First Aid Kit Purchasing Considerations
There are four important factors to consider when purchasing a first aid kit: the intended use of the first aid kit, the quantity and type of supplies within the first aid kit, type of first aid kit container, and the necessary information in each first aid kit. By taking these into consideration you can choose the best first aid kit supplies for your business. Having the incorrect supplies in a first aid kit may mean that you don't have the necessary supplies to properly treat an injury.
1. First Aid Kit Size and Intended Use
The size of the first aid kit you need will depend upon the number of people working in a facility and the types of injuries that are expected to arise. Having a kit that is too simple or small for your operation may mean you don't have the necessary supplies to treat an employee's injury or illness. A first aid kit that is too large and complex may mean that supplies expire before they are used, thus wasting money. For example, an office that has a few employees may only need a small and simple first aid kit to treat minor injuries such as headaches, nausea, and paper cuts. Large commercial kitchens or manufacturing facilities will require larger, more complex first aid kits that have supplies to treat more serious injuries such as burns, cuts from blades, and mild to moderate pain.
Regardless of the size of the kit or number of people who may use it, all general first aid kits should include the following types of supplies:
2. First Aid Kit Classifications
The classification of a first aid kit will depend on the quantity of first aid supplies, the variety of supplies in the kit, and the kit's intended use. These standards are maintained by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Safety Equipment Association.
There are two first aid kit classifications: Class A and Class B. Additionally, there are many first aid kits that do not fall within these classifications because the quantity of supplies or their intended use.
Class A First Aid Kits Definition:
Class A first aid kits provide a basic range of products to deal with very common injuries such as small cuts, abrasions, and minor burns. Therefore, Class A first aid kits are good choices for low population and low-risk workplaces such as offices.
Class B First Aid Kits Definition:
Class B first aid kits provide a broader range and greater number of supplies to handle workplace injuries. Because of this, Class B first aid kits are the best choice for highly populated, complex, or high-risk workplaces.
Required First Aid Kit Supplies for Class A and Class B First Aid Kits
3. Types of First Aid Kit Containers
First aid kit containers are classified by their portability, resistance to water, corrosion, and impacts, and their ability to be mounted in a single location. There are four different types of first aid kit containers.
|Type of First Aid Kit Container
||Portable and Mounting Requirements
||Intended to be stationary or mounted
||For general indoor use, office settings, or manufacturing facilitiesBest for areas where the chance for damaging the contents from environmental exposure or rough handling is low
||Portable and should have a carrying handle
||For indoor use such as office settings or manufacturing facilitiesBest for areas where the chance for damaging the contents from environmental exposure or rough handling is low.Generally smaller and less expensive than other first aid kits
||Portable with a mounting option
||For mobile, indoor, and sheltered outdoor use
Should have a water resistant seal
For areas where the chance for damage from the environment is not probable.
||Portable but must have a mounting option
||For mobile industries, indoor, and outdoor use. Commonly found in construction, utility industry, and transportation industry
Must be waterproof
For areas where damage from environment and rough handling is likely
Meets special performance requirements for corrosion, moisture, and impact resistance
4. First Aid Kit Information
Because of the varying degrees of first aid training among staff, including an information card on how to treat basic injuries and illnesses should be included with first aid kits. These instructions should be easy to read and understand, include diagrams or pictures to help visualize first aid treatment skills, and cover usage instructions for all the supplies contained within the first aid kit. Most pre-assembled first aid kits include this information in a booklet or pamphlet. If you add supplemental information to your first aid kits, make sure that it is from a credible source such as ANSI or ISEA. Regularly checking information contained in the first aid kits is necessary to make sure that it up to date with the latest medical best practices.
The following information is great to include inside a first aid kit or as a poster
near the first aid station:
- How to perform the Heimlich maneuver
- Instructions on how to perform CPR
- Directions for controlling bleeding
- How to immobilize a broken limb
- Ways to treat stings and bites
- First aid kit list of supplies
Other Types of First Aid Kits
First Aid Burn Relief Kits
Burn relief kits contain all the supplies necessary to treat burn injuries. Proper use of burn supplies help reduce patient pain as well as minimize scarring. Most burn kits contain ointment to sterilize the burned area and reduce pain, burn dressings and gauze to cover burns, and burn gel to cool the burned area and promote healing.
First Aid Emergency Kits
Emergency kits contain the necessary first aid supplies to handle most common first aid injuries and illnesses as well as some additional supplies which can be helpful in survival, search and rescue, or disaster events. In addition to medical supplies, these kits may include rescue supplies such as whistles, flashlights, food and water ration packets, and emergency blankets. Emergency kits generally come in large duffel bag style containers with carrying straps, secure closure buckles, and reflective emblems for visibility.
First Aid Travel Kits
First aid travel kits generally come in a small container size making them perfect for placing in vehicles or luggage. These kits have fewer first aid supplies than other types of first aid kits as their main purpose is to be a compact first aid kit used to treat minor injuries or illnesses. Travel kits come in a variety of containers too. Some come in plastic or metal cases that can be mounted inside cars. Others are small, zippered cases that are perfect for sliding in a glove compartment or suitcase.