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TGIF ~ How to Build Your Own Med Kits ~

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Knuckle
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TGIF ~ How to Build Your Own Med Kits ~

Postby Knuckle » Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:05 pm

There is a big difference in items that come with many First Aid kits and that which Paramedics use on a daily basis. During an emergency, you will be challenged to make the bandages look as professional and stay in place as well as hospitals seem to. This is mainly due to the quality of the product.

Many injuries occur to an area that flex (elbows, hands, knees) and therefore the bandage needs to conform to allow motion while maintaining its position over the wound. Hospitals use conforming wrap bandage due to this ability to stay in place and allow motion of the joint. But the first time you dive into your purchased First Aid kit and try to wrap even a simple wound, you'll soon note this difference in bandages.

Now these mass produced kits can still get the job done(barely), but making them work in a time of crisis is a challenge in itself. If the patient doesn't move the injured area, your work should even remain in place until they can seek proper medical attention. It's just that nothing goes that easy....!

A lot of these kits are full of small things that you will likely never use, but they fill the box so the label can say "170 items inside" instead of saying "30 useful items you will really need!" .... The only way to get a proper kit with decent contents is the either replace the junk with good stuff or start your own kit from scratch. It is still sometimes useful to buy one of these cheap kits just to acquire some items in a lesser quantity than when buying bulk amounts for just a few items...you have to decide this, but you should at least compare the contents of each of your First Aid kits with those presented in the following spreadsheet.

I've tried to keep things simple and concise with pictures to help you visualize items described. I had to keep this file small (to be able to upload it for sharing) and yet functional to perform all of it's tasks still.

It will do the following:

- display the contents of a decent Trauma Kit for the home

- display the contents of a decent Automotive First Aid kit

- display the contents of a decent BOB First Aid kit

- allow you to pick and choose from these selections,the quantity of each item for your kit

- present the total for all items required for ordering(as per your selection)

- present the total cost per kit and suggest where to buy those items cheapest.

- show various tackle box options to contain items properly

- suggest various optional items to add to make your kits even better.

- even added a prescription drug section including others suggestions of cheap alternative antibiotics (I dunno?)

- you just fill in the blue areas and the spreadsheet does the rest!


Box Selection:

Most trauma kits are simply tackle boxes. These are usually cheapest at Walmart and come in many sizes to suit your needs. My suggestion is this one http://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/8616-plano- ... 0016946530 (at $25 for a large kit) and any kind such as this http://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/plano-2-362 ... 0016951117 (at $8 - $10) for BOB's or vehicle kits.

Home Trauma Kit:

To avoid wasting time looking for a specific item during a critical situation, Trauma kits expand to show all when fully open. Small items in the folding trays with larger items stored in the base. This large kit should likely suit your home best and can also be used to store extra stock if you still have the room. This kit should also hold backups of prescription drugs or equivalent substitutes. It should even have advanced items such as blood pressure cuff, suturing capabilities, airways, and other such items(just in case...). I don't usually go for items that require batteries as they often fail when you need them most.

Vehicle Emergency Kit:

The problem with making this kit too big is that you will end up tripping over it while using your vehicle during daily routines. Therefore both it and your emergency road kit should be designed to fit in some out of the way spot until it is needed. A soft bag can conform better to some locations but some items can be more easily damaged this way. With these points in mind, choose the bag or box accordingly.

Now you have to choose which items and how many to carry by the size of this container. A roadside Emergency kit has a far better chance of being used for more critical injuries so this kit needs to be designed along this premise. Stabilizing the patient(s) is first priority so prepare this kit with this factor in mind. This means a large assortment of bandages, burn and pressure dressings, splints, reflective blankets, skin closures and such. A flashlight that you can aim such as a headband style or such is best as often accidents occur after dark and proper lighting is priority is such a crisis.

A $10 escape tool is another handy tool for quickly removing windows from cars so you can better extricate persons from damaged vehicles. After covering the victims face from possible fragments, simply punch the glass in the far corner of windshield. The window will fracture completely but remain intact. The you just push the fractured glass outward to remove.

