The Do 1 Thing site won the Awareness to Action category of FEMA’s 2014 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards. It’s a 12-month program of small steps that you can take to increase your personal and household preparedness. Throughout 2015, DEM will feature Do 1 Thing items during our weekly blog post series of One Thing Wednesdays. Check back here every week for a new preparedness activity or tip!
As we close out our year of preparedness items, our final monthly topic is emergency medicine. Even without large-scale disasters, life-threatening illnesses and accidents can happen any time in any place. Just watch the Lexington Fire Department’s incident status board for an hour to see how many medical emergencies are dispatched in our community on a regular basis. Your basic first aid skills can make a real difference in the first critical minutes before professional responders arrive.
When it comes to first aid kits, there are three limiting factors: what you know how to use, how much money you want to spend, and how much weight you want to carry. Pre-made kits are available in a variety of sizes at local drugstores, outdoor recreation suppliers, and the American Red Cross, ranging from basic kits like the one shown below to backcountry expedition kits like the one pictured to the right.
If you’d rather hand-select your kit’s contents to ensure you’re getting the kind of supplies you want (and have trained with), you also can assemble your own. At a minimum, a basic kit should contain the following items:
- Adhesive bandages in various sizes.
- Adhesive tape
- Gauze in both flat pad and rolled forms
- Antiseptic ointment
- Hand sanitizer, either liquid or wipes
- Nitrile (non-latex) disposable gloves
- Thermal (“survival”) blanket
- Scissors, preferably EMT shears strong enough to cut away thick clothing
- Chemical cold pack
- Individual-serving packets of pain reliever, antihistamine, and other over-the-counter medication
- Glow sticks or a flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
- Plastic bags for disposing of contaminated waste