Do 1 Thing: First Aid

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ambulance driving

By Cate Shockey

This blog is part of a series, covering a preparedness topic each month from the Do 1 Thing Program . Join us this month to discuss first aid.

We’ve all done it. Bumps and bruises are commonplace in every day life.  Usually a band-aid and some antiseptic is the right treatment to get the job done.  But if an emergency happens and you have to call for an ambulance, do you know what to do while you wait?  Do you have the supplies you need to do basic first aid?  Or the training to perform CPR?

first aid kitI’m definitely accident prone.  I even carry a first aid kit in my purse.  I often find bruises on my body and have no idea where they came from… mostly because I run in to things so often that I can’t remember which collision caused which bruise.  But in an emergency, my little purse first aid kit isn’t going to be enough.

This month, I rooted through my medicine cabinet and put together a solid first aid kit.  You’d be surprised what you already have, scattered about.  By putting it all in one place, you’ll be able to find what you need when you need it.  Here are a few items to include in your first aid kit:

  • Ace bandanges
  • Adhesive tape roll
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Aspirin
  • Band-aids in assorted sizes
  • Cold pack
  • Cotton swabs
  • Disposable gloves
  • Gauze
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hydrogen peroxide to wash and disinfect wounds
  • Needle and thread
  • Plastic bags
  • Safety pins
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Splinting materials
  • Thermometer

prescription pill bottlesAnd don’t forget medications!  Keep a copy of all your prescription medications and, if possible, an extra supply of your required medications so that you don’t run out.  Here’s a full list of items for your first aid kit.  Figure out what you need and begin there.

Other great first aid steps you can take this month:

  • Take training in first aid, CPR, or AED.  Knowing how to spot symptoms and perform emergency aid can save a life.  Contact your local fire department or Red Cross to learn what classes are available in your area. Many of these classes are free!
  • Did you know you can take pet first aid?  Pets require different types of first aid, and different first aid kit items.  Learn how to help your furry friend in an emergency.
  • Teach young children in your house how to call 911 and what to tell the dispatcher.
  • Important medical information and most prescriptions can be stored in the refrigerator, which also provides excellent protection from fires.

Check out Do 1 Thing for more tips and information, and start putting your plans in place for unexpected events. Are YOU ready?

Do you have a first aid supplies in your emergency kit?  What medical supplies does your family need?  Leave a comment and let us know!

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8 comments on “Do 1 Thing: First Aid”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    Having first aid supplies on hand are important. I ordered a first aid cabinet from the company and found there was a huge variety of things needed for everything from minor burn care to aspirin. We have used it several times.

    Human life is very precious, but we don’t even care that much because we are too busy in our hectic schedule and that’s why we face extreme level of FIRST AID situations.
    We need to learn at least simple first aid techniques and believe it helps you to save your and others life. There are many training provider or you can also learn some simple techniques from youtube.

    Today, life is so hectic and all of us are stressed because lots of pressure we face in routine life and that’s why we need to concentrate on our health more. Problem is most of us hasn’t that much time to care our self? So, what happen when we didn’t care (heart stroke, fainting and many more)?
    So what is the solution for this problem when we don’t have time for our health? Yes, guys you are in the right way of thinking. Why don’t you learn some simple but important techniques of FIRST AID?These techniques are really important and these can save life of your closer one, a stranger or even yours.
    Good thing is, if you want to learn the basics, then there are lots of online videos or even online classes provider and from there you can definitely learn some basic but important techniques and if you want to learn high level techniques, and then please find out some of the best institutes where you can get these classes.

    Your article recommended people have “needle and thread” in the first aid kit. This hs never been taught in the U.S. Do you ready want average people to SEW UP wounds without decontaminating them? This is what hospitals and medical professional do. Hydrogen peroxide is not used in hospitals or ambulances for cleaning woulds due to increased scaring and short shelf-life, for the last 40 years. Please explain. Stitching is not even taught in Paramedic programs. Gauze pads are used to clean and stop bleeding. I’m just not sure this first aid kit list is current. I would love your thoughts from the CDC on this.

    We use emergency kits from or because they have the practical products for emergency first aid. While they supply for all skill levels (novice to medical professional ), they don’t try to get people in over their head with “sewing” instead of just taping a wound (steri-strips or butterfly ) and transporting to medical professionals.

    well said. We need to learn at least simple first aid techniques and believe it helps you to save your and others life. There are many training provider or you can also learn some simple techniques from youtube.

    This is very informative! This surely helps a lot of people. Thanks a lot

    Very informative and nice blog. It is always good to have some amount of basic knowledge to take care of critical situations, to keep it from going from bad to worse or till the medical help arrives.

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Page last reviewed: March 20, 2015
Page last updated: March 20, 2015