Saturday, August 20, 2011

First Aid Day

Yesterday was almost entirely devoted to First Aid.  We took our neighbor, Chuck, out to the shooting range at 9 am and he had a mishap with his pistol that caused a deep cut in his hand between the thumb and index finger.  Of course, we immediately took him home so he could seek medical care.  The cut required four stitches and Chuck is doing fine.  Luckily, he will still be bale to play his bagpipes.  Whew.

Well, the incident changed our day around and we spent the rest of the day messing with the revision of our first aid kit.  It lives in the .50 caliber ammo can shown above at left.  You wouldn't think revising a first aid kit could consume a whole day would you?  Well it did.  The time was spent mostly running around chasing down various items to replenish the kit as well as some new items we've never carried before.  We also had to repackage everything and then pack and repack the box for efficiency, etc. We also researched online to find and print the latest guidance on CPR and response to a choking incident.  Finally, we photographed everything and made an online slide show documenting the kit's contents.  You can click here to see it.

It's been years since we put any time into our first aid kit.  Back when we spent those four summers 90 minutes from medical care out at Bowery Guard Station, we put a lot of time into the first aid kit each year.  We didn't want to get caught short out there in MOAN Country.  Since we moved to the city four years ago, we have become very lax in maintenance and revision of our first aid kit.  This is not a good thing.  Likewise, we aren't as diligent about carrying the kit with us.  This is also not a good thing.

Yesterday's mishap with Chuck luckily turned out OK but it was a real wake up call about both the condition and the location of our first aid kit.  The kit now lives in a highly visible, easily accessible location.  No longer will we have to call out, "Where's our first aid kit?"  Likewise, the kit will go to the range on each and every visit from now on.

There's really only one way to prep a first aid kit and that's to devote 100% of your attention to it until it's finished precisely the way you wish it to be.  It's not one of those things were you can peck away at it a little today and a little tomorrow and maybe a little next week or next month.  What happens in that scenario is that the kit never gets finished up to snuff like it should be.  There's always going to be something missing and it's usually what you need when something goes wrong.  Nope, the only way to tackle prepping a first aid kit is to buckle down and "git 'er dun."  Luckily, yesterday was a perfect day for doing just that and now the kit is in tip top shape once again.

We're hoping our River Friends and LBRs will take a long look at the way we have the kit configured.  We hope they will also provide spot on ideas, criticisms and suggestions as to how to improve and better organize the kit.  At this point in our lives, we'd really like to be very well equipped once again to better handle whatever situation may arise.

(NOTE added at noon Saturday)  Based on the great comments below by SB & GH, we've decided to switch to the larger box right away.  It is shown beside the existing box for comparison.  The extra space will allow us to add many (if not all) of the good ideas brought forth below.  THANKS, SB & GH!

Have a great day & Many Cheers, jp


Marti Spudboater said...

Kudos John, for revising your first aid kit. You've described some good stuff in here. Here are some things I carrry in mine, but they are related to wilderness or off the trail trips, such as MOAN country. The vet tape I assume is similar to a 3 or 4 inch wide elastic wrap that is self closing that one would use for sprained ankles and the like. I always carry one of those. You should carry several pairs of latex or non latex disposable medical gloves. It ensure you don't get an infection from your patient and vice versa. Get an airway that fits your own mouth. This is hard to put in unless you are truly unconscious. Better to have one that fits you so someone else can use it on you. Epi-Pen. They are about $25 and expire after a year, though I've used ones kept cool and dry that are up to 5 years old. Needs a precription but is life saving in case of anaphalatic shock. Benadryl is temporary substitute. An ammonia based sting ese pen that can be used for bites and stings. Amazing pain relief. Silvadene which you need a prescription for and is used on burns. The only thing guaranteed to work and save the skin and help it heal Ibuprofen with tylenol. Also needed with a script. Good pain killer, works on chronic cough, too. Butterfly bandages for things needing stitches, hand heat warmers, and a sleeping bag in your rig for hypothermia. A space blanket is great as shelter, though. self chilling cold packs for swelling are good. Glad your neighbor will be on the mend. Best wishes to you and yours.

Marti Spudboater said...

John: I meant ibuprofen with codeine, not tylenol. much better at pain and less hard on the kidneys and liver. Tylenol is the most overdosed over the counter drug around. Feel free to remove this post after you've digested the contents. Or revise and offer suggestions on First aid supplies as relevant.

The Goatherder said...

Buy VetWrap at feed stores. It's the same thing as the self adhesive elastic wrap sold in people pharmacies but costs less than half as much. Comes in purty colors too. Great for holding on larger bandages or ones that need compression as well as sprains. small diameter foam pipe wrap stiffened with a layer of vetwrap makes a great finger splint. We temporarily set a broken goat leg with that setup last year until I could get some plaster casting material.

John Parsons said...

AWESOME Ideas, Spudboater and Goatherder! Thanks to each of you. I'm going to leave these comments up and running indefinitely. I know some other LBRs are going to be reading them and you offer very good advice. I really like the small diameter pipe wrap idea, GH--awesome! Will get on these ideas as soon as I move to the larger box--prolly this week. THANKS!

John Parsons said...

Here's Gary W.'s input about the first aid kit:
Telfa non-stick 4x4, you can put this as a base bandage before adding the trauma heavy gaze.
Quick Clot 25 grams, this will stop just about any bleeding - does get warm due to a chemical reaction about 110 degrees.
Salt supplement, helps with dehydration called Thermotabs
Chemical cold pack
Glucose tube or several hard candies
Eye cup for washing out junk
Scalpel/razor blade.
How old are your meds in the box?
Duck tape
Antiseptic towelette medical grade.
Trauma shears.
Good selection of quality band-aids.
10cc syringe with 18ga needle for flushing wounds clean using bottle water or your eye wash solution.
Burn gel with lidocane, Hydrocortisone cream, iodine swabs, sting-kill swabs, tincture benzoin swab.
Did you have Pepcid or Tums
And final item which I love is a 10x eye Lupe for digging out splinters

John Parsons said...

This came in from Wes G. in Camp Verde. THANKS, Wes--Great Idea!

"Elmer's glue, the wood stuff is the best, an old hot shot trick, can save you a lot of pain and time if you pick up a lot of tiny cactus thorns. You spread it over the site, let it set up, then peal it off. The glue bonds to the woody fibers and out they come. Of coarse us hairy leg types will have some other discomfort."