For life’s emergencies: building your first-aid kit

Introducing our basic guide to creating your own first-aid kit. Prepared and ready for those boo-boo moments that inevitably surface from time to time.

We’re big fans of saving lives and staying healthy here at capable men, which is why we feel it’s essential to have a first-aid kit prepared and ready for those boo-boo moments that inevitably surface from time to time.

It’s always handy to have a first-aid kit tucked away in your home, your car and even your daily carry backpack to enable you to control any medical issues that may surface from time to time. There is a wide variation in the contents of first-aid kits based on specific requirements, experience and user knowledge of those putting a kit together which can normally be categorised in 2 forms:

  • Basic – Basic boo-boo kit for minor injuries.
  • Specialised – Risk/region specific injuries, advanced skill sets.

Supplies & Contents of a First Aid Kit

Today we’re going to take a look at the basic first-aid kit and the functions of the necessary items. So before we assemble our medical items, we must firstly find a container/pouch to place our items in. These can be anything from:

Whatever your choice decides to be, make sure the container is appropriately labelled as a first-aid/medical kit so there is no flapping and confusion when somebody starts leaking the red stuff.

  • First aid instruction booklet – Having a manual inside your kit is always a helpful aid. We advocate regular reading and practise, but time can create uncertainty in practising good first-aid drills.
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes) – The fundamentals in basic boo-boo injuries, easy to use, ideally waterproof, stick over the wound. Done.
  • 2 absorbent compress dressings – These pads are ideal for stopping bleeding associated with deep lacerations, abrasions, burns, penetration wounds and fractures.
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape – Medical tape to secure those dressings.
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets – germ-free cleansing of scrapes and cuts.
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each) – Treats pain, fever, arthritis, and inflammation. It may also be used to reduce the risk of heart attack.
  • 1 blanket (space blanket) – Waterproof, windproof, low weight blanket used to prevent/counter hypothermia.
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve) – A mask used when performing CPR, that forms a barrier to help prevent transmission of harmful bacteria.
  • 1 instant cold compress –  Instant packs that turn ice cold in seconds to provide instant treatment for treating bumps, bruises, strains and sprains.
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large) – disposable gloves used to prevent cross infection during first-aid.
  • Scissors – For the removal of clothing and tape
  • Roller bandages – A high stretch, lightweight bandage for holding dressings in place.
  • 5 sterile gauze pads – Pads that wick away blood and fluid to keep wounds clean.
  • Oral thermometer – Used for measuring human body temperature
  • 2 triangular bandages – Used as slings, tourniquets, to tie splints, and many other uses.
  • Tweezers – for the removal of splinters amongst other things.

Optional items to include in your First Aid Kit:

The basic items above are a good base to have covered in your kits, but if you wish to explore more items that can increase the capability of your First-Aid kit, read on:

  • Ibuprofen – Used to reduce fever and treat pain or inflammation caused by many conditions such as headaches, toothache, back pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, or minor injury.
  • Lost Body Water & Salts Sachets – Replaces the body fluids and salts lost during illness.
  • Lip Balm (with sun protection) – Prevents and protects chapped, cracked or wind-burned lips
  • Miniature Torch/Light – For those moments when you have to apply first-aid in low light conditions.
  • Lighter – For the sanitation of tweezers
  • Butterfly closure strips – Used like stitches to close wounds, usually only used for higher level responses as they can seal in infection in uncleaned wounds.
  • Eye pads – Sterile eye pad dressing for treating people with eye injuries until they can get to the hospital.
  • Rescue Mask – An upgrade to the standard breathing barrier mentioned above, these large masks allow an easier application for CPR and the attachment of a resuscitator or oxygen.

So there we have it, our basic guide to creating your own first-aid kit. Having a solid grasp of treating wounds and injuries is a life skill that will go a long way for maintaining good health and helping others. Check out the St John Ambulance First-Aid channel on Youtube for some enlightening instructional videos that cover many first-aid incidents you may encounter. Remember that your first-aid equipment does have a shelf-life so regularly check the dates on your kit to make sure your inventory is always usable.


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