If you’re wondering what to pack inside an emergency first-aid kit ahead of a natural event, you’re not alone. Well-meaning folks like to remind us constantly to prepare a first-aid kit before disaster strikes, but lots of them fail to mention exactly what to put inside of it. Considering we’re currently in the peak of hurricane season — and Hurricane Florence is approaching the eastern coast of the United States — now is the perfect time to get that first-aid kit ready before you might need it.
Your stockpile of non-perishable foods and flashlights will certainly be helpful during any major emergency, but they won't do much good if you or one of your loved ones has a medical issue or gets injured. Of course, it’s worth keeping in mind that every person has different health needs, meaning your first priority might be packing prescription pills while another person's could be storing specific medical equipment — so you might not need to think twice about packing the most obvious items that you and your family use on a regular basis. But we don’t blame you if you start scratching your head about what to add to the kit after that. Luckily for us, the National Hurricane Survival Initiative offers a list of first-aid kit items that we should not leave behind. These include:
- Twenty adhesive bandages of various sizes
- One 5" x 9" sterile dressing
- One conforming roller gauze bandage
- Two triangular bandages
- Two 3" x 3" sterile gauze pads
- Two 4" x 4" sterile gauze pads
- One roll of 3" cohesive bandage
- Two germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Six antiseptic wipes
- Two pairs of large medical grade non-latex gloves
- Adhesive tape, 2" width
- Anti-bacterial ointment
- Cold pack
- Scissors (small, personal)
- CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
- Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Antacid (for stomach upset)
- Activated charcoal (use only if advised by the American Association of Poison Control Centers)
Before you seal up your first-aid kit, make sure you double-check that none of the medications are expired or out-of-date. The American Red Cross also recommends including a list of emergency phone numbers and anything else your health provider might suggest.
Remember that every natural emergency is a different situation. You may need to evacuate your home, or you might need to stay in place for a while. It all depends on where you live and how hard your particular area has been affected. Be sure to check the Weather Channel for updates during hurricane season (or any other time of increased natural-disaster activity), and follow instructions from the experts as soon as you possibly can. Stay safe out there, everyone!