10 First Aid Kit Ad-on Items, Like Good Tweezers, Better Scissors…

A First Aid Kit comes in a wide variety of assortments from the most basic to well stocked EMT packs. One thing I’ve found is that some of these kits have pretty cheap “tools”. The tweezers in a First Aid Kit (for example) might be junk. Or the scissors / shears. Something to think about…

EVERYONE should have a first aid kit in their home. A second kit should be in your car. A third kit for your shop, garage. What about a mini First Aid Kit for your backpack, camping? Or one for travel? In your trailer, camper. Your GHB, BOB…

I have written a number of articles on First Aid Kits, and I decided to update this one which offers a few suggestions for ‘Ad-on’ items to an existing kit…

But first, I would like to suggest a kit from Surviveware. Disclosure, they are presently a sponsor here. They have a wide variety of well organized First Aid Kits of various sizes and use-case scenarios.

We love being a small family company because it means we care about every single customer. 
Our goal has always been a customer-centered experience, and we pride ourselves in our comprehensive policies that place us in a realm above our competitors.

~ Surviveware.com (Survival First Aid Kits)

The Tweezers in a First Aid Kit

Some first aid kits don’t have tweezers. Even if yours does, consider replacing them with a quality pair that will actually get the job done. The most common use for tweezers in one of these kits is for pulling out a splinter. So a tweezer purpose-designed for that would be good!

I like having both a sharp pointed tweezer and a slanted one.

Set of 2 Precision Tweezers – Pointed & Slant
(view on amzn)

Skin Closure Strips (Steri Strips)

Does your First Aid Kit include Steri Strips? They’re good for closing long wounds. When several are applied across a long cut wound, they hold the skin together for healing. I wrote about them in the following article for your further interest. The size you need versus depth of cut, how to apply and remove.

[ Read: Steri Strips | Instructions When & How To Use To Close A Wound ]

Clotting Sponge for First Aid Kit

The QuikClot sponge or gauze uses ‘zeolite’, a common mineral, to help blood clot up to three times faster than blood on its own. It is safe and effective. Clotting beads are contained in a sterile, non-adherent mesh bag. The bag is easy to apply and easy to remove, and is U.S. military proven.

[ Read: How To Stop The Bleeding With QuikClot | 3 to 5 Times Faster ]

QuikClot Gauze 3 inch x 2 Foot
(view on amzn)

Better Scissors & EMT Shears

Many first aid kits come with scissors. The problem is that most of these scissors are cheap junk. Replacing them with a quality pair will save some potential grief if you need to use them during an emergency.

Slip-N-Snip – The Original Folding Safety Scissors

Premium Quality Fluoride Coated EMT and Trauma Shears
(view on amzn)

 
SAM Splint

The SAM Splint (Structural Aluminum Malleable) is built from a thin core of aluminum alloy, sandwiched between two layers of closed-cell foam. It is extremely pliable and bends into simple curves. It becomes extremely strong and supportive for any fractured or injured limb.

SAM Rolled Splint 36″, Orange/Blue

Tourniquet

Hemorrhaging is the leading cause of preventable death in tactical and non-tactical trauma situations. The tourniquet allows a more rapid means to control extremity bleeding. I include the following tourniquet (the most popular one) in my First Aid Kits.

Recon Medical BLK-1PAK-FBA Tourniquet
(view on amzn)

[ Read: Trauma Kit List – 5 Lifesaving Essential Contents Not To Forget ]

Stretch Wrap Breathable Tape / Gauze Bandage

This stuff is great… It’s a self-adhering stretch bandage. First apply a sterile gauze pad to the wound (which should already be in your First Aid Kit). Then wrap it with this unique stretch gauze bandage which will hold it in place quite nicely. I wrote about it awhile back when I (unfortunately) had to use it on myself…

[ Read: Stretch Wrap Self Adhering Bandage | A Must-have First Aid Supply ]

Self Adherent Cohesive Wrap Bandages (12 Pack Bundle)
(view on amzn)

Telfa (non-stick wound pads)

This stuff is great (again, I have experience in this department ;) ). Non-Adherent Dressing. Absorptive, but it doesn’t stick to the wound. It is typically held on to the wound with tape, and then wrapped with stretch gauze for further adherence and protection from the environment. Useful for particular kinds of wounds.

