Now, when we discuss 'First Aid' kits, we have to ask the next question, what is the purpose of the kit?
A first aid kit for minimal carry, such as the kit mentioned above is going to be a very different kit than a kit
you have in your car, which will probably be different than what you have in your home,
and should be quite different than the kit you keep in your workshop (if you have one)
NOTE: I will NOT be discussing what drugs I think you should carry in your kit.
There is too much liability, and it's too much of a personal choice.
I will say that you should carry a minimum of 1 day of whatever prescription drugs
you take with you even in your carry kit, and go from there.
Probably the most important thing you can do is get a bit of training. Contact your local Red Cross, and take their CPR with First Aid class.
Let's think about the little kit above, and how we can make it better,
without making the kit too big to carry, and with very little expense.
The first thing I'd add would be at least one, and preferably two '4x4' gauze bandages. Now, I've used a
lot of 4x4s over the last few years, and I've found that some are very lose weave,
and can hold almost no fluid, and others are great.
I happen to like the Johnson & Johnson
brand Gauze Pads. They are about as thick as two 'normal' gauze pads.
Obviously, you're going to have to add a bit of tape to hold the bandage on. 3M makes sheets of pre-cut tape strips for doing this, or you can get a roll of tape, and stick a few strips on a clean piece of hard plastic.
Believe it or not, this one simple change makes your kit a lot more versatile. The 4x4 can cover a large scrape, it can cover a cut larger longer than say 1/2 inch, and just has so many uses.
Let's start with the general idea that you have no training. What you really need is a larger version of what is in your carry kit.
In a car kit, I personally also like to have some sort of trauma bandage. I can remember as a young teen, I was the first person to get to the scene of a fairly nasty car accident, and having something beside a rag to put over the guys wound to apply direct pressure sure would have been nice.
- A few more bandages (Bandaids are one brand).
- A box of 4x4s.
- A couple of rolls of gauze
- A roll of say two inch wide cloth first aid tape. Why do I say cloth? Paper tape is a heck of a lot more comfortable, but does not stick nearly as well, and for first aid use, you really want the tape to stick.
- A bandana, or a triangular bandage can be used to make a sling, help hold on bandages and the like
- Some sort of antibiotic ointment should be in there
- A small bottle of saline/pure water. The ability to clean out/flush out a cut/scrape before you bandage a wound is very important. At home, you are likely to have running water, but in a car, that bottle of water can make a big difference.
- A few "ABD" type bandages are really like 'super 4x4s', but a nice alternative, that most households will have around is MAXIPADS!! They are great for stopping bleeding, don't stick to wounds, and can always be used for their original purpose.
- A pair of tweezers are great for removing splinters
- A pair of 'emt' type shears for cutting the tape/gauze.
- An eye wash cup for washing out anything that gets in your eye
- Various drugs (pain relief, anti-itch, decongestant/antihistamine etc)
- Non-latex gloves - nitrile is one type - for your own protection
- A CPR mask - Lets assume you got some CPR training here
- Moleskin - great for blisters
- An ace bandage/Cobain type bandage - for sprains and the like
- You may want to add a SAM type splint, depending. Sometimes they can help with a sprain and the like, but it's fairly easy to improvise, and if it's a break, get the person to the ER and/or call an ambulance
You'll note that I don't mention things like suture kits and the like. If you're NOT trained, don't do it. Just DON'T. It's way too easy to trap things that will cause infections in there. If you're NOT a backwoods hiker, you're probably going to be in the ER fairly quickly, let the pros handle it.
Kits for the home workshop are really just bigger/better home kits, basically with the idea that something VERY bad can go wrong, fast. Fingers can get amputated, cuts bad enough to require stitches happen a lot more often than you think. Some sort of trauma type bandage should be in there, be it a 'bloodstopper', or what they call a battle bandage.
There are a lot of GOOD first aid kits out there.Redflare sells some good kits on his site.
On other sites, I've seen lot of kits that are nothing more than expensive, large boo-boo kits.
One great place to learn about first aid kits, and other disaster preps, without it being a 'survivalist' site is Equipped to Survive
(Disclaimer - I am the Urban Preparedness section moderator)