A well-stocked first aid kit is a must for every home, and not only for disasters. Properly stocked, a first aid kit will give you the resources you need to treat many common injuries and ailments until more comprehensive medical care can be sought. But especially in times of disasters, when professional medical care may not be quickly available, a good first aid kit can keep a minor injury from growing into a more serious health crisis.

Your task: Acquire or build a personal first aid kit.

Consider the following when purchasing/ selecting items for your first aid kit:

The American Red Cross recommends a comprehensive first aid kit for your home, and a smaller traveling version for your vehicle. You can purchase complete first aid kits online, from local drug stores, or even your local Red Cross chapter. There are even specialized first aid kits for hiking, camping, boating, etc. Here are some good examples online. If you purchase a pre-stocked first aid kit, be sure to add any specialized medications or supplies you may need. Make sure you check the manufacturer’s recommendations for how many family members their kit is intended for.

Or you can build your own from scratch. Most first aid supplies can be acquired from your local drug store. Whether you buy a pre-stocked first aid kit or build your own, be sure to routinely check expiration dates and replace supplies as appropriate.

Store your first aid kit in a cool, easily-accessible location, and make sure everyone in your family knows where it is. The list on the right shows the minimum recommended supplies for a family of four.

First Aid Kit Check List:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet

And here’s hoping you never need it.