First Aid & Emergency Preparedness: What You Need to Know 

 December 11, 2015

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You never know when a disaster will happen. A situation may have the power to block your access to food and clean water, and may cut off electricity around your region. For times like these, having an emergency preparedness plan proves essential.

Your plan, as complex as it may be, must include first aid. The Red Cross and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both recommend it. For this area, be sure to be aware of the following:

Where’s Your Kit?

You could be stranded at home, in your vehicle, or at your workplace. In response, to prepare for a disaster, it’s best to be able to check off the following:
•    Have a first aid kit in your car and inside your home.
•    Have both in areas where you’ll be able to access them.
•    Know the locations of first aid kits within your workplace.

What’s In It?

Experts recommend packing any first aid kit with the following:
•    All basic first aid supplies, including bandages and ointments. Familiarize yourself with the essentials if you haven’t purchased a kit before.
•    A seven-day supply of medications and medical supplies for you and all family members.
•    Emergency telephone numbers.
•    A flashlight with working batteries.
•    One gallon of water per person per day.
•    A battery-powered or hand-crank radio.
•    A multi-tool
•    Hygiene supplies
•    Copies of personal documents
•    Additional cash
•    An emergency blanket
•    A map of your area
•    Non-perishable foods

If the emergency kit will go with you on a hiking or camping trip, be sure to pack additional supplies for the situation. Your kit could need rain gear, plastic tarps, and matches.

Furthermore, if your area gets hit by natural disasters, such as floods and earthquakes, a trauma first aid kit often has a more comprehensive, situation-specific range of supplies.

Is It Up to Date?

Many assemble a first aid kit, only to find that, when the situation occurs, the items just aren’t up to par. Don’t find yourself short or lacking in essentials. Instead, it’s a good idea to check your kit – especially the batteries, first aid creams, and ointments – to ensure nothing has expired. If it has, simply replenish your supply.

Be Ready

Once you have the essentials on hand, it’s further recommended to know how to use them. On a basic level, you should know how to disinfect a wound and apply a bandage. For more serious situations, you may need to perform CPR, respond quickly to a stroke or heart attack, or handle an allergic reaction. For these and other potentially-serious scenarios, always have a short-term plan and be ready to call 911 for emergency assistance.

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