What is First Aid Kit?
First aid kit is the kit enabling primary treatment to be administered to a person suffering from an injury or illness, usually in a fast response setting to sustain life, prevent deterioration, or improve healing before any required medical treatment can be given.
It is a collection of supplies and equipment used to provide various levels of medical treatment. It is usually kept in a box or bag and may be used in an emergency to treat a person who is injured or ill. The contents of a First Aid Kit may vary depending on the situation, but it typically includes items such as bandages, gauze, tape, scissors, gloves, and antiseptic wipes or cream.
First aiding, as a professional enterprise dates back to the late 1800s, specifically around 1894 when two Scottish medical professionals worked to create fast response for disasters. St. John’s Ambulance is the earliest iteration of today’s organised, first-response medical profession, which began to spread throughout the world at pace in response to their successes, in the early 1900s, proliferating the use of first aid equipment worldwide.
Types of First Aid Kit
Today there are many different kinds on the market that you can buy without any special training or licensing being required. Such is the prevalence of first aid training in the workplace and in the voluntary sector that it is easy to get trained on how to use it safely and effectively to treat many issues, in any case.
The different types can include:
First Aid Box
A first aid box is normally a rigid container filled with a collection of first aid supplies, often bandages, plasters, antiseptic wipes and eye drops.
They are often kept in public places such as schools or workplaces, in homes, or in cars. They are usually made of plastic or metal and have a latch or lid on top. They often also have sections or compartments within the box to keep the items organised and easy to find when needed.
This box will also have a medical cross on it to show first-aiders and doctors that this box has medical supplies inside that can’t be used on others who may not have allergies to the items inside. Many first aid boxes are kept in the kitchen in the event of a cut finger or other minor injury.
They can be HSE Certified or Compliant first aid boxes which are those that the Health and Safety Executive deems adequate or necessary for the treatment of workplace injuries in a common setting for several employees/individuals.
Fully stocked first aid boxes for up to 10 people and ideal for offices, warehouses and shops tend to include something like:
- 20x Assorted Washproof Plasters,
- 2x Sterile Eyepads with bandages,
- 4x Non-woven triangular bandages,
- 6x Safety pins,
- 6x Medium 12cm x 12cm sterile dressings,
- 2x Large 18cm x 18cm sterile dressings,
- 10x Alcohol-free hygienic cleansing wipes,
- 1x Pair of Powder-free Vinyl gloves,
- 1x First Aid administration guidance leaflet.
First aid boxes can be standard or customised kits according to the setting and in the case of workplaces, category of employee risk in the organization.
Healthcare facilities would have special first aid boxes for emergencies where the employees would be expected to act according to their training and protocol.
In factories or other work environments where risk levels are high, there would be first aid boxes that workers can go to for first aid if they are injured or need quick medical attention.
Dog First Aid Kit
A Dog First Aid Kit is something that dog owners would buy to have on hand in the event of an injury to their beloved pet. There are different scenarios in which you may need to use one, including but not limited to: cuts, scrapes, falls, bites, overheating, etc.
Most of these kits come with all of the basics, like bandages and ointments, but they also might have more specific items like splints or thermometers. Some also come with a first aid manual to help you know how to take care of your pet in the event of an emergency.
Most of the dog kits on Amazon that we found range from about £10 to £30.
The first aid kit for dogs offers peace of mind if your dog suffers a cut, bruise or strain. You are fully prepared to treat them and get them to safety. Ideal for doggy emergencies. It tends to include a general selection of items that can treat typical ailments or injuries sustained by pets outdoors.
A typical comprehensive kit might look something like this:
- 1 x Medium Dressing
- 1 x Vet Wrap (Cohesive)
- 1 x Conforming Bandage
- 1 x Microporous Tape
- 2 x Emergency Waste Bag
- 1 x Tough Cut Scissors
- 1 x Small Twisting Tick Remover
- 1 x Large Twisting Tick Remove
- 1 x Carabiner
- 1 x Whistle
- 1 x Styptic Stick
- 1 x CPR Mask
- 1 x Syringe
- 2 x Eye Wash
- 1 x Emergency Blanket
- 4 x Gloves (2 Pairs)
- 1 x Large Dressing
- 1 x Abdominal Pad
- 2 x Lancets
- 4 x Cotton Tipped Applicators
- 4 x Safety Pins
- 4 x Iodine Prep Pad
- 1 x Pill Box
- 2 x Wood Tongue Compress
- 2 x Sting Relief Pad
- 1 x Rubber Tourniquet
- 2 x Alcohol Prep Pads
- 1 x Styptic Stick
An emergency aid kit for dogs can be used to treat minor cuts and scrapes, soothe itchy skin, reduce anxiety, and much more. With the right first aid kit for dogs on hand, you can ease your dog’s anxiety during a storm, stop itching from allergies, and help ease discomfort from a scrape.
You will be glad that you have it on hand and know how to use it. It improves the quality of your dog’s life and yours. A dog first aid kit is a must-have for every dog owner. You never know when you will need it.
Medical kits are more advanced versions with a lot more components to treat a broader range of illnesses, injuries or conditions in situations where medical treatment isn’t possible for a while.
