Everyday Carry First Aid Items

Does your EDC include a first-aid kit? If not, you are cheating yourself and your loved ones. After all, the main reason you prepare yourself with EDC supplies is to respond to potentially dangerous situations, and the key to surviving any situation is being able to treat injuries or illness. You can purchase ready-made first-aid kits from a variety of sources, but it may be more efficient to put together your own kit. Let us help you by providing some tips on what it should contain.

What You Need to Be Prepared For

Before you decide what you need in your EDC First-Aid Kit, you need to understand what the kit will be used for. Due to limited space, it is impossible to be prepared for every possible situation. You need to focus on what is most probable: accident-related injuries and minor illnesses. Of course, you also need to take into account your skill level. It does not make sense to carry tools or equipment you are unqualified or unprepared to utilized.

The following list is prepared with the above factors in mind. Everything is basic in nature and, with the exception of the CPR mask, require little or no formal training to utilize.

EDC First-Aid Kit Checklist

PPE– The first rule in treating the injured is to not become a victim yourself, now or in the future. This means it is important to include personal protective equipment in your kit.

  • Sterile Gloves. Gloves are the first line of defense against infection or contamination, and protect both you and the victim. Non-latex gloves are recommended due to possible latex-related allergies.
  • Antiseptic. Cleaning your hands prior to treating the victim, even if you’re wearing gloves, further protects you against contamination. After treating an injury, especially when exposed to bodily fluids, you should use it again to decontaminate any exposed skin.
  • CPR Mask/Barrier. A small, disposable mask or barrier will allow you to give life-saving treatment without risking exposure to life-changing disease or illness.

Cutting Tool – Some injuries may require accessing the injury site or even extricating the victim, so you need to include some simple tools to make this easier.

  • Scissors. Blunt-end medical scissors allow you to cut away clothing, belts, and even shoes. If need be, they can also be used to cut through seatbelts or trim bandages.
  • Seat Belt Cutter. If you or the victim are in an accident involving a vehicle, the seat belts may become inoperable. Having a seatbelt cutter will allow quick, efficient removal.
  • Window Breaking Tool. Automobile windows are made to withstand extreme impact, including those of would-be rescuers. But this small, easy-to-carry tool can make shattering windows as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Stop the Bleed – The most common injuries requiring first-aid include cuts, scrapes, and laceration, all of which require you to address the accompanying bleeding. Having the proper supplies to address varying degrees of bleeding is essential.

  • Adhesive Bandages. Having adhesive bandages of various sizes and shapes will allow you to treat the majority of small cuts, scratches, or abrasions.
  • Gauze Squares. Large wounds that need more coverage will require gauze squares. They can be trimmed to fit the wound and can also be wrapped around sharp objects like lances and scalpels to protect you from injury.
  • Roller Bandages. These can be used to secure gauze squares, to cushion splints, and even to fashion slings. When heavy bleeding is present, they can be used as a pressure bandage.
  • Tourniquet. Heavy bleeding and amputations are life-threatening, and the best field treatment often involves a tourniquet. It is best to select a model that allows self-application and can thus be applied one-handed.
  • Pins and Tapes. The above items need to be held in place, so do not forget to include a roll of medical tape and/or safety pins. Cloth tape is preferred, as it holds better when wet and avoids possible allergic reactions against latex.

Burns and Bites – This is another category of common injuries that you may be called upon to address. With a properly outfitted EDC First-Aid Kit, minor burns, insect/animal bites, and skin rashes can often be dealt with in the field, thus avoiding more serious illnesses and advanced medical care at a later time.

  • Burn Ointment. Small burns often do not require more than the application of a burn ointment, small packs of which can be stowed easily.
  • Antibiotic Ointment. Small punctures, including bites, are often not serious in terms of bleeding or damage, but infection is always a problem. An antibiotic ointment eliminates that risk.
  • Hydrocortisone Cream. A small tube of this topical steroid can address discomfort and swelling associated with bites, rashes, and minor skin irritation.
  • EpiPen. Auto-inject epinephrine pens are a common treatment for allergic reactions related to food or insect exposure. If you or a family member suffers from such allergies, an EpiPen is a must in any EDC First-Aid Kit.

Carry Case – Of course you need some means of carrying your EDC First-Aid Kit. Choices include sturdy plastic cases, nylon zip pouches, or even a simple ziplock plastic bag. Your final selection will depend on how and where you’ll use the case, and the specific supplies you bring. Whatever you choose should be large enough to hold the required supplies, but small and compact enough to easily carry with you. Some kits will fit on your belt or in a cargo pocket, while others are designed to be carried in or attached to a large Go Bag.

Most Important Piece of Equipment Is You

Personal skill level is a consideration when putting together an EDC First-Aid Kit. But the importance of First Aid / CPR training is more than just a key component to victim treatment, it is THE key. Without some level of training, it is not only difficult to treat yourself or a loved one, it is possible that your treatment could make matters worse.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell

1 thought on “Everyday Carry First Aid Items

  1. To be honest, I’ve never really considered putting together an EDC first-aid kit until I read your post. As I live in a major city a block away from a hospital, and my line of work doesn’t exactly put me at risk or major injuries, I didn’t think it was that necessary. If I get hurt badly at or around my home, they wouldn’t even need an ambulance to take me to the hospital, as it’s that close to my apartment!

    However, I can now see the benefits for EVERYONE to have some sort of first-aid treatment options in their car, or in my case, in my motorbike’s saddlebags. EMTs and law enforcement can’t be on the scene instantly, and with serious injuries, prompt treatment can save lives and possibly reduce long-term complications (e.g. hospitals can treat infected wounds, but it’s better not to let those wounds get infected in the first place!)

    I also agree on the importance of first aid and CPR training. This should be a required course in schools and/or colleges across the nation.

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