Robert Wood Johnson, was on a train heading for a vacation at a cattle ranch in Colorado. On board he met the surgeon of the Denver & Rio Grande railway who told Johnson about the difficulties he had dispensing medical care to railroad workers. Laying railroad track was an arduous job and led to frequent injuries among the workers in locations far away from medical facilities. An injured person had to wait many hours before professional help could arrive. Consequently, serious injuries often became fatal, simply due to the delay in basic medical treatment.

Medical care workers, in turn, had to contend with a number of problems, aside from the distance they had to cover to reach the injured:

  • Often injured people had been moved by bystanders or fellow workers, aggravating injuries.
  • Wounds were often not clean with dust, dirt and other contaminants having been in them for some time.
  • Care had to be administered out in the open with non-sterile medical supplies.
  • It was difficult to stabilize patients before transporting them to facilities for comprehensive treatment.

Johnson had the idea of packaging medical supplies that a working crew could keep with it to use in a medical emergency. The first aid kit was born. By gathering information from railway surgeons about what supplies were needed most, the company made the original first aid kits specifically for railroad companies.

The Demand for First Aid Kits Grows in Other Fields

By 1890, first aid kits went into commercial production to supply the need for emergency medical care in homes, factories, workplaces, and for travelers. Johnson & Johnson produced 18 different types of kits, each with a varying combination of supplies to suit specific requirements.

Typical contents included sterile gauze, bandages, antiseptic sponges, sterile dressings and sutures. The kits were packaged in metal cases and in 1901 the company included first aid manuals with their products.

During the Spanish-American war in 1898, Johnson & Johnson came up with the idea of small first aid kits that could be carried by soldiers. First aid kits were used extensively by all armies in the First and Second World Wars.

When automobiles became popular in the early twentieth century, Johnson & Johnson produced first aid kits for cars, which they called Autokits. Likewise, when commercial airplanes came into use, they produced Aerokits.

Modernization of Packaging

By the 1920s, first aid kits had a strong history and were well established as important portable items in many locations, activities and situations.

In the 1920s, new kits were created for unique purposes or carried the names of specific companies and organizations. This coincided with the Band-Aid brand of adhesive bandages, which was introduced to the public in 1920. Some first aid kits were packaged in glass containers and others in aluminum tubes.

The 1950s saw the introduction of individual items in a first aid kit being packaged in small cardboard boxes. Johnson & Johnson also brought out a snake bite first aid kit in 1964.

Today, first aid kits are manufactured by many companies and can be packaged in a variety of ways. The type of container depends on the application and can be made of lightweight cardboard, plastic or fabric. Kit sizes also vary from wallet sized containers through to rucksacks and wall mounted cabinets.

Contents of Modern First Aid Kits

From the early history of the first aid kit, things have changed a great deal, although the principle remains the same. Commercial first aid kits that can be bought from retail outlets typically include items for treating minor injuries only. These will most likely include Band-Aids, cotton swabs, bandages, cotton wool, iodine and hydrogen peroxide.

More specialized and comprehensive first aid kits can contain equipment and items for:

  • Artificial respiration. This equipment is needed for performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and includes a pocket mask, face shield, oropharyngeal airway, nasopharyngeal airway, manual aspirator, sphygmomanometer and stethoscope.
  • Trauma injury treatment. The kit may contain blood clotting bandages, trauma shears, adhesive bandages, sterile dressings, butterfly wound closure strips, saline solution, antiseptic, burn dressings, cool/warm pack, and adhesive tape.
  • Personal protection. To eliminate the risk of infection, many kits include disposable gloves, goggles, surgical mask, even an apron.
  • Survival. In addition to other items listed above, these emergency kits may contain scissors, tweezers, antiseptic wipes, irrigation syringe, thermometer, space blanket, and safety pins.

Many kits contain medication of some kind: aspirin, epinephrine auto-injector or diphenhydramine for anaphylactic shock, acetaminophen (paracetamol), anti-inflammatory painkillers, anti-diarrhea medication, smelling salts, emetics, antihistamines and oral rehydration salts.

Topical medication has also become a feature of many first aid kits. This might include antiseptic fluid and/or ointment, burn gel, anti-itch ointment, and anti-fungal cream.

First Aid Obligations of Employers

In the US today, all workplaces must provide and maintain first aid kits and equipment for treating injured employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for ensuring workplaces have kits for protecting worker health and safety

It is not possible for the OSHA to mandate the specifics of equipment and supplies to be included in first aid kits, as there are many factors involved:

  • State laws and regulations
  • Specific regulations laid down by the type of industry
  • Workplace hazards
  • Number of employees
  • Proximity to medical facilities.

From those humble beginnings 130 years ago, the first aid kit has evolved into an item that every home or workplace should have. All too often, families don’t think they will ever need an emergency first aid kit. However, there have been many recorded incidents through history where the availability of a first aid kit, especially in the home, has saved a life.

Can you afford to take a chance? Take steps to protect your family by contacting a recognized supplier of various first aid kits that cover most medical emergencies.

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