19 Jul FIRST AID BOX, FIRST AID BAG, AND FIRST AID KIT: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
FIRST AID BOX, FIRST AID BAG, AND FIRST AID KIT: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
The dictionary definition of a Box is a container, which has a flat base and sides, characteristically square or rectangular and having a lid or covering.
The dictionary definition of a bag is: a flexible container which has an opening at the top, used, generally for carrying things.
The dictionary definition of a kit is a set of articles or equipment needed for a specific purpose. The photograph below illustrates a First Aid Box by Boots the chemist from about 1938.
So I suppose that when people talk about First Aid products they are thinking in a very general perspective. Think about it, I cut my finger, what do I need? Well I say you need essentially something to clean the wound (sterile wipe), something to cover or protect the wound from infection and finally something to secure the dressing to the wound to give it the best chance of healing, or at least the healing process, has started. I guess if you want something a bit more detailed I may suggest new rubber gloves to protect you and the casualty/victim of the emergency. You may need a sterile cleaning spirit to clean your hands. Next, a sterile (in a single packet that you tear open to use) wound cleansing wipe preferably sterile saline to cleanse the wound of possible debris, glass, gravel etc. A Triangular Bandage to secure a limb, in case of pain in the whole limb, which might be a hand, arm, leg or foot. The Triangular Bandage was invented in the early 1850’s, when a policeman on the beat at the famous World Trade fair used his handkerchief to fold corner to corner in order to stem a bleeding wound from one the spectators at the fair which took place in Crystal Palace, London. Professor Johann Friedrich August von Esmarch witnessed this event and went back to Germany to invent the Eismarch Bandage 20 years later in the 1870’s. (See picture below of the original Eismarch Bandage).
Another so-called luxury item to have in a First Aid box contents is a Space Blanket, which is very useful for the victim of Shock. I often tell my students in First Aid that keeping the victim of an emergency warm is essential to their survival, especially if they are very young or very old. A space Blanket might save their life! Other contents that might be useful (but not essential) might include things like different sized plasters, or little bandages for minor injuries to say, for example, the fingers or toes. Depending on whether you need the First Aid Box for work or home you will need to have slight variations on content. For example, at work you must have no drugs in your First Aid Box, such as Aspirin or Paracetamol, but in your home First Aid Kit drugs might be common!
A big addition to the First Aid Box at work would definitely be an Accident record Book or Near Miss Book as it is a legal requirement to report accidents or incidents at work (RIDDHOR) otherwise you or your employer could be sued for not making such a report and cost you your job.
If you are very lucky or can afford one, I strongly recommend that you invest in an Automated External defibrillator (AED) Machine. (See picture below).
This is portable apparatus monitors the heart rhythm and sends an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a regular normal rhythm, when a someone has a sudden cardiac arrest. SCA occurs when heart suddenly stops beating. The this occurs using an AED machine combined with cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), will give the victim a better chance of surviving the SCA. (See the photograph below showing how to give CPR to the victim who is not breathing).
Learning how to do CPR or how to use an AED machine takes a day’s worth of training and is valuable to everyone of us, because we never know when we might be faced with an emergency minor or major and knowing what to do could save someone’s life! An AED machine costs in the region of just under or over £1000 and can be found commonly in public places such as airports, hotels or theatres.
Another handy extra for your First Aid Kit would be a plastic mouth guard to use if you have to give a stranger the kiss of life because they have stopped breathing. You may require the plastic mouth piece if the victim had been sick or there is blood around the mouth area. This, of course, would be administered to the victim combined with CPR. I often celebrate and recommend First Aid Boxes that come with an instruction booklet with very useful information on how to treat the Choking victim (see the photograph below of a man giving Abdominal Thrusts to the Choking Victim).
The instruction booklet might also have information or how to carry out CPR or how to put the unconscious, but breathing victim in what is termed the ‘Recovery Position’ (see pic below).
So folks, if you are contemplating buying a First Aid Box this will help you decide what you want to fill it with to give you most options when faced with an emergency.