My New First Aid Kit


Last week’s article about “extra” items for a first aid kit inspired me to use the topic for our monthly neighborhood emergency planning group meeting.

The meeting turned out to be . . .

Another good meeting idea!

First Aid Kit with missing items

Here’s how it went.


  1. First, I invited our neighbor Theresa, who is a Registered Nurse, as our featured guest. She brought along her own first aid bag as a “show and tell.”
  2. Second, so we’d have something to compare it to, I bought a brand new first aid kit (cost around $10) at the hardware store down the street (photo).
  3. Third, as a reference, I printed out the Red Cross’s list of “20 basic first aid items.” Everybody got a copy.

As Theresa pulled out an item from her bag, we checked it off the Red Cross list and then looked in the kit I’d bought to see if it was included.

Results of the Comparison

Number of items

The new kit had about 60% of the items suggested on the Red Cross list.

First Aid Kit items, Red Cross list


The bigger problem: nearly everything in the kit was in miniature! Packets were tiny (one squeeze, and the ointment would all be gone), gauze squares were tiny, gloves were tiny. We all laughed, in particular, at the roll of adhesive tape. Take a look at it in the photo, bottom right. Really, it’s about as big around as a quarter and weighs less!

Missing from both the list and the kit

Here are the items that Theresa had in her kit that were not in the kit AND were not on the Red Cross list:

  1. Antihistamine ointment
  2. Liquid skin
  3. Duct tape
  4. Flashlight
  5. Plastic bags
  6. Dust mask
  7. Eyewash
  8. Phone number of Poison Control center
  9. Whistle
  10. Sunscreen
  11. List of medicines currently being taken

And finally, one last item that our group felt needed to be in there:

12. Extra eyeglasses

Shocking finale

Attendees had been invited to bring their own kits to the meeting, too. One guy had his neatly packed into a fishing tackle box. One neighbor shared her pet first aid kit.

What shocked me, however, were the people who admitted they didn’t have a kit in their car. And there were a couple of people who said they didn’t even have a kit in the house!

The reason it’s shocking is because this is our neighborhood emergency group, supposedly tuned in to being prepared!

Lessons learned

Emergency preparedness starts and continues with the basics.

  • If you have a first aid kit, check on its contents and “top it off” with more supplies. Use the lists above for suggestions.
  • If you are missing a kit, build one from scratch or buy an inexpensive one, like I did, and add more supplies.
  • If extended family members don’t have kits, buy up a supply and hand them out for Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or Christmas! Or without any explanation other than, “You need to have this!”

I looked for a better kit. I found one at Amazon that looks pretty good as a starter. I like the way its clear pockets fold out to make things easy to find. It costs about twice as much as the one I bought at the hardware store ($19 instead of $9), but instead of “77 items” it advertises “121 items.” Again, you’ll want to add some extras, but this kit would be a good start, particularly for the car.

Here’s the direct link: AAA 121-Piece Road Trip First Aid Kit

Don’t let something as simple as not having a first aid kit turn an accident into a real emergency!

“Friendly but Forceful” Action item: Take care of your first aid kit/s right away!

Virginia Nicols
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

P.S. What first aid items haven’t been mentioned in this article?  Please share your recommendations in the comments box so we can all benefit.





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One Response

  1. Russ Flanigan