Sterile Non-Adherent Pads

The following special coated non-stick gauze is is widely used in the medical profession for wounds where wound sticking would be a bigger issue (it has a ‘gooey’ texture). I too have used this (actually for Mrs.J for awhile while treating a particular wound). Great stuff. It’s called Xeroform.

Xeroform Petrolatum Gauze, Sterile, 2 x 2 Inch

Xeroform Petrolatum Gauze, Sterile, 4 x 4 Inch
(view on amzn)

More Tape – Micropore

A latex-free paper tape that is gentle to the skin yet adheres well and leaves minimal adhesive residue upon removal. Highly breathable to maintain skin integrity. An economical, general purpose, breathable surgical tape.

3M Micropore Paper Tape, 1″ x 10yds
(view on amzn)

 Neosporin First Aid Antibiotic Ointment

If you already have some, check the expiration date. Antibiotic ointment treatment is VERY IMPORTANT for most wounds!

Neosporin First Aid Antibiotic Ointment

[ Read: Ziploc Bag First Aid Kit ]

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60 Comments

  1. I’ve made our first aid kits and pretty happy with them. Having some basic first aid supplies in the home AND every vehicle is so important.

    I’d like to point out that Neosporin is only a topical ointment and not intended for use with deep wounds or 2d degree burns. My choice then is to use aloe or honey.

    1. Great point on the Neosporin, and I came here to mention this, too: do not use it on a puncture wound of any sort (nail jab, animal fang bite, etc). It makes it so much worse, as it will seal in any remaining bacteria you may have missed when cleaning out, and allow it to wreak havoc.

      1. FYI Neosporin the triple antibiotic ointment is also a common cause for local allergic reaction ( they think it’s the neomycin part) so it can worsen some wounds

        do a patch test on your skin before you stockpile it

        and if you can’t use it or it’s expired- you can probably still use as fire starter

        1. If one is not allergic to silver- silvadene works well on deep wounds. I used successfully on decubiti DFM got while in ICU. dressing needs to be replaced q 12 hours, thoroughly cleaned with sterile water/ using sterile techniques and sterile bandages. one can increase its effectiveness by doing a double treatment- after cleaning and patting dry with dry sterile 4×4, then spray with colloidal silver. Let sit open to air 5-10 minutes. dry off excess in any areas of pooling,apply silvadene liberally to sterile dressing and fully cover wound… Individual maxi pads make wonderful replacements for ABD PADS..

  2. I’d add a small magnifying glass, and Hydrogen peroxide for wound washing, and antibiotic pills (if traveling far from home)

    1. I too have the magnifying glass, but went to the dentist and saw her magnification glasses. Amazon has a really nice pair for $30. Hands free & added light will help while patching up someone.

  3. Hey, Everyone~

    Yes steri-strips are awesome. You can buy on amazon, very pleased with them. If you know how to sterilize and treat a small surface wound,
    you can save yourselves some big $$ (ER visits are only getting more and more $$$$)

    I recommend getting a book The Survival Medicine Handbook by J and M Alton.
    Get educated, and get prepped peeps! ;)

    Do not forget GLOVES. I keep the latex free nitrile disposable gloves in every kit. If you use them make sure you know how to take them off properly too. Keep a few pairs in your kit. I get mine at a good value at Costco.

    Also WEAR gloves when you work outside or near firewood/fires, fences etc.
    Prevention is even better!

    Blessings to all
    Peace n Out

  4. I made sure to put some Tums in my IFAC. Nothing worse than heartburn when you can’t deal with it. Same with painkillers and a allergy stuff.

  5. SuperGlue one-time use packages.
    Dental Kit (especially for those of us that have crowns that could come off at the worst time. Not that there is ever a good time for that to happen)
    I have found both of these items at Dollar Tree.

    1. I agree with the dental kit. This seems to be an overlooked improvement and it shouldn’t be since it is so inexpensive. Both my wife and I have crowns so we both have these kits in our BOBs.

  6. Great article. antibiotics are available on ebay….but do your homework on them first!

    As an aside….Thurs would be a good day to repost any snowstorm related info on what we should have on hand ahead of time.
    Nothing wrong with reposting good articles.

    Stay safe everyone

  7. I always have some vet wrap. Three or four dollars at animal supply stores like orschelns here in the midwest. It sticks to itself so no adhesive needed for those allergic it. I have also used it to hold a bandage on road rash when riding my bicycle.