In the case of a major incident, where medical facilities may be too far away, medical kits will be a lifesaver for many people.
What’s the difference between a first aid kit and a medical kit?
The answer is complexity. In a first aid kit, you focus on the most common and most serious injuries and illnesses that might occur. In a medical kit, you have to prepare for everything, no matter how rare the condition may be.
They are designed to provide the essentials for dealing with the most common medical issues that might be encountered during a disaster situation. They can be used to treat a broad range of issues from cuts and scrapes to burns and fractures.
A good budget medical kit might include this sort of range of ingredients:
- Waterproof plasters,
- adhesive dressings,
- instant ice pack,
- dressing pad,
- sterile eye pad dressing,
- eyewash eye-pod,
- wound closure strips,
- foil blanket,
- mouth to mouth shield,
- blister plasters,
- large adhesive dressings.
In emergencies, standard first aid will not be enough to save your life or the life of those around you. In these situations, medical kits are the best option to try and stay alive till medical help reaches you. Medical kits can also have advanced equipment like
- emergency pills,
- anti-seizure medications,
- breathing tubes,
- saline solution,
- and blood pressure monitors, among others.
These are essential for the treatment of injuries or people dealing with chronic or serious illnesses during natural disasters due to their condition.
First Aid Bag
First aid bag is a catch-all term for any portable medical kit that comes in bag form, so there are lots of different types and even just the bag on its own.
Some of the first aid bags are pretty generic and can be used for lots of different things, while others are more specialized, like a car emergency kit. Some bags are more like a backpack, while others are more like duffel bags.
Some first aid bags are designed to sit right next to your car’s seatbelt in case of an accident, and others are designed to be kept in your car. Some are designed for adults, others for kids, and some are unisex.
Some are designed to be taken on hikes, others are designed to be kept in the car. Some are designed to be easily accessible, while others are designed to be difficult to open by kids.
As you can see, there are lots of different types of first aid bags, so you need to decide which features are most important to you.
If you’re looking for a medical emergency kit for your home, you may not need to carry it around with you, so weight and size may not be as important. If you’re looking for a first aid kit for a car, you’ll want something compact and easy to store, so you may want to avoid models with lots of bulkier supplies.
If you’re looking for one for work, you may want something that you can easily access but isn’t so obvious to clients or customers, so you may want to avoid very bright or flashy designs. Keep these things in mind when choosing a first aid bag so you can find the one that best meets your needs.
If it’s a first aid bag you’re looking for, to store existing kit then there are plenty of options that you can pick up for a small investment that will give you anything from a grab bag pouch style bag to a haversack style over the shoulder bag
These will come with a variety of compartments and storage options, ideal for keeping your kit organised and easy to find when it is needed. It’s worth noting that the more compartments that a first aid bag comes with, the more expensive it will be, but this is something worth considering as it can be very helpful when trying to keep things organised.
These options are great for people who require a quick and easy access that they can grab and go in an emergency situation, or for younger members of the family who may not have the strength or dexterity to lift and carry a larger one.
Grab bags are often a variety of shapes and sizes and come in a variety of fabric options, such as waterproof fabrics, or fabrics that are easy to clean, to suit every family situation. Haversacks are often larger and have a variety of pockets to store all your essential first aid items. Wherever you look you will find a variety of options to suit every family situation.
There are pre-filled first aid bags that come as full portable medical kits too and these range in size and price depending on the amount of kit that’s in them, so you can fins similar styles to the empty bags but filled instead and these range in price and size accordingly.
Specialist medical and first aid kits
There are many different kinds of specialist medical and first aid kits designed to fulfil roles in various settings as well, including
- home first aid kit
Normally contains bandages, scissors, pain relief medication, cold packs, scissors, hand sanitiser etc. Keeping a one at home comes in handy when you are not prepared for an emergency. These kits not only help you cure minor injuries but also help you prevent them from getting worse.
- travel kit
A travel kit has essential kit for treating pain, swelling, cuts, scrapes, burns and more. These items are often small and easy to pack and can be very helpful if you get sick or injured while travelling.
- first aid tin
First aid tins are normally sold as empty tins with first aid markings and have hinged lids. They are designed to be filled with medical supplies and come in a convenient size for cupboard storage.
- car kit
In case you get sick or wounded while traveling, these items are usually small and simple to pack and may be very beneficial.
- football first aid
Football kits contain all of the items needed to treat a minor injury on the playing field and there are FA approved kits available if necessary.
- children’s first aid
Kits that can help calm, comfort, & distract your child while you do first aid and help ease their discomfort.
- hiking kit
Small first aid packs that contain all the essentials for treating cuts, bites and sprains whilst out hiking.
- burns kit
Burn treatment kits come with a variety of materials to provide immediate and effective burn treatment, such as dressings and gels.
- trauma kits
Quick-release, MOLLE compatible medical packs that contain life-saving medical supplies in hard-wearing material to withstand harsh environments, such as combat zones.
All of these have some variety in terms of ingredients ranging from a few items to an almost mobile ambulance level of medical kit that will treat all kinds of injuries. First aid supplies can also be bought as individual components and made into kits for specialist use.