BOB's First Aid Kit

Now this kit has to be small as your BOB has to contain a lot of daily items already. A small seal-able sandwich container will do fine in most cases. It's contents are minimal basics such as mini flashlight, lots of Band-Aids, pressure dressings, emergency blankets, triangular bandage, alcohol wipes, skin closures, crazy glue, tourniquet, tampon, lots of tape, safety pins, and maybe some pills. You likely don't need suture needles and thread because the likelihood that you will play Rambo is slight and skin closures are much easier than stabbing yourself as you practice sewing.

enjoy

~ Knuckle ~
Attachments
First Aid Kits.xlsx
How to Build a First Aid Kit (or fix what you got)!
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Last edited by Knuckle on Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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helicopilot
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Re: How to Build Your Own Med Kits (or fix what you got)!

Postby helicopilot » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:47 pm

Knuckle,

Thanks for taking the time to do this. I'll try to take pictures of my kits over the next few days and post them here. I agree that the average commercial kits are less than ideal, but better than nothing. I used to be very involved in St John Ambulance, both as an instructor and medic volunteer. The kits the sold started out as decent, but quickly turned out to be made in China junk : band aids that didn't stick, fraying gauze that left lint everywhere in the wounds and leaky instant-cold compresses. I'm not sure if their products are better now though.

Ah I wholeheartedly agree that conforming bandage is the ONLY way to go!!! Working as an EMT, tensor bandages were often my go-to for many things, from securing splints to keeping an ice pack on an injury to keeping an unconscious person's hands loosely together on a backboard or stretcher (limpy dangling limbs and door frames don't mix well...)

I hope your work will help getting folks the proper med gear they should have.
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Knuckle
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Re: How to Build Your Own Med Kits (or fix what you got)!

Postby Knuckle » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:53 pm

Thanks Helicopilot. It's nice to think that my knowledge hopefully isn't too outdated as I haven't driven ambulance since the early 80's. :o Yet I have carried those commercial First Aid kits since then though and have used them a half dozen times times for accidents and other situations I came across as first response otherwise. I have those same kits in my shop and even when using them for just minor injuries involving co-workers, I'm always reminded of how junky this stuff still is.

If you think of other items that the average Joe might need in a kit, please mention it too. I remembered the charcoal vomit kit since (but don't remember the proper name) :lol: I know we had a tracheotomy kit but figure that was too advanced to include. Air splints were great but too expensive and mainly for comfort, not necessity. You get the drift. Anyways, you have to be a lot more updated than I am so don't be shy about correcting my suggestions or work. Heck, the last I'd heard, St. john's was at 30:2 for compressions vs breaths and someone now said that it was to be all compressions only...being an instructor, you probably have the latest on this tidbit too.

This is a good section to use for posting items that could be included and even ideas to make things more useful in First Aid. Example: I once stopped a bleeder on a missing finger by using Balsam tree sap and it worked great. The doctor cleaning the wound cursed me but it was a days travel to him and it kept the wound clean too. (Just a whispered thought for those who trip around in the bushes a lot).

My wife buried a decent commercial kit in the back of her H3 and never saw that something had crushed the case until a broken laundry soap jug doused the contents thoroughly. I changed the kit to a soft bag and stuffed it into the back door instead where it might survive better until it is needed. This is why I mention that folks might want to determine where to stash it first and build the kit according to this limitation. I even have a softball sized kit on my Harley that will likely really annoy me if I ever have to use it :roll: Yet something is usually better than nothing....and this is why I think folks may need the prompting. Most have likely already seen situations that they could have put even a simple First Aid kit to use in if they had one handy. Therefore they should conclude that even a small investment in one might make a difference the next time around.
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helicopilot
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Re: How to Build Your Own Med Kits (or fix what you got)!

Postby helicopilot » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:44 am

A coworker had a bumper sticker that read : "the last patient that called me ambulance driver died!" ;)

Knuckles, I'm on the road with the family, relocating and living out of suitcases. Once life gets back to a semblance of normalcy, I'll go through your spreadsheets, my kits, compare notes and make options.

We still teach 30:2 but "compression only CPR" is also taught to those concerned about artificial respiration to strangers. By the way, air splints haven't been used in years ;) SAM splints and FAST splints are now used in ambulances. I would also not worry about tracheotomy and IV and all the stuff that sounds cool but are difficult to do even by the best trained and experienced field practitioners when in the field.

