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Types of First Aid Kits

Having a good first aid kit is essential for any office or restaurant. First aid can help people treat minor injuries or buy you valuable time in an emergency when you're waiting for professional medical care. Additionally, having a first aid kit and staff trained in first aid is an OSHA requirement for most industries. Read on to learn more about how to pick the best first aid kit for your business.

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.

Medi-First 73911 186 Piece Standard Emergency / Disaster Kit
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

First Aid Supply Minimum Quantity for Class A First Aid Kits Minimum Quantity for Class B First Aid Kits Minimum Size or Volume Used For
16 50 1" x 3"
  • Covering open wounds
  • Controlling bleeding wounds
1 2 7 1/2'
  • Holding bandages or dressings on wounds
10 25 1/57 fl. oz.
  • Preventing infections in minor cuts, scrapes, or burns
  • Cleansing wounds prior to applying a bandage
10 50 1/57 fl. oz.
  • Destroying microorganism growth
  • Cleansing wounds prior to applying a bandage
Breathing Barrier
1 1
  • Creating a sanitary barrier between patient's and rescuer's mouths during CPR and rescue breathing
Gel Soaked Burn Dressing
1 2 4" x 4"
  • Treating burns
  • Helping with pain associated with burn
10 25 1/32 oz.
  • Treating burns
  • Helping with pain associated with burn
1 2 4" x 5"
  • Reducing swelling
  • Cooling burns to reduce damage done to soft tissue
2 2 2.9 square inches
  • Bandaging an injured eye
1 fl. oz. total 4 fl. oz. total
  • Removing contaminants and irritants from the eyes and skin
1 1
  • Providing instruction for proper use of first aid supplies
6 10 1/32 oz.
  • Killing germs and microorganisms on hands after caring for patient
2 pairs 4 pairs
  • Providing body substance isolation to protect rescuer from contacting blood borne pathogens from patient
2" Rolled Bandage
1 2 2" x 12'
  • Controlling bleeding and absorbing bodily fluids from wounds
  • Covering antibiotic and antiseptics that have been applied to wounds
4" Rolled Bandage
N/A 1 4" x 12'
  • Controlling bleeding and absorbing bodily fluids from wounds
  • Covering antibiotic and antiseptics that have been applied to wounds
1 1
  • Cutting bandages to the proper size
0 1 4 1/2" x 24"
  • Supporting and protecting broken bones
2 4 3" x 3"
  • Controlling bleeding and absorbing bodily fluids from wounds
  • Covering antibiotic and antiseptics that have been applied to wounds
0 1 1" wide
  • Constricting and compressing veins and arteries to control bleeding
  • Should only be used for serious, life threatening bleeds
Trauma Pad
2 4 5" x 9"
  • Extremely absorbent bandage for treating large wounds
1 2 40" x 40" x 56"
  • Slinging and swathing limbs
  • Wrapping around wounds to make a large pressure bandage

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 Other Notes
Type I
  • Intended to be stationary or mounted
  • For general indoor use, office settings, or manufacturing facilities
  • Best for areas where the chance for damaging the contents from environmental exposure or rough handling is low
  • Type II
  • Portable and should have a carrying handle
  • For indoor use such as office settings or manufacturing facilities
  • Best 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
  • Type III
  • 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.
  • Type IV
  • 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.

    Frequently Asked Questions About First Aid Kits

    Do I need to consult a physician or medical professional to approve first aid supplies in my business?
    According to OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.151, first aid kits and first aid supplies do not need to be approved by a physician prior to use in a business. It is recommended to have the kits and supplies be selected by someone who is both competent in first aid and aware of the hazards found in that workplace.

    Should first aid kits be regularly inspected to ensure the contents are complete and up to date?
    Yes, first aid kits should be routinely inspected to make sure that they are not missing supplies or have medicines that are out of date. Additionally, the contents list for the first aid kit should also be reviewed to make sure the kit still meets the needs of the workplace.

    Can over-the-counter medicines be put in first aid kits?
    If over-the-counter medicines are put in first aid kits they should be in single-dose, tamper-evident packages and labeled per FDA requirements. Products known to cause drowsiness should not be included in first aid kits.

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