Information - First Aid Equipment

Information for parents and key stage 3

There are many different types of first aid kit on the market and you need to choose the best kit to meet your needs. There is guidance on what should be in your first aid kit but no set rules. First Aid kits can be sold with all different items, but it is often better to build the kit with items that suit your needs. For Example, your home first aid kit will be specific to your family needs and a hiking first aid kit will need to be small while dealing with whatever might happen while you are remote.

You should not have medication in anon-personal first aid kit. It is possible people could be allergic to the medication or could mistake the medication for a different type. Therefore medication should not be kept in a first aid kit that is open for everyone to use.

In a first aid kit you may consider some of the following items:

Tuff cut scissorsTuff cut scissorsYesCut through clothing
Sterile nitrile glovesGlovesYes
Pocket mask and face shieldFace shield/face maskYes
Gauze swabsGauze swabsYes
Cleaning wounds
Dressing pads of varying sizesDressing pads of different sizes (e.g. Melolin)
Covering wounds
MicroporeMicropore tapeYes
Holding on dressings
Triangular bandageTriangular bandage (calico)
Slings, dressings, cold pads, wrapping up ice packs
Crepe bandageCrepe bandage (non-elasticated)Yes
Sprains, strains and holding dressing in place
Conforming bandageConforming bandage
Holding dressings in place
Ambulance dressingAmbulance dressing
Stoping a bleed
Finger dressingFinger dressing
Holding dressings on fingers
Gluco tabletsGlucose tablets / GlucogelYes
Hypoglycemic casualties
Instant ice packInstant Ice pack
Sprains and strains
Notepad and penNote pad and pen/pencil
Making notes about the casualty

If there is a high risk of someone having a heart attack, aspirin is recommended to be kept near the first aid kit.

You will not always have a first aid kit to hand. However, you can improvise with what you have around you to help save a life. You can use tea towels, cloths, bags of peas, cling film, ties and many more items.

When using the first aid kit or improvising, we should always remember:

  • do not use anything fluffy, as this will stick to the wound
  • always find things clean, before using something dirty.
    (But if you have a casualty who is losing a lot of blood, do not avoid using a piece of cloth because it is dirty. The wound can be cleaned up once in the hospital.)
  • Do not put ice packs or frozen items directly on the skin, it could cause a cold burn. Before applying wrap the item in a triangular bandage or cloth to protect the casualty.
  • Use the individual's items before your own.
  • Do not remove your jacket to keep a casualty warm only for you to get cold and ill.
  • Stick to calico triangular bandages rather than other types which to fragile for the job.

Common questions

  1. I am told you cannot have plasters in a first aid kit.
    This is a myth, you can have plasters in a first aid kit. The myth came about because people can be allergic to plasters, but this does not stop them being in a first aid kit. Before applying any first aid equipment to a casualty, you should ask if they are allergic to anything.
  2. Can you use an epi-pen as it is a drug?
    An epi-pen does contain a drug, but HSE class it as emergency medication that can save a life. You can help the casualty administer it themselves or you can administer it as the first aider in your home (there are instructions on the pen)
  3. Do I need to be trained to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)?
    You do not have to be trained. The AED gives verbal instructions and talks you through everything you should do. It is a life-saving piece of equipment and you should not avoid using it when someone is not breathing because you are not trained.
  4. I'm told I should not rinse an eye out with water?
    It is better to wash an eye out with sterile water. However, tap water is suitable for washing something out of the eye.
  5. What first aid kit would you recommend?
    I do not recommend what specific items should be in a first aid kit as each person/family has different requirements. I would look for a robust container and fill it with items that suit my environment and the activities I will be undertaking. If I did not have much space, I would have plenty of triangular bandages before anything else, as I can do so many things with them from cold compresses to bandages to slings and more.