Types of First Aid Kits

All first aid kits share a common goal: to provide the necessary items to render quick, immediate aid in the event of accidental injury or a medical emergency. That shared goal, however, does not mean all generic kits will cover the specific needs of a broad variety of emergency situations. All first aid kits, regardless of the category, should be stocked with the basic items and then expanded to meet the specific needs of a location or activity.


Home first aid kits are generally equipped to handle minor injuries such as burns, insect stings, cuts, and scrapes. Almost any kind of storage container will work, provided it has enough space to fit adhesive tape, sterile pads, Ace bandages, a variety of different sized adhesive bandages, as well as non-adhesive, tweezers, scissors, antiseptic sprays and antibiotic creams. All family members should know where the kit is kept, preferably not in the bathroom because of the higher level of humidity.


Travel first aid kits should contain all the items in the home kit, plus personal medical supplies and OTC (over the counter) medicines for fever, cough, sore throat, stuffed-up noses, allergies, and upset stomachs. There may not be a drug store within walking distance if the family car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and there may be a long wait for tow service. Don’t forget to also include a small knife, a flashlight, and a list of names and phone numbers of relatives or friends to contact in an emergency. Use a waterproof container that won’t shatter if dropped, and resealable plastic bags to separate items into groups. Customize the kit to fit the particular needs of family members. If traveling with the family pet, include a copy of vet records, a picture of the pet and pertinent contact information.


Sports first aid kits direct most of the attention to orthopedic problems. Once again, think about customizing the kit’s contents according to the most common injuries sustained in a particular sport. For example, baseball injuries often include bruises, abrasions, and sprains. That means a supply of cold packs and elastic bandages. Track, on the other hand, is almost guaranteed to result in blisters and pulled muscles. It’s a good idea to group items in plastic bags and label them according to applicable use.


Office first aid kits will, sooner or later, be used. When they are, be sure to restock them immediately. These kits should contain all the basic items to treat cuts, burns from the kitchen coffee pot, falls, and other run-of-the-mill injuries. Again, make sure all employees know where the kit is kept. Industrial first aid kits occupy a completely different level than all the preceding kits. There are ANSI (American National Standard) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines for these kits, depending on the nature of the labor being performed.