The potential for disasters and emergencies is there no matter where you live. Living in Canada for example, the worry might be damage from a thunderstorm or a freak tornado. Living in Florida you might be concerned about being hit by a summer hurricane. Living in Alaska you might have winter ice storms or spring river flooding to contend with. When disaster strikes, the damage can be substantial, but there are companies to help you mitigate and repair the damage and resources like home insurance to help you recover financially and get back to normal. But that's the aftermath. In the midst of a disaster, it's in your best interest to keep a first aid kit on hand at home. Here's a list of the most important things to put in it.


Since this is your home first aid kit, you should keep extras of any important medication taken by members of the family (for instance insulin for diabetics, epinephrine shots for severe allergies, asthma inhalers, heart medication) in your home at all times. Also make sure there are detailed instructions with the medication in case someone unfamiliar with it has to administer it. Aspirin is also a necessity in case of heart attacks.


Include a waterproofed sheet with the numbers for local emergency (usually 9-1-1), police, fire, hospital, and poison control on it as well as your civic address, which emergency services will need to find your house. You should also include a small first aid book which can assist untrained responders in giving you CPR or treating your injuries should you be hurt.


Include latex gloves to protect you from blood contamination and a CPR mask or shield to protect you during mouth-to-mouth.


To deal with bleeding injuries, you'll want to include such things as band aids (small, large, elbow, knee, and cut-your-own sized), gauze rolls (stretchy), sterile gauze pads (small and large), medical tape, and scissors for trimming.

Broken Bones

It isn't a good idea to attempt to set bones broken at home unless you live far out in the country or have injured yourself beyond the reach of EMS. In these cases, you will want to have on hand either a plastic commercial splint or two rolled towels and several triangular bandages.

Poisons, Stings, and Burns

Essential gear for first response to bites, stings, and poisonings includes salt (for removal of leeches), tweezers (for ticks and stingers), UHT milk (for some swallowed poisons), and anti-venom (if poisonous animals are common). For burns you will want to have on hand water, aloe gel, and sterile gauze.

Heat and Cold

For cold exposure, chemical hand warming packs can be a life saver. You should also have a foil emergency blanket. For heat exposure, pack a tarp that can be put up to give shade, Gatorade to replenish fluids, and cold packs.

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Thursday, May 30, 2024