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What Should I Consider When Buying an Emergency Kit?

Experts strongly urge homeowners to purchase an emergency kit for the treatment of minor household accidents, but these experts may not have visited a department store's pharmacy area lately. There are dozens and dozens of emergency kit collections to choose from, and all of them claim to be ideal for home use. These commercial emergency kit offerings range from glorified bandage boxes to elaborate metal cases worthy of a hospital emergency room. How should a homeowner choose an emergency kit appropriate for his or her particular needs?

One element to consider in an emergency kit is versatility. Some kits offered in stores contain little more than various adhesive bandages and a few antiseptic solutions. This may be okay for a travel emergency kit in the glovebox or in a backpack, but not enough for a comprehensive home first aid box.

Think of the different types of accidents that could occur in your home and then match the emergency kit to the hypothetical need. Kitchen burns could require burn creams, gauze pads, and tape or freeze packs. Cuts and scrapes require antiseptics and bandages. Body aches and sore muscles could require analgesics or heat-generating creams. Look for an emergency kit that contains the largest variety of healthcare items.

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Another consideration is size. The emergency kit may have to be portable enough for a first responder to take to the victim. Look for first aid kits designed to be carried like luggage if you think you may need to bring it to the accident scene.

If you anticipate the patients will come to the kit, you may want to invest in a wall-mountable metal emergency kit. A suitable place to mount such a kit might be in the bathroom near a sink or a wall in the kitchen out of the line of traffic. If the kit contains medications or other dangerous chemicals, you may want to mount it out of the reach of children. They can have a smaller kit of their own filled with bandages and other harmless items.

Another element to consider is expansion. Can other items be added to the basic emergency kit as the need arises? Some homeowners may need to add glucose tablets for diabetics or blood pressure monitors for those with hypertension. There are even home versions of cardiac defibrillators and CPR breathing masks available. Check to see if the manufacturers of an emergency kit also make additional items or refills. Emergency kits have ingredients which need to be replaced periodically, so make sure you can purchase these items independently.

Overall, a good emergency kit should contain enough medicine and medical supplies to handle everyday household emergencies from burns to cuts to accidental poisonings. It should allow you to make the victim stable enough for medical professionals to take over treatment. Nothing in a home emergency kit can take the place of a trained physician, so all you can do in some cases is stop the bleeding or reduce the pain until help arrives.

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Discuss this Article

drtroubles
Post 2

An emergency kit for your car should always be a necessity. Nothing is worse then having your vehicle breakdown miles from help, especially in the winter.

It should include not only a first aid kit, but water, a blanket, extra clothing, walking shoes, a seat belt cutter, a small shovel, snow removal gear, a flashlight, waterproof matches, a candle in a secure container, a whistle, maps of the area, a fire extinguisher and flares.

This may seem extensive, but as my mother always said, better to have than have not.

letshearit
Post 1

A real emergency kit should include more than medical supplies or it is just a first aid kit. If you have ever lived in an area prone to natural disasters and severe weather, your government will probably recommend your emergency kit have supplies that would get you through a 72-hour period.

Besides medical gear, it should include things like water (2L per person, per day), non-perishable food, a manual can opener, a flashlight with batteries, a radio that doesn't run off electricity, extra keys for you car and home, cash (including coins for land lines in case cell phone service is out), and an emergency plan that you have written in advance.

These things can be a lifesaver.

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