For those not too inclined toward online shopping, those pharmacies that specialize in home care products often sell bandages and dressings either by the package or by the unit. Online, I've shopped at sands.ca a few time years ago and had a good experience. Not necessarily the cheapest out there, but they have a bit of everything.
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endangeredspecies
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Re: How to Build Your Own Med Kits (or fix what you got)!

Postby endangeredspecies » Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:26 am

Medicines have expiry dates so you know when to use them by. After the expiry date medicines may:

not be safe
lose some or all of their effectiveness (ability to work)

You should not take medicines after their expiry date. If you’ve had a medicine for a while, check the expiry date before using it. You should also make sure you’ve stored the medicine properly.

If your medicine looks, tastes or smells different to when you first got it, even if it’s within the expiry date, take it to your pharmacist for advice. For more information, see What should I do or not do with my medicines?
Where is the expiry date?

You can find the expiry date on the medicine packaging or on the label. This may say:

expiry
expiry date
expires
exp
exp date
use by
use before

Expiry dates are put on medicines by:

the manufacturer that produces the medicine, or
the pharmacist who supplies (dispenses) the medicine
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Knuckle
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Re: How to Build Your Own Med Kits (or fix what you got)!

Postby Knuckle » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:30 pm

helicopilot wrote:A coworker had a bumper sticker that read : "the last patient that called me ambulance driver died!" ;).


Paramedic courses were just starting out in my day. When folks asked if we were Paramedics, we'd say "ya were a pair of medics when there is 2 of us"! I was hired as a driver due to having skid school training as an MP but I did assist a lot. My usual shift-partner was a military medic who knew his stuff and I drove in Whitecourt and Hinton, Alta in those days. No cell phones, air support, injections for pain(we used pressure points) or portable Defib's or modular ambulances (showing my age again :? ). We owned our trauma kits(privatized outfit) and the pay sucked in our day(most of us were single then and just liked the action).


helicopilot wrote: By the way, air splints haven't been used in years ;) SAM splints and FAST splints are now used in ambulances.


This explains why I couldn't find air splints on eBay. I've seen the SAM splint in use but noted that they likely don't relieve some of the pain as air splints did when pumped up(to reduce the pain on bad roads). I like how SAM's roll up to store and one site says $10 for 36"x4" and they'd sure beat using paints sticks as we sometimes did(but they were free).

Endangeredspecies comment is also good food-for-thought to note as we often tend to forget these little details.
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helicopilot
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Re: How to Build Your Own Med Kits (or fix what you got)!

Postby helicopilot » Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:47 pm

Endangeredspecies,

There is much debate on medicine expiry date, especially from a prepper standpoint. Like most "best before" date, the pharmaceutical companies only prove 100% effectiveness until date "x", which they label as expiry date. There are not required to prove the medicine remains 100% effective beyond that date. From a business standpoint, they are more than happy to sell you another bottle of Advil once your still half-full bottle has "expired". That said, the vast majority of medicine doesn't go bad, they simply become less effective.. What that means is that instead of having to take 1 Advil tablet to relieve your pounding headache, you may need to take 1 1/2 tablet. As you state, look for color, appearance, smell... In a long term emergency, I wouldn't hesitate to take any "expired" medicine. That said, for day-to-day situation like your hockey coach having a heart attack, it might be a good ideas to give him 2 "fresh" baby Aspirins to chew....
Last edited by helicopilot on Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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helicopilot
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Re: How to Build Your Own Med Kits (or fix what you got)!

Postby helicopilot » Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:49 pm

Knuckle,

Air splints caused circulation issue with swelling usually associated with fractures. There were also serious issues in the case of drastic changes in altitudes (air evac or mountain rescues).

Speaking of Associated... Was that the name of he EMS ambulance company you used to work for?
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Knuckle
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Re: How to Build Your Own Med Kits (or fix what you got)!

Postby Knuckle » Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:58 pm

helicopilot wrote:Knuckle,


Speaking of Associated... Was that the name of he EMS ambulance company you used to work for?


yes it was, and Parkland Emergency Rescue was the other.
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endangeredspecies
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Re: How to Build Your Own Med Kits (or fix what you got)!

Postby endangeredspecies » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:04 am

thank you for the reply helicopilot
its good information to share on this thread
i ever been scare these expired drugs turn into deadly poisonous chemical
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