  8. We keep lots of vet wrap in all widths available. self adhering works great. Also have a good stapler and staples for wound closure. Added a portable defib, to my ready to go EMT bag….and I keep iv bags and ringers in the fridge. So many items added to the EMT bag….but it is bright orange and very visible. ALL adult family members have taken first aid courses, some are RN’s and obviously better trained than I. However, a good EMT/First Aid book is included…field emergency medicine! And, folks, true to my ever obnoxious pleading….practice practice practice. We host EMT/first aid practices quarterly. My adult kids come up with some interesting wound scenarios….especially my nurse/medical/leo kids! LOL

      1. Wow, I didn’t know those could be purchased by regular folks, but I can see that yes they are a little pricey. Of course you could also just stick the persons finger in a light socket :)

        1. Contact your local FD or EMS and oftentimes they will deliver one to you at their cost.

  9. Benadryl and instant ice packs are good to have too.
    Thanks for the tips!
    I need to go through ours again and add on to it.

    1. I like the idea of Benadryl. I have more allergies than most and carry it on me at all times. I buy the store brands. The plus they are cheaper and I find them more effective for me than the brand name. We have been increasing the products we use regularly.

  10. Okay, this is my area of expertise. 10 years army medic, 19 years ER RN.

    Steri-strips are for shallow wounds that can easily be pulled together 1/8″deep okay, 3/16″ deep is iffy and 1/4″ or deeper should probably be sutured or stapled. Steri-strips work much better when used with tincture of benzoin. Check amazon or ebay and get the single use ampules. Squeeze and break the ampule to saturate the cloth end. Paint the skin for about 2 inches out from each side of the wound. Don’t get it into the wound. put half of a strip on the painted area and pull the wound closed then stick the other half of the strip to the skin on the opposite side of the wound. Start at one end and work your way to the other end leaving a small gap between the strips. the tape will stay on much longer with benzoin. How long should it stay on? Until it falls off is a good general rule. It will start to work off at the ends and these can be trimmed off with scissors as needed to prevent snagging. If it is necessary to remove a strip pull one end to the middle then pull the other end to the middle. Now pull both ends straight up. Wounds actually take up to a couple of months to heal COMPLETELY. Pulling one side across the wound and continuing to pull could open a wound that looks healed. Some areas heal faster than other. Scalp and facial wounds tend to heal quickly. Limbs that bend and stretch take longer. Most everything is healed enough in two weeks that strips can be removed but to be on the safe side when removing strips or stitches remove ever other one. Wait 24 hours and if the wound is still closed take out or off the remaining closures.

    Clotting sponges are the best thing to come down the pike since white bread. Don’t limit yourself to the sponge. It comes in pour packs also as well as a nasal applicator for nose bleeds. My son is a chef and he cut the tip of a finger off. It bled slowly for about 6 hours before he decided to visit me. Pour pack to the tip and bleeding was stopped in a couple of minutes. Bandaid over the tip to protect it and he was good to go. He got a couple of the pour pack for Christmas. Stuff is not cheap but IMHO worth the price. I’ve heard cayenne pepper works also but I have no direct experience with it.

    Scissors, Miltex 8.5 inch fluoride coated shears are the Cadillac. They are the most commonly found shears in ERs across the nation. I have no interest in the company but I used them regularly. They hold an edge better than any other shears or bandage scissors that I’ve used and I’ve used a hella of a lot. You wouldn’t but a cheply made Chinese knock off blade for THEOTWAWKI. Don’t skimp on the shears. Expect to pay around $45.00. They are worth it.

    SWAT tourniquet, again I’ve never used one of these. All I can add is if you have to use a tourniquet apply it as close to the wound as feasible and tighten it only as tight as needed to control bleeding. Direct pressure is often all that is needed to control bleeding. Elevating a limb also helps and you should also know pressure points. Blood pressure cuffs are what is used most frequently in the ER instead of tourniquets.

    Tweezers, best are stainless steel and come to a fine point. Germany is famous for quality. Consider rat tooth forceps for grabbing foreign objects in a wound.

    Sam splints are great, They come in to the ERs frequently from the field and are usually tossed. If you know anyone working in an ER you might ask them to snag you one if it isn’t bloody. Clean it anyway. Look on line for the many uses they have, As a caveat the foam has been known to separate from the aluminum in storage. It is still usable, you just need to add more padding.

    Gauze comes in two basic types. Pads and rolls. Rolls in the ER are either Kling or Kerlix. they are both commonly used for wrapping body parts to secure dressings. They can also be used to pack wounds, with Kerlix probably being the preferred choice as it seems to be more absorbent and is larger.

