“Look what I’ve got!” I told my friend excitedly as I took out of my bag a black pouch. I handed it to her and told her to open it. As she unzipped the bag, voila! My own first aid kit! It weighs not even more than 500 grams.

I was one of the lucky ones in our company who was chosen to undergo practical first aid training as part of obtaining the Bureau of Fire Protection’s Certificate of Competency to be a FIRE (First In Responding Emergency) Brigade member. I have always wanted to help in any way that I can during emergencies. But most of the time, I did not have enough knowledge, training and resources. Because of the opportunities to undergo first aid training under the Philippine Red Cross 3 years ago, and now under the Bureau of Fire Protection, I am so thankful.

My plan had been to place one first aid kit at the trunk of the car and another one at home.

My initial first aid kit contained the following:

  1. face mask
  2. sterile surgical gloves
  3. Povidone iodine
  4. triangular bandage
  5. elastic bandage
  6. ethyl alcohol
  7. band aid strips
  8. sterile gauze (4″x4″ and 2″x2″)
  9. gauze bandage
  10. paper tape
  11. stainless steel Iris scissors
  12. stainless steel forceps
  13. mentholated topical ointment
  14. Paracetamol
  15. Loperamide
  16. Mefenamic acid
  17. cotton
  18. cotton buds
  19. lighter

I may soon add at least the following: burnt ointment, spirit of ammonia, whistle…

I brought my first aid kit last May 21-22, 2016 during an outreach activity for our Aeta brothers and sisters at Sitio Pula, Brgy. Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac. Sito Pula is a remote area with no electricity, no water line, no radio or cellular network signal, no nearby sari-sari stores. It can be reached through a 2-hour bumpy 4×4 vehicle ride with multiple river crossings, or by walking on foot for 4 hours.

At one time, somebody was asking who has lots of band aid strips. I asked why so many? He said that somebody had a big wound. When I saw it, I slightly felt weak. The guy accidentally hit his foot with a bolo while cutting something. The cut skin separated like a fried hotdog skin with slit for even cooking. I got my first aid kit and assisted our companion who happened to be a nurse (good thing he was a nurse!) in treating the wound. The wound had some dirt inside so it had to be cleaned first. The patient was brave enough to bare the pain and just smiled all throughout the treatment while shrugging his shoulders from time to time to shake all the fear aside.

FA

After the treatment, Kuya was able to walk almost normally. Instructions were given to him on how to care for his wound, and how to use the first aid essentials that were given to him.

IMG_3464
Kuya with his treated wound and first aid essentials

The importance of a first aid kit may be realized only during an emergency. But its availability anywhere at all times should not be taken for granted because no one knows when an emergency or an accident may happen. It pays to be ready anytime.

-oOo-

I bought a Betadine solution (big bottle) in June 2015 because it had a free compact, green first aid kit. There was a pamphlet (PH-BET-0248-VI-2012) that read:

Be ready! Protect your family!

In case of an emergency, a well-stocked first aid kit could be a lifesaver. You can make your own first aid kit with these suggested items:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5×9 inches)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 1 bottle of antiseptic solution i.e., Betadine® solution (for wounds, cuts, abrasions)
  • 1 thermal blanket
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 g each)
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3×3 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
  • Tweezers
  • 1 antiseptic ointment i.e. Betadine® ointment (for burns)
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 breathing barrier (one-way valve)
  • 2 pair of non-latex gloves (large)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • First aid instruction booklet
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)

Try to separate everything in pouches so that you don’t have to dig around for items in an emergency. This also makes it convenient to transfer them into a new box.

Once you have created your pouches, check the dates on all items on a regular basis, including gauze pads. Keep a list of everything in your kit to make it easier to restock and the list of emergency numbers handy.

Healthy healing tips for common injuries:

#1. Minor wounds, cuts and abrasions

Minor wounds, cuts and abrasions are part of everyday life, especially for children But so are infections, minor wounds, cuts and abrasions can easily become infected because germs are attracted to moist areas of skin. For fresh wounds and abrasions, we would suggest to first use an antiseptic solution such as povidone-iodine to clean the wound on a regular basis  and allow natural healing. If a bandage is used, please make sure to re-apply the antiseptic solution each time the dressing is changed.

#2. Burns

For burns, use an ointment that effectively controls the bacterial growth and yet protects the healing skin. Avoid the use of antibiotic agents unless for serious wound infections or prescribed by a medical professional. Improper use of antibiotic agent may result int he generationof resistant organisms.

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