About First Aid Kits
They play an important role in any workplace, home or vehicle. Many will conform to medical, and professional standards such as HSE, British Standard, etc. These kits come in various sizes depending on the usage. Some are designed for private use, while others are intended for public use.
- Public kits must conform to strict safety regulations. They must be kept in locations where they can be accessed quickly in an emergency.
- Private kits can be customised as per the needs of the user.
Conforming to standards makes it easy to identify which first kit you need in a given setting and that the kit is produced by a reputable source that can be relied on to perform in its appropriate setting.
By ensuring that all first aid supplies are marked with the relevant standards, you can be certain that you are getting the kit that you need for the situation at hand. In an emergency, every second counts, and every moment matters.
The last thing you want to worry about is whether or not the kit you are using is up to standard. Endorsement of a specific standard can serve as a good indication that the kit adheres to that standard and is appropriate for a given situation.
Certain elements of your kit can expire, so it’s important to check the dates on these products and restock your kit as needed. Additionally, it may be helpful to keep a list of emergency phone numbers inside, in case of an emergency. You may want to keep a first aid manual in your kit as well, in case you need guidance on how to treat certain injuries. Finally, it’s important to keep it in an easy-to-reach location in case of an emergency, but also somewhere that kids and pets can’t get to it.
Expiry dates are normally printed on the product label. It’s important to check for expiry dates on all products in it and replace any that are past their expiry date as they can be unsafe or ineffective.
It’s also a good idea to rotate your supply inventory every 6 to 12 months. Doing this will ensure that all of your supplies are fresh and will last a long time. Once you decide what to include in your first aid kit, you need to make sure it is stored in a safe and dry place. Humidity, heat, and sunlight can all negatively impact the effectiveness of first aid supplies.
It’s also a good idea to check the contents of your kit regularly and make sure everything is where it should be. Supplies can get misplaced, or worn out over time, so it’s important to keep an eye on things and restock as needed to keep it up-to-date and safe to use.
Maintaining an up-to-date first aid kit and adhering to any health and safety regulations in your home or workplace are both vitally important.
Having a first aid kit or kits on-site can help keep your family or company safe and your employees healthy. Make sure the expiry date is up to date and that all necessary supplies are included.
If you stock yours with a variety of supplies, you can be prepared for anything. A well-stocked first aid kit includes both basic and emergency supplies.
Basic supplies can be used to treat minor injuries, such as cuts and scrapes, and likely emergencies, like allergic reactions. Emergency supplies are for serious injuries, such as burns from a fire, broken bones, or a heart attack.
Building your own kit
If you’re building your kit from scratch, there are basic items that you will need to include to cover general first aid situations at home, workplace or vehicle(s).
Depending on your needs and the type of activities you are engaged in, you can decide to purchase one that has everything or focus on specific items.
For example, if you are travelling and are unsure about medical facilities at your destination, you may want to consider a kit that supplies medications for common illnesses such as the flu, allergies, or other conditions. Similarly, if you have a family member with a health condition, you may need to build a kit with specific items such as allergy medications.
Make sure the one that you buy or assemble has enough supplies to meet your needs.
You may want to consider keeping a smaller one in your car. A car emergency kit can be kept in your car, SUV or truck and should have items that will assist you if you are in an accident or get stranded.
What to put in your car first aid kit will depend on where you live and your driving patterns. If you drive where there is snow, you may need a different kit from someone who lives in an area where there is no snow.
If you have small children in the car, you likely need a car emergency kit that has items they can use.
In professional scenarios, you should be guided by professional or legislative guidance from bodies like HSE or an equivalent, who have oversight on workplace safety.
Even if you’re not using them in a workplace, the rule of thumb is surely to be as comprehensive as possible to enable your medical needs to be met in the event of an illness or injury.
First Aid Basics
The basic materials or ingredients you will need for a basic kit include:
You want wound dressings such as sterile pads, sterile wound dressing, sterile eye pads, fabric and waterproof plasters.
Fabric or waterproof plastic dressings that are self adhesive and can be applied to small grazes and cuts. These come in all shapes and sizes including clear plasters, gel blister plasters, coloured plasters.
Bandages are used to secure dressings, limit swelling, keep pressure on wounds and support injured joints. Types of bandage can include roller bandages (conforming, open-weave, support and self-adhesive types available), triangular – bandages made of cloth that can be fashioned into a sling or wrapped around large wounds and burns, tubular bandages.
Protective items such as gloves (disposable) are always advisable and there are latex-free options that are sterile and suitable for most situations.
Foil or aluminium blankets for retaining body heat in emergency, pins and clips to fasten loose bandages, scissors to cut bandages to size or cut clothing to get to an injury, adhesive tape to hold dressings together, gauze pads or swabs to clean and pad, cleansing wipes to clean wounds and areas around them.
Of course, these are not the only things you might need from a kit but they are the basics and will certainly help. There are more resources available for understanding medical first aid at lots of different websites but we recommend St. John’s Ambulance as they are the most reputable source, being the world’s longest serving first aid organisation.