    Pads are most often 2×2 and 4×4 inches, less commonly found are 3×3 inches and abd pads od abdominal pads usually 9×12″. A good thing to remember about the smaller pads is they can be unfolded to make different sizes. A 4×4 when unfolded is a 4×12 and when unfolded and folded in half is a 4×6. etc. Use your imagination for the various size wounds you will encounter. You will frequently have to apply layers of pads so you can never gave enough. In a pinch consider feminine pads. They are a lot cheaper.(and have another use!)

    Telfa is one kind of non-adherent dressing, Adaptic is another. I like them both but I have never found done that is truly non-adherent. The least non adherent I’m familiar with is Vaseline impregnated gauze. A commonly found one is known as Xeroform. Telfa and Adaptic are less adherent when used with ointments.

    Tape. My favorite types are Transpore plastic tape. It has small perforations in a grid pattern that makes it easy to tear off. These Perforations also make it easy to tear it lengthwise. It comes in 1/2″, 1″ and 2″ wide rolls. I like the 2″ as I can tear it as 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″ or any size you want up to 2″. My wife recently found a similar tape at wallyworld.

    Vet wrap (tradename Coban) is the other really great stuff to come along. Rumor has it that it was invented by a vet to wrap horses legs with. If so he or she made a lot more money than expected. This stuff is great! It comes in 1″, 2″ and 4″ wide rolls. You can even get it in camo. It is reusable but should not be reused if you have any question that it might be contaminated or on different patients. If you have ever used the wide cellophane type packing tape on a box you know how easy it is to lose the end. It’s almost impossible to find it once it gets stuck down on the roll. Same thing for vet wrap. The end of it has a way of disappearing, both on the roll and on the patient. Hint here is bend one corner of the tape over and tuck it under. It will make removal much easier.

    Neosporin is neomycin, polymyxin and bacitracin. Also know as triple antibiotic ointment. Double antibiotic ointment was minus the neomycin and the original ingredient was plain old bacitracin. I like them all but use them sparingly. A thin coat is adequate. My personal preference is to only use ointments for a day or two then let it dry out and scab.

    Lots of good suggestions in the comments above and I like them all. Hydrogen peroxide has a very short shelf life once opened as the extra oxygen out gasses. As used for wound cleaning it is very diluted. If it wasn’t it would be usable as rocket fuel. Plain old soap and water for wound cleansing is better than nothing, just make sure the water is at least clean enough to drink end preferably sterilized.

    I’m going to comment again on this topic about elastic bandages more commonly know by one of the trade names ACE wraps. but it is way past my bedtime so good night all. PS I’m also to tired to prof read it!

  11. Great ideas here today, I put my kit in a zippered insulated lunch container with a carry handle strap (artic Zone) Have been pleased with the protection provided by the bag while storing it in a vehicle which gets hot in the summer months.

    1. That’s a great idea, too! I’m needing to get a better bag than what I have now, so I think I’ll try this first. I’ve got an old lunchbox like this that isn’t used anymore. Thanks for the tip.

      1. Both of my vehicle kits are stored in these old insulated lunch bags> A SAM splint folded into an open rectangle fits into each of these nicely. A quick comment on the meds mentioned (other than the antibiotics). Check with the pharmacy about bulk med from behind the counter. You can usually get them much cheaper than you would pay for the over the counter kind. Find what you want on the shelf and ask the pharmacist or his tech for the generic equivalent. Benadryl is diphenhydramine and as an over the counter med is usually sold as 25 mg capsules or tablets. But it is also approved as a sleep aid and sold as 50 mg. If they try and sell you the 25 mg ask for the 50 mg it tends to be cheaper if you buy the larger one when you figure the price per mg. Another really good item along the same lines is an epi-pen. talk with your doctor about it. You will need a prescription and instructions as to when to use it. They are not cheap unless you have good insurance but they are kind of like the AEDs (automated external defibrillators) Pricey to buy and priceless if you need them. Also epi pens are good past the expiration date and can be kept until the fluid visible in the little window takes on a yellowish tint.

