Emergency kit tips to keep you safe
A life could depend on the contents.
Ouch! Accidents happen. Cuts, burns and broken bones can occur almost anywhere. A kiss and a bandage just aren't enough. A well-stocked emergency kit is an essential piece of equipment to have in situations ranging from accidents in the kitchen to mishaps in the work place. Here are some emergency kit tips that provide a fine fix until appropriate medical treatment is obtained.
First aid kits for use in the home
Match the kit to the needs at hand. The items included in an emergency kit can be assembled more easily after a quick assessment of the population that might be in need of help. An emergency kit for the home might include an antidote for bee stings if any of the family's children are allergic to the venom the insects inject upon stinging. Emergency kit tips also might include—if there are elderly people present—adding a compact defibrillator to one's supplies. It's a portable machine that can shock a heart back into beating.
Think of the emergencies encountered in the past year or two. Most times, their treatment probably called for basic supplies such as antiseptic spray, anti-bacterial ointment, gauze pads and bandage strips made of plastic—or more flexible woven fabric. Consider the addition of a modern alternative to the old-fashioned, easily crunched thermometer with its vertical core of toxic mercury. Today's thermometers are lightweight heat-sensitive tape strips that adhere to the forehead and change color according to the temperature of the skin.
Think outside the box when stocking a first-aid kit for home use. A child may raise a finger or a foot and tearfully complain of having a sliver—glass, wood or metal—that is tiny but painful. The location of the sliver often is generalized. The child can point to the area but nothing there may be visible to the eye of the caregiver. The addition of an inexpensive jewelers loupe—a small but powerful magnifying glass—to one's home care medical supplies brings the tiniest objects into view.
Emergency kits for the work place
A well-stocked emergency kit for use in offices or other work places may have some important components that are crucial for use on acquaintances whose personal histories are unknown. The increasing presence of infectious diseases is a consideration in today's work place. People from all walks of life may harbor any one—or more than one—of a multitude of viruses and bacterial infestations that could be transferred to a caregiver assisting in an emergency.
The most serious of these diseases results from unprotected sexual contact and transfer of body fluids with an infected partner—or from infected blood that may enter via a cut, scratch or open sore the body of an unsuspecting person such as someone applying emergency aid.
An emergency in which a victim is bleeding or stops breathing calls for immediate wariness. Today, the mere possibility that any person in the office or in any work place is afflicted with a contagious disease calls for extra measures. For instance, an infected person may be oblivious to the fact they have HIV—Human Immunodeficiency Virus—the virus that causes AIDS—Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
The possibility is one that calls for protective measures when emergency treatment needs to be given by a bystander, the office manager or any person coming to the rescue. Why? Because the virus is one whose incubation period can be a matter of seven years or more. And there are no telltale signs of its presence.
That reality calls for precautions on the part of the person treating the victim on the scene because the disease lurks in body fluids. When blood is present, the caregiver should wear latex gloves. When the afflicted person for any reason stops breathing, the caregiver needs protection before mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is given. Emergency kit tips include the immediate addition of an ample supply of latex gloves to the current kit's contents—and a barrier mask for rescue breathing without mouth-to-mouth contact.
A barrier mask is a plastic sheath equipped with a breathing tube that enables a rescuer to blow into a victim's mouth and thereby inflate the lungs without needing to have any skin-to-skin contact. The device often is called a CPR mask and also can be used in conjunction with chest compressions to assist a heart attack victim until trained personnel arrive on the scene. Today, fire fighters, school nurses and many police officers carry a CPR mask in their emergency kits. It's a little piece of equipment that even lifeguards now consider essential. Just in case.