Responding appropriately in an emergency situation requires knowledge. Unfortunately, first aid know-how isn't something people are born with. It's up to you to improve your understanding and skills. Consider exploring some of these resources to learn more.
- Read a First Aid Guide: Most first aid kits come with a first aid booklet. These booklets provide instructions for responding to some of the most common first aid situations. First aid guides are useful for familiarizing yourself with the problems you're most likely to face in daily life. However, they can only take you so far. If you're already comfortable with first aid basics, you'll need to consult more detailed sources.
- Watch Videos Online: The internet is a great resource for learning more about first aid. A quick search will connect you with hundreds of videos demonstrating skills you may need. Online videos allow you to expand your knowledge in the comfort of your home. However, be wary. Only trust videos from reputable sources. If you're not sure about the information you're receiving, move on.
- Take an Online Course: An online first aid course will provide you with quality information presented in a clear, logical way. Completing such a course will make sure you encounter all of the information you need to be effective in a number of different situations. Some online courses may also offer certification tests, which may be mandatory for certain employment opportunities.
- Take an In-Person First Aid Course: There is no substitute for an in-person first aid course. An in-person course puts you face to face with an expert in the field, allowing you to ask questions and receive targeted guidance. Basic first aid courses are available in a number of places, including YMCAs, community centers, and pools. While this option will cost more than online courses, the hands-on experience makes the price tag well worth it.
- Become CPR Certified: Take your knowledge a step further by attending a CPR class. CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is performed when someone has stopped breathing and doesn't have a pulse. A 1 to 3 hour course will teach you how to perform CPR correctly and safely. While this course does not go as in-depth as paramedic training, it does equip you with the information you need to save a life.
- Take a Targeted First Aid Course: Depending on your occupation and lifestyle, you may find yourself needing first aid training that goes above and beyond what you'd find in a basic course. A targeted first aid course will help you hone in on the skills that are most relevant. Courses in workplace safety, backpacking first aid, boating safety, first aid for mental health, and many other topics are commonly available.
Keep learning and refresh your knowledge regularly to make sure you know what to do if the unexpected strikes.
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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.
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.
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.
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:
Needle and thread(s)
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)
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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