Fort Meade Young Marines
Strengthing the Lives of America's Youth

Safety/First Aid


Building A First-Aid Kit

This page is from Ft.Meade

Building A First-Aid Kit
Velma Carter
The Leader, April 1976

A first aid kit. You hope you won't have to use it, but it's good to
know it's nearby--just in case.

Whether you're at camp, on a hike or at home, your first aid kit could
make the difference between further illness or complications and a
speedy recovery.

Anyone can go into a sports shop and buy a first aid kit, there are
plenty on the market--one for campers, one for sportsmen, one for the
home and the list goes on. But making your own first aid kit, not only
saves money, it enables you to suit each kit to individual needs and
serves as an excellent teaching aid.

For example: it's spring and your group plans to go on their first
backpacking trip of the year and last year's first aid kit is
depleted. It is agreed that each member will make his own kit, keeping
in mind that it should be light, compact and easy to get at in an
emergency. Thus, when buying the materials (in bulk, to be shared
among members in the group) at the local pharmacy, you can choose the
brands that are less cumbersome, enabling you to pack the most into
the least amount of space.

Buy with the container in mind, whether you'll be using a large
prescription bottle for a personal first aid kit or a small plastic
case for a larger kit. Another item: the shape of the container would
determine the type of antiseptic you would buy--pre-moistened
towelettes, a bottle or tube.

In our example, our hikers would want to include extras that would be
handy on this trip--lip balm for dry, chapped lips on the trail; salt
for sunstroke or as an antiseptic; talcum powder (in a plastic vial)
for sore and tired feet; and purification tablets for water they were
not sure of. And these items would take up little space. For example,
the salt is put into plastic food wrap with an elastic to secure it.
The same could be done with the talcum powder if space is limited--
with a label, of course.

Personal Kits

When teaching first aid, it is a good idea to have each boy make his
own 'personal' first aid kit. In this way they will be prepared for
any minor mishap that may occur, even on their way to the meeting. It
also stresses the importance of having first aid material readily
available and familiarizes the boys with the materials, their uses and

One suggestion from Powlett District published in the Victorian Scout
is a Match Box First Aid Kit. You will need:

- one match box (each)

- a needle

- a small bandage and safety pin

- several adhesive bandages

- a cotton ball

- a cotton ball dipped in an antiseptic solution and wrapped in
plastic food wrap

The match box is covered with plain, coloured paper with emergency
phone numbers clearly written on the box and money for pay phones
taped to the other side of the box. This kit is compact and would do
in an emergency.

Another idea is to carry materials flat in a wallet or pocket. Here
you would need:

- two or three adhesive bandage strips

- one 2" x 2" sterile gauze compress

- one small bar of soap (the size found in hotels) OR an antiseptic
pre-moistened towelette

- one clean handkerchief (carried in a pocket)

These items are all flat and would fit easily into a wallet or pocket.

A Hiker's Kit

A hiker or camper's first aid kit is usually larger than a personal
kit but compact enough to be carried about in a knapsack. The
container should be water tight to keep dampness and water from
seeping in. This kit would include:

- matches in a waterproof container

- a card with the boy's name, address and a number to call in case of

- other emergency phone numbers

- small blunt end scissors and razor blade (safely packaged or

- assorted sizes of adhesive bandages

-. a patch bandage

- adhesive tape

- sterile gauze

- table salt (for sunstroke or an antiseptic)

- aspirin (if a boy is allergic to aspirin substitute a non-aspirin
type of pain reliever.)

- safety pins

If the area you're hiking in requires it, bring along snake antivenin

At Camp

The first aid kit kept at camp should be large enough to contain all
the necessary equipment for the number of boys the camp accommodates.
Not only should there be more variety but a greater quantity of items.
This would include a larger assortment of adhesive bandages (different
shapes and sizes); tweezers; castor oil for eyes and eye dropper;
paper cups; absorbent cotton; gauze pads; cotton tips; rubbing
alcohol; antiseptic solution; salve; tourniquet; smelling salts; soap
containing hexachlorophene or liquid antiseptic soaps; triangular
bandage; iodine, sterilized gauze (different sizes); needles; adhesive
tape; sterile tongue depressors; and rigid splinting material such as
a piece of wood, metal or strong cardboard. Also keep a first aid book
in the kit.

A Kit for the Home

One exercise is to make a list of all the necessary items for a first
aid kit in the home with your group. Those working on their Safety
Badge could go ahead and, using the list compiled during the meeting,
make a kit for their home.

The Department of National Defence, in its book 11 Steps to Survival
suggests these items for a complete first aid kit for the home:

- one bottle mild antiseptic
- five yards 2" gauze bandage
- two triangular bandages
- 12--4" x 4" sterile pads
- 12 assorted individual adhesive dressings
- two large dressing pads
- five yards half-inch adhesive tape
- nine assorted safety pins
- petroleum jelly
- aspirin*
- thermometer
- blunt end scissors
- medicine glass
- tweezers
- 4 oz. baking soda
- 8 oz. table salt

** Remember to substitute if anyone in the family is allergic to this
pain reliever.

As another exercise, have the group list the items they would need for
a first aid kit for the car. Discuss the necessity of having a kit in
the car and what items you would be sure to include considering the
circumstances it would be used under. What special items would you
include--flares? blankets?

In preparing first aid kits with your group, discuss the reasons for
each item, its proper use and the limits of first aid itself. First
aid is common sense- once your group understands the reasons for
taking certain steps and using special equipment, they will less
likely forget than if they had to memorize it. Also stress that once a
first aid kit has been made it cannot be put away and forgotten. Keep
the supplies replenished and properly protected.


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