Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us

by Dave Robinson

Dave Robinson

Getting Your Medical Kit Together
Originally published June 30, 2012

First aid kits are cool! Like gadgets, I can’t pass up a good one. Every time I see a display of first aid kits I have to stop and look them over. I don’t always buy, mind you, but I do check out the contents to see if this one is any more comprehensive than the one I just looked at. Fact is I have one in every vehicle I own, including a special “Outdoorsman kit” in the tool compartment of my ATV! I once ran across a real sale at an Eddie Bauer store and bought a very nice travel kit that was marked 75% off! The fact is most first aid kits all contain the same things. A few Band-Aids, gauze bandages, some tape and maybe some pain killers or antacid tablets.

The problem I see is that if I happen upon an accident that truly requires some serious medical attention, a few Band-Aids and some little gauze patches aren’t going to do a whole lot of good. I don’t suggest you carry a full-blown trauma kit with you every where you go, but what I do suggest is that you at least take a good look at what you have in your trunk and possibly upgrade it a notch or two. Bigger, better bandages, maybe a triangle bandage or something you can use to fashion a splint. Better yet, get some training on how and when to use a splint or triangle bandage.

A generation ago my wife and I went through E.M.T. training (at least that’s what they called it back then) and we volunteered on the local ambulance crew. Some of what we learned back then is now out of date. Is it five chest compressions and three mouth-to-mouth breaths or is it fifteen compressions and five breaths? Fact is, neither are correct according to today’s paramedics. The Red Cross website (www.redcross.org) now advocates a hands-only technique that does not use the mouth-to-mouth method at all. (Whew what a relief, I’ve tried mouth-to-mouth and it is no fun!) Go to a class and as you update your skills, you will update your confidence level as well. I should add that full CPR training is available upon request, but learning the hands-only method can be done on-line by watching a video at the Red Cross website.

The kit you have in your car should look different from the kit you have at home. Your home kit should have more of a long-term feel to it. Extra over-the-counter medications like antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, some alcohol (no, not that kind) and some diarrhea medication. Once you get started it will grow and you’ll need to get a bigger box to hold it all. (Experience talking here.) As you already know, I am an advocate of building your own kits. You’ll save money, plus you will have quality components and not a lot of stuff you’ll never use. As always, your questions and comments are welcome at disasterprep.dave@gmail.com

Note: Dave Robinson is Bandon's Postmaster and has worked for the postal service for 30 years. He has a background in law enforcement, served in the Air Force in Vietnam, worked nine years for the Coos County Sheriff's Department, and serves on the Myrtle Point School Board, where he lives.

additional columns by Dave Robinson