  12. Ace bandages come in 4 sizes. 2″,3″,4″ and 6″. 3″ for hands and wrists, 4″ for ankles and 6″ for knees. Go down a size for kids. Most of these bandages now come with hook and loop closures. Roll the wrap on and roll it off to keep the hooks in the right position. Basics are just enough tension to get the wrinkles out and roll from down to up on the limb. Better explained is start below the knee and finish above the knee or below the elbow to above the elbow. They gain their strength as they “layer up”. These should be thought of as a loose tourniquet and have the potential TO DO DAMAGE! You must check circulation on the down side of the application. Tell your patient if it is tingles or feels like it is getting numb it must be loosened. Check capillary refill. Press on a nail and it gets pale. Color should return quickly, if it is delayed loosen the wrap. Ace wraps can be used to apply pressure to control bleeding. Put a bulky dressing (lots of gauze piled up on each other ) over the wound and wrap it tightly to control the bleeding. THIS IS A TEMPORARY MEASURE! Seek a higher level of care immediately. All for this post, hope it has been informative.

  13. I had a really problematic splinter today and I remembered one of my favorite FAK items. A safety razor blade. It is a poor man’s scalpel. I was able to shave away some of the skin around that tiny metal splinter enough so my tweezers would be able to grab it.

  14. I have been getting the following durable medical goods from a local farm and ranch store because of low prices on durable medical goods:

    Curved forceps, Bandage scissors, Vet wrap for horses/Coban for people. You will save a lot of money by doing so and I use this stuff every day at work.

    My day job: I treat people.

  15. This is an excellent list. If I could buy these as a kit, I would do it in a heartbeat. Please don’t assume that I’m lazy. I have anxiety, and as crazy as it may sound to some, that number of transactions is overwhelming for me. I definitely see the benefit in all items listed, but my anxiety makes prioritizing difficult at times. (smile/shrug) it is what it is. Has put a couple more things on my radar, and that’s a good thing. :)

  16. Definitely a good topic… It’s very important to keep up on our med-kits, making sure everything is always good to go. GLOVES!! 2-3 pairs and make sure they are easy to get to. I saw somebody mention a CPR pocket mask which is an excellent addition to any med-kit. I served as a state lifeguard for 5 years and we all had them hanging in little IFAKs from our chairs. I recently picked up two of them from Amazon… One for my kit and the second for the work vehicle. ACE bandages are small and easily forgotten (Dollar store.) Also, I keep a small squeeze bottle of hydrogen-peroxide in my personal IFAK and another in my camping/backpacking boo-boo kit. The tourniquet is an obvious choice, but what I opted for was a bit smaller than a SWAT Tourniquet… I picked up a couple of the basic rubber tourniquets (the one the nurse uses when she draws your blood.) I also saw someone mention that if we all put in everything that we wanted, we’d have too much sh*t, which I agree with completely. That being said, the best thing you can do is build your own kit from the ground up and tailor it to your own needs. It also helps to have multiple kits, that way you can grab which ever one is most suitable for the task at hand. Great input, everyone!

  17. QuikClot is somewhat expensive, an inexpensive form of QuikClot is cayenne powder. It stops bleeding when you pour the powder on a cut. Does it sting? A bit but so does the QuikClot powder.

    Cayenne also does something very important / life saving that QuikClot doesn’t. That being if a bit of it is mixed in water and drank it will stop a heart attack in seconds. I listened to a herbal first aid talk (MP3) by the herbalist David Christopher and he talked about his father (a Doctor and founder of Christopher’s herbal co.) over the years of practice never loosing a person to a heart attack because of his use of cayenne.

    Cayenne is super inexpensive, even The Dollar Tree has it, every first aid kit, every police car and every life squad should have it on hand and the knowledge of how to use it. But with most main-stream medical people’s dislike of herbs I would not expect that to happen. But there is no reason we can’t put it in our kits.

    There is plenty of proof it works for both bleeding and stopping heart attacks on the net.

  18. Homemade First-Aid bag idea for those of us that dislike the glorified Band-aid boxes that go for commercial First-Aid Kits these days. And a real somewhat well equipped First-Aid Kit these days can sell for $200.00. Not that a good kit isn’t worth that (or more) it’s just that with all the stuff we preppers think we need (or at least want) money can be in short supply. My med homemade kits probably fall in the middle of the price range as far as kits go, but I was able to buy things over time spreading things out. And my brother is a fireman and is able to get more then a few supplies for me for free. In fact I have a duffle bag full of stuff that I use as a resupply bag for the kits. But even without his help there is always the dollar stores.

    What I have used for years as a First-Aid bag is the travel shower bags (they come in a few sizes) These bags have a hook to hang them, a zippered side with clear plastic, 20 or so places to put small items (stretch elastic straps kinda like Mole mounts on a mil-spec bag) and several pouches made for shampoo bottles that hold other stuff just fine.

