Not Really First Aid Kits

I live in an earthquake-prone area and occasionally fly small airplanes, so I thought it be a good idea to pick up a first aid kit.

Easier said than done.

What drugstores and office supply stores call a “first aid kit” is just a box of 100 bandaids and 100 tylenols – totally inadequate for any kind of trauma.

It ends up that anything useful is called a “trauma bag” or “EMT first responder kit.”

Those have basic surgical tools, such as shears for removing clothing, bandage scissors and forceps, gloves, epi for allergic reactions, in addition to bandaids and tylenol.

Beyond that, your trauma kit needs to be customized for the expected environment.

Hikers need a light-weight kit than contains blister and snake-bite aids.

Airmen can carry a heavier kit that contains burn aids and splints.

Make sure your kit, like any luggage, is adequately secured in the aircraft. (In Cessnas I use a seatbelt instead of dumping items in the rear baggage compartment. Otherwise in a quick deceleration, such as a crash or noseover, heavy objects will strike the pilot and front seat passenger. Ask Martha King what a toolbox to the head feels like.)

And last but not least – don’t forget training on what to do with all that gear when the occasion arises.

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