Importance of First Aid Kits: 6 Reasons You Need One Today

why are first aid kits important

Have you ever just been caught without a bandaid? A first aid kit is made for any emergency, whether a scraped knee or increasingly bad blood loss.

Let’s look at why are first aid kits important and why having one on hand is never a bad idea.

6 Reasons Why First Aid Kits Are Important

Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose Portable Compact First Aid Kit for Minor Cuts, Scrapes, Sprains & Burns, Ideal for Home, Car, Travel, Camping and Outdoor Emergencies, 160 pieces

Having a first aid kit handy has tons of benefits and zero drawbacks. But, if you need a little more convincing, that’s what we’re here for.

You Can Respond Instantly

It will always take time for emergency response; sometimes, that delay is the difference between bad and deadly injuries (same with CPR or an AED).

A first aid kit provides basic and quick care for common injuries such as burns and cuts.

It’s All in One Place

Your bandaids are stored with your antibiotic cream and peroxide in a spot you can quickly access. That alone makes purchasing a first aid kit worthwhile.

And, it doesn’t generally take up much space because they are compact to be portable.

How often should first aid kits be restocked?

Most first aid kits have a shelf life of 3 to 5 years. When supplies expire, they lose some of their life-saving powers, so you will want to replace them every few years.

Reducing Complication

Well-equipped first aid kits can prevent future complications and injury. Ready-made first kits are fantastic to have in the house. But, you can equip them with whatever you and your particular family need. 

Stock your emergency kit with extra medication, both over-the-counter and prescription.

Stop Life-Threatening Blood Loss 

Bandaids are one thing. You need gauze and bandages if it’s more than a scratch. The wound care you deliver may be the difference between losing a limb or a life.

Some of the more well-equipped first aid kits have tourniquets for a worst-case scenario, too.

Burn Care

Spenco 2nd Skin Dressing Kit Bandages for Blister Protection, Sports, 8-Count

The quicker you can apply a burn treatment like Second Skin, the better you can prevent future complications. Burns are painful as hell, too. 

Burn care must be part of a well-stocked first-aid kit, especially if you have kids. Even mild scalds, pain, burn salves, or cooling pads go a long way to alleviating pain and soothing a scared child.

What do you do with old first aid kits?

When a kit expires, you have a few options to dispose of it. 

  • Some impoverished countries accept all first aid supplies, even when they expire.
  • You can find some first aid kit manufacturers that will take it off of your hands to dispose of it safely. 
  • If you can’t donate or return it, the only real option is to trash the kit. Do not toss any type of medication down the drain. 

Mosquito and Other Bug Bites

Bug bites make any situation worse regardless of how old you are. On top of that, untreated or ignored insect bites can lead to infection. 

Having the right bug bite supplies will help relieve wound pain and irritation while also preventing scarring.

First Aid Kits & OSHA

Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is responsible for ensuring safe working conditions and enforcing those standards for the safety of workers in the US.

What is the legal requirement for first aid kits at work?

While OSHA does not explicitly lay out what should be in the kit, it is OSHA”s policy that an “Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available” in the workplace.

OSHA Recommendation for Workplace First Aid Kits

  • Gauze pads (4 x 4 inches or larger).
  • Two large gauze pads (8 x 10 inches or bigger).
  • Box adhesive bandaids.
  • One package of gauze roller bandage (2 inches wide or wider)
  • Two triangular bandages.
  • Wound cleaning supplies (moistened towelettes, peroxide).
  • Scissors.
  • One blanket or more.
  • Tweezers.
  • Adhesive tape.
  • Latex gloves.
  • Resuscitation equipment (resuscitation bag, pocket mask).
  • Two elastic wraps.
  • Splint.
  • A written emergency plan with contact information.

Does OSHA require first aid kits in vehicles?

While it’s good policy, you aren’t required to have a first aid kit in your work vehicle. But, when you have one on hand, you have the tools to help yourself and bystanders in the case of an emergency.

A good add-on for a vehicle first aid kit is the first extinguisher. 

What are the different types of first aid kits?

You’ll find two primary first aid kit classifications – Class A and Class B.

  • Class A first aid kit will have basic treatment supplies for injuries like minor cuts, scrapes, and bug bites. Class A first aid kits are most commonly found in residences and low-risk workplaces.
  • Class B kits have a larger range of OSHA-recommended products to treat minor and major injuries and wounds. Class B first aid supplies are often found in populated areas like malls and at-risk workplaces.

Why are first aid kits important?

  • Instant response time.
  • Compact and easy to reach in an emergency.
  • Reduces the chances of future complications.
  • Stopping blood loss.
  • Burn care.
  • Treat bug bites when they happen.

FAQs about Why Are First Aid Kits Important?

Are first aid kits required on boats?

While the US Coast Guard does not require vessels to have one on board, it is recommended they have a boated-approved first-aid it that is stored in a waterproof spot that is easily accessible.

Can you create your own first aid kit?

You can most certainly DIY a first aid kit. However, it is more cost-effective to buy a pre-made kit and customize it from there with personal medication and person-specific products and supplies.

What is usually in a first aid kit?

First aid supplies typically include adhesive bandages, over-the-counter pain medication, gauze, and disinfectant. What you add to an emergency kit is up to you and reflects your and your family’s needs.

Why is there a cross on a first aid kit?

The Geneva Convention in 1864 agreed to stop blowing up medical facilities and transportation during wartime. The Red Cross symbol signals to warring sides that they are off limits for any attack. 

By Anita Brown

Anita Brown is our go-to contributor to our emergency preparedness website. Anita brings a wealth of personal experience and professional expertise to the table, having weathered several awful natural disasters. Anita is currently working towards obtaining her Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) certification.