    I find theses bags at thrift stores and garage sales for $1.00 to $3.00. I have been using a larger one of these for 20-years and have made several First-Aid Kits for family and friends. I also have one in every auto I have, and a large one in my RV.

    PS: Don’t forget to pack a kitchen garbage bag in it so you can keep it dry in a downpour, and some type of small tarp to lay on the ground as in an emergency you are going to pull things out fast and a clean place to lay them aside is nice.

  19. I have a 50 gram Quick Clot kit in each of our BOBS but I am a little annoyed by the fact they have such a short life span (as indicated by the expiration date on the package). Two years seems to be about all you get before having to replace them – and they are not cheap. Sometimes the expiration dates on medications are not gospel and you have a little wiggle room on the expiration date. I wonder if anyone has experience using one of these after it is say – 4 years old or more?

  20. Wow .! Wonderful Blog. I love keeping new kind of first aid kit. I really appreciate it for sharing as you increased my knowledge :)

  21. I made a career as a LEO. I know, better than most, that no matter how professional and well staffed a police department is, no one can bet their lives on them responding in time in life threatening situations to depend on them as your first and only line of defense. No, that job is yours….and this will be magnified exponentially if general chaos is the order of the times.

    Same can be said for emergency medical care. Having medical supplies, knowing how to use them, not only you, but every member of your family, is as important, if not more so, as having defensive weapons, and knowing how to use them.

    1. Dennis,
      this is something i just dont understand, how people will willfully not take responsibility for their own safety and wellbeing and why and how the hell government actually will encourage this.

      Locally, theres no defending and they say to call 911 for everything 🤦🏼‍♂️

  22. I carry super glue for small cuts. pinch the wound shut, put on the glue, wait a few minutes, it holds it together and prevents dirt from entering the would for 5 to 6 days…

  23. What is the best first aid kit? The one you have with you when you need it. I aways have a tourniquet with me as my first aid kit may be out of immediate reach if I am out walking or shopping and happen upon a severe bleeding situation. When you need a tourniquet…you need it NOW. You can fashion a handkerchief to do the job, but that is too slow. I wear a Jukmo belt. It is stiff elastic with a double action release – adjustment buckle. It can be quickly applied (with one hand if needed for yourself) for use as a tourniquet. And I always have it with me. It is very well made and fits my multi purpose needs perfectly.

    1. Jukmo belt – other first aid uses: Quick…. arm sling, lashing for improvised splint, holding direct pressure on wound (including sucking chest wound) when attention needed elsewhere, in place of ace wrap to immobilize a joint such as knee or ankle, etc., etc.. It is such a useful piece of gear because the range of adjustment is from the belt tip to the buckle and it is fast. Hope this helps someone.

  24. First Aid cannot be talked about enough. Lighted tweezers are nice. Along with other antibiotics I also have powdered Sulphur on hand. Silver burn ointment.

  25. Lots of great info but missing a critical aspect, what is the purpose? There are 2 dimensions; illness and injury.

    For the injury axis, one end of the spectrum is to fix broken things; think doctor’s office. The other end is a rapid response trauma kit to save life; think EMT.

    The illness dimension is simple diagnostics at one end of the spectrum to complex at the other. Most can’t do very much without advanced training (NP, MD) nor without labs and equipment (CT, x-ray, etc.) But we can do a few things at the simple end.

    I package into multiple kits.

    1. treatment kit (the booboo kit) It has Steri Strips, glue, ibuprofen, tweezers, lots of bandaids, etc. The point is to fix injury as possible without going to the doctors office.
    2. trauma kit – big ass trauma bandages, SAM splint, O2, airways, BP cuff, EMT type stuff, etc. Stuff you’d want as an EMT at a car wreck.
    3. Diagnostic kit – Otoscope, pulse oximeter, thermometer, heart rate monitor and electrodes, glucose monitor, etc. Stuff to help figure out illnesses, not injury.
    4. Small hybrid kit for when I can’t carry kits 1 and 2 such as when hiking. It’s better than nothing and not great at anything.
  26. Ken,
    I don’t want to step on any toes. I’m not familiar with what your advertiser offers. Hopefully, it’s good stuff. Many commercial first-aid kits are mostly packaging. A fancy box and many individually double-wrapped bandages, etc. If ya separate the “product” from the packaging, the package pile is a lot bigger? This is NOT what I want to carry. I’d encourage folks to actually open some of these products. Is it a mostly empty box?

