What is First Aid

First aid is the “first” care provided to a medical need and is a critical element of every emergency plan. First aid is often the treatment of something as simple as a splinter or scraped knee; however, in emergency situations resulting from heart attacks or other medical emergencies, accidents, or natural disasters, emergency first aid is the first critical step that can often times mean the difference between life and death. Typical first aid during an emergency situation may include administering CPR, stopping bleeding, treating burns, or stabilizing a broken bone with a splint.


First AidCreative Commons License photo credit: tiny_packages


First Aid Kits

The list below includes first aid contents needed in any well-stocked First Aid Kit; whether you’re assembling a Medical Kit for your home or office, or a Car First Aid Kit.

Quick Reference First Aid Book with CPR
CPR Mask/Breathing Barrier
Antibiotic Ointment
Hand Sanitizer Gel or Wipes
Medical Gloves (several pairs)
Antiseptic Wipes (for cleansing wounds)
Chewable Aspirin 81mg
Pain Relieving Burn Gel
Bandages in varied sizes:
Elastic Crepe (comes in rolls)
Sterile Guaze Dressing Pads
Gauze Squares (to apply pressure to bleeding wounds)
Triangular Bandage (for slings or securing splints)
Band Aids
Adhesive Tape
Curved Medical Scissors (to cut clothes away from an injury)
Instant Cold Packs
Tongue Depressors (for finger splints)
Normal Saline Solution (for wound cleansing or flushing eyes)
Personal First Aid Needs
Prescription Medication
Allergy Medication
Spare eyeglasses
Copies of important medical information (i.e., pacemaker; stint; medical contacts; health insurance; etc.


Emergency First Aid Kit Storage

It’s a good idea to have the first aid kit that is kept in your home, stored in a backpack or duffle bag that can be easily transported in the event of an evacuation.

If you need to include prescription medications in your first aid kit, but the medication may not be stored for extended periods of time, attach a reminder note to the outside of your kit.


Suggested Car First Aid Kit Container

Tackle Box
Tool Box

For non-medical, home emergency supplies and car emergency kit items, please refer to the Emergency Supplies category on this website.



First Aid Training

This video addresses how being able to perform first aid can save lives and is an invaluable skill to learn.  It is important to attend a recognized first aid course where you not only be taught first aid training, but you will also have the benefit of practicing  what you’ve learned through various drills and exercises.

Almost everyone will at some point be faced with the opportunity to save a life by utilizing first aid skills.  It may be something as simple as turning someone onto their side (the recovery position) to prevent choking. Knowing what to do makes a dramatic difference.

For example, treatment for a minor burn injury is quite basic: cool it quickly with lots of running water, when it’s cool cover it to protect the burn from the bacteria in the air.  Cover it with something like cling film, which won’t stick to the wound.

Knowing the right first aid skills, knowledge, and information, allows you to feel more confident due to the fact that you will be able to do the right thing to help someone requiring emergency first aid.

You will learn to effectively reduce bleeding of a serious injury by using the two techniques of applying pressure and elevating the bleeding area above the level of the heart.

CPR skills are a vital part of first aid training to keep the blood circulating to the brain and to resuscitate an individual.  Attending a first aid training course is extremely important.  The difference between simply reading about first aid and cpr training, is completely different from actually practicing it, because in a real life situation you are a lot more likely to remember what you’ve practiced rather than something you’ve only read.

The video above was created by the National Health Service in the UK.  A resource recommended in this video to find local first aid courses is St. John Ambulance.  To find other available first aid and CPR training classes in your area by researching online or through your local newspaper, community college, local community center, city hall, or chamber of commerce. Another excellent resource is to contact your local American Red Cross.  Most first aid and CPR courses will charge a fee, but well worth it to equip yourself with critical first aid information…that you can’t put a price tag on.  CPR training courses are also available through the American Heart Association.


First Aid Training For Kids

Many organizations also offer first aid training for children.  It’s important for kids to know what to do in an emergency situation if the adult with them becomes unconscious or injured.  We’ve all seen the inspiring news reports of stories of children credited with saving their parent’s life.

You’ll need to contact the Red Cross, or whatever organization you’ve found, and ask what age requirements they have and then get your kids signed up.  Knowing what to do in an emergency situation provides a sense of security for children as well.


New CPR Steps

WPTV News in West Palm Beach, Florida reported in October 2010 that the American Heart Association has changed the guidelines for CPR steps.  The focus is being taken away from the breathing and now focus squarely on chest compressions.

Evidence has shown that heart attack victims do better when rescuers have skipped the rescue breaths and focused solely on chest compressions, therefore keeping the blood flowing to the brain, in turn keeping vital organs alive.

CPR courses taught by the American Heart Association have implemented the new guidelines and new course materials are to be available in 2011.