    I concur with having good scissors and forceps (tweezers). More bandages and tape. You can cut any bandage to fit. Having 4×4 bandages mean you also have 2×2 etc. I too, like and use kling as well as other self-adhering bandages. Remember guys, if it bleeds through, just add more. Don’t remove it too early. Let your body do it’s thing. Good article.

    1. @Plains,
      Toe stepping would indeed hurt. Thanks for the consideration.

      That said, there are kits for everyone. Most professional EMT’s and such would likely build their own kits or start with a significant base set, right? There’s no comparison with the variety of general purpose first kits out there. But for most ordinary people, a ready made first aid kit is quick and easy. There is a place for that in the market. And there are all sorts of sizes, form factors, inclusions, etc., to pick from.

  27. Ken,
    I understand completely. Mostly, just wanting folks to take a look inside. Just because you bought a “first-aid” kit and threw it behind the seat of your pick-up, doesn’t mean you actually have much. There are some really good kits out there, most aren’t. Doesn’t mean ya can’t add to it.

  28. At this time of year, I would check and rotate some of the following items within your first aid cabinets or kits: #1 Epi-pen to inject yourself after being stung by bee or wasp. #2 If you have young children out and about your neighborhood, get some Bactine brand skin wash to cleanse the skinned knees and elbows relatively pain free. Treating a screaming child within your ambulance can be bad for public relations. #3 For sunburnt skin, I like to apply Banana Boat brand aloe vera gel with added lidocaine.

    For the at – home medical kit or medicine cabinet: I like to have on hand Mylanta suspension,Gaviscon Foamtabs because sometimes tums will not cut it. Liquid benedryl elixer, motrin or pain reliever of choice. This is a partial list of things to have on hand when people show up on my doorstep.

  29. A lot of times, splinters are easier to get out by cutting the skin than by using tweezers. What I’ve found that are great are the Stainless Steel Lancets by Medi-Point. They’re available on Amazon: 200 for $7, and they’re individually wrapped (easy for a FAK), though they could be washed and re-used at home. This company sells the exact same thing as Splinter Removers, but you only get 10 for $8.30. Our school nurse used to use those until I brought in some of mine from home and she saw that they were the same. (Yes, I mentioned Amazon, which I’m trying not to use anymore. They are available other places as well; this was just an easy site to look up and quote prices.)

  30. I am a big fan of the stretch wrap. Just recently used two of my rolls on the dog (he is fine now). In my experience stretch wrap gets more brittle and less usable with time and especially heat. I get mine at the farm store, its 4 inches wide.

  31. Reply to Dennis and Kula: in regards to calling 911 on frequent basis. Over the years, I have seen many people that are afraid or freak out at the sight of blood or the prospect of violence being forced upon them. This is especially true of people’s own children. I remember the time I treated and bandaged the foot of a little girl while her father held and comforted her only to find out he was an off-duty pediatrician later while taking field notes for the report.

    Some of those people that were squeamish about blood and the sight of blood were my fellow officers. This is why I went back to medical field after my time spent as an LEO. You never know this about yourself until you do the job.

  32. My favorite roller bandage type of gauze is: Kerlix cling because of its elastic properties. It is expensive though. I always keep roller bandage on hand or tube type of bandage around to hold things in place because I now live in the land of lots of pale white people that have allergies to tape adhesive. ( no racial issues here about pale white people. I am married to one after all.)

    There comes a fine line about personal use medications versus what should belong within a kit. Earlier I mentioned my own preferences in pills, ointments and elixers that need periodic replacement each year or every 6 months. One’s own supply of insulin and syringes would be in this category.

    1. Calirefugee, When beloved offspring was about two, fell and burned hands against a hot floor register. Doc said to keep bandaged until blisters healed. As if that’s going to happen with a toddler. So every time I changed bandages I put a knee high nylon over them and pinned it at the shoulder. Kept the kid from picking off the bandages but otherwise didn’t restrict movement. Have cut off toe ends and used them other times to hold bandages on arms and legs in place. Fairly inexpensive.

  33. Great topic! My suggestion is to also have some type of eyedrops/eyewash handy too.

    Ken: Ever thought of occasionally doing a Q and A interview type writeup with first responder types to get some first hand ideas for these types of emergency/prep scenarios?

  34. Response to Kenny: As a life long allergy sufferer, I carry the following on me every day: 1 tube chapstick, 1 bottle artificial tears, 1-2 tabs of claritin rapid-disolve tabs, 2-4 tabs of sudafed PE, 1 bottle of zaditor optic antihystamine.

    The first aid kit at home and in my truck contains mostly bandages, roller gauze, telfa pads, several pairs of forceps both curved and straight. 1 pair orange handled paramedic shears, 1 roll of white waterproof cloth tape 1 inch wide, 2-permanent sharpie black markers, 1 note pad and 1 roller ink pen in black ink. 1 ziplock bag containing multiple pair of latex gloves in my size. When going into the woods with a chainsaw, I also pack an abdominal dressing because chainsaw cuts tend to be pretty big compared to many other injuries.

    Communication gear to include: a charged cell phone, flashlights in place of flares on side of the road, chartreuse colored vest with reflectors. If I stop and help on the side of a road, I want to be seen and highly visible. I worked 8 yrs as a paramedic/6 being helicopter borne prior to going to RN school ( I got tired of playing on the freeway.). 6 years as an LEO in SOCAL.

  35. REsponse to Kenny continued: If you wonder why I do not include a lot of fancy and expensive gizmos in my kit, it is a reflection of my past experience on mass-casualty accident scenes where there are multiple responding units and the ambulances are stabilizing and hauling patients away as fast as we can in relays. Things get lost, borrowed or flat out stolen in the rush to clear the scene and get traffic moving again. (spanner wrenches from fire trucks, very nice coated metal paramedic shears, Littman brand stethescopes, pulse ox readers, Kershaw knives with assisted opening and blunt tips to cut safety belts.) Years later, I go in with cheap stuff and may pilfer the rookie’s nice stuff during a code or mass casualty event.

    Ambulances always seem to have good equipment and fresh supplies because we use it all the time. For the rest of us, the adhesive on tape and the clotting material on Isreali bandage will bake in a hot car all summer long. If you have to break it out to use, the tape may not stick and the fancy bandage may not work so good.

    1. Calirefugee – I was a peace officer for total of 30 yrs., the last 24 with the best and busiest outfit. In the beginning of my career, there was no such thing as paramedics on the east coast. The east coast (at lease in my AO) was always ten years behind the west coast as far as EMS. We would be, in most cases, first to arrive on a crash scene and have to wait sometimes 30 minutes or more praying for a volunteer BLS ambulance and fire company to show up. It was on us to keep them alive if we could. We were only issued a very basic first aid kit….I added to it and learned to improvise. I thank God for paramedics. Note: As you know, to this day police officers are usually the first on-scene and have first contact with the injured. Why would anyone (in their right mind) want to defund the police?

      1. And that was before seat-belts and child safety seats were required by law. The injuries and death to kids were the worst to handle. Again….. thank God for paramedics. My highest regards.

  36. Response to SoulSurvivor: The only cops I met that described themselves as belonging to the Best and the Busiest in the nation came from New York Police Department. From what I heard, the EMT’s and EMT-2’s for the NY Fire Department were recruited from the Police Academy. This was from after work conversations or post convention gatherings at a local watering hole with first responders from around the nation. ( Trade shows etc.)

    I will not describe myself as being part of the best or busiest outfit because we have current and retired LEOs, medics and firemen on this site and we were all busy in our various AO’s. I do enjoy hearing about how the job gets done in foreign nations and on the East Coast of the US. Between my age related hearing loss and different vernacular, I have trouble understanding the Boston Accent and those from Cajuns in Louisiana, ( so I feel like I’m in a foreign and exotic land until the beer arrives at the table )

  37. Response to Soul Survivor continued: the one piece of new automotive technology I have seen that can make a difference regarding surviving a Traffic Collision: Airbags. The more within a car, the better. I am dating myself to say that I remember responding to calls prior to airbags in automobiles and we also did not routinely wear gloves on scene. AIDS was a new incurable virus and Reagan was President.

    1. Calirefugee – The reference to “best and busiest” was from my own personal experience perspective. I was not a member of the NYPD. Our clearance rate vs high call volume was excellent. I was blessed to work with some of the best. I too remember those pre-airbag days. But the worst, in my opinion, were when the seat-belts and child seats were an option to use. Pure carnage. I fear, in these coming days, we will be dealing with carnage of a different origin. I hope that folks seek some first aid training if they do not already have it. I suspect they might need it.

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