View Full Version : Do you carry a first aid kit in your car?

April 15, 2002, 10:23 PM
I've been thinking of putting together a first aid kit for my car, just in case I come across somebody needing help. Something simple like trauma bandages and maybe special burn bandages. Do you keep a kit in your vehicle, and if so, what type supplies are in it? Just curious.

Jody Hudson
April 15, 2002, 10:39 PM
I have carried a large first aid kit in my car for all my adult life. I have found that the best kit box, for me, is a very large fishing tackle box, with the two opening lids and lots of adjustable hinged shelves that open when the lid is opened.

For supplies, I find that a medical supply store is best for most things, as there are so many things not available at the drug store.

Some basics are available at the drug store of course. It is an evolving situation and two things that make a huge difference are if you are going to set up for children or not, and, for very serious stuff or not.

At one time I carried a mini-hospita of sorts -- when I was on the road all the time with my wife and kids. I had oxygen, cord clamps, all sorts of emergency stuff.

Jody Hudson
April 15, 2002, 10:44 PM
Some helpful links:





April 15, 2002, 10:53 PM
I appreciate the links, I am going to put together a fairly comprehensive kit.

April 15, 2002, 10:53 PM
Yes, carry first aid kit and an airway kit. Red Cross certified in First Aid/CPR.

Sea Bass
April 16, 2002, 12:10 AM
I carry a basic first aid kit in all my cars. Never know when you'll need it or if you render aid to someone. Haven't had to use it yet. I just check on it every once in awhile to remove expired items.

Billy Sparks
April 16, 2002, 07:11 AM
A few words of advise about using tackle boxes. They turn over when you least want them to, take a 40 acre field to open up, any fluid (rain etc) will seek out the bottom of your box and finally if not latched will dump. When I first got in emergency services the thing to carry was a Plano 747 tackle box. Over the last 20+ years I have watched every one going to bags.

April 16, 2002, 09:50 AM
I have an old Navy Corpsman Unit 1 bag in my trunk. I won it in a poker game while I was in the Marines. Having stopped to assist in 2 car accidents, I've never regretted the extra equipment. And there isn't a situation I've been in that my own first aid skills have required more than what was in the kit.

I beleive that www.cheaperthandirt.com has similar kits that are reasonable price wise.

April 16, 2002, 11:48 AM
If you are going to be stopping your car to help people, the first thing you need to put in your kit is your personal protective equipment. Goggles, gloves, mask, gown. You are exposing yourself to biohazards, namely infectious disease. You are also possibly exposing yourself to other hazardous materials, violent confrontations, danger from traffic............No, you can't always tell if someone is infected just by looking at them. Especially if they are covered with blood. It is driven home time after time in the emergency medical field not to compound the situation by making yourself a victim. The dangers you are exposing yourself to are every bit as real and as dangerous as that of violent crime.
Second; if you are going to be helping victims of accident and illness, know what you are doing. I run into people almost everyday that are trying to help but are instead making the problem worse, sometimes much worse for the patient. Some examples; sticking objects into people's mouths so they won't swollow their tongue. Propping up the head of patients with possible spinal cord injuries to make them more comfortable. Propping up the heads of persons who are unconscious and in the process cutting off their airway. Getting people out of cars that were involved in an accident (persons again, with possible spinal injuries) just in case the car catches on fire. Applying tourniquets to limbs. Doing CPR on persons who are not only not in cardiac arrest but who are wide awake and talking. Giving fluids by mouth to persons who have no airway control.
I applaud your desire to help your fellow man, just making a few random points.

April 16, 2002, 12:42 PM
Those are all good points. I certainly do need to address all of the items you pointed out. I can see where the potential to make things worse could happen by mistakes made by the first responder.

April 16, 2002, 07:47 PM
Another safety item. Get a pocket mask with a one way valve for doing CPR. Speaking of CPR, if there is one thing you could do to help someone, make it learning CPR. Bystander CPR is vital to the persons survival. Any one of us could make so much difference in a persons survival that it is incredible. In cardiac arrest, permenent brain damage occurs within four minutes. Also, the longer a person is in cardiac arrest, the less electrical activity their heart has, and the less they will respond to defibrillation and drug therapy. You can buy this person time if you know CPR. It is all but impossible for an ambulance to respond in less than four minutes unless they happen to be in the immediate area and know exactly where they are going. Even with them giving it everything they can, it is often too late by the time they get there if no CPR is done by bystanders. In the case of cardiac arrest, the layman is an essential, and vital link in the health care system. It only takes one day to learn. The life you save may be one of your own family.

Please pardon me if you have heard this rant before. Everytime a subject like this comes up, I beat this drum long and hard. Everything I said above is true, but I also harp on this for my own selfish needs. You see, paramedics want more than anything to succeed at their job. They spend countless hours learning, re-learning, drilling, practicing, studying etc. But this is all in vain if we have nothing to work with when we arrive on scene. The frustration of throwing a sheet over someone when something as simple as CPR MIGHT have made the difference is extremely frustrating and demoralizing.

April 16, 2002, 08:13 PM
I guess I should also make a disclaimer. CPR certainly doesn't ensure someone's survival. In fact even with CPR followed by advanced cardiac life support equipment, drugs and techniques the patient more often than not dies. Obviously the person is in a very grave situation that put them into cardiac arrest to begin with. But it certainly gives them a much better chance.

April 16, 2002, 09:44 PM
All good ideas so far. One thing you should definitely do if you haven't already. Go to your local Red Cross and take the first responder training (I'm doing my annual renewal tomorrow on part of it) They will give you enough knowledge to make good use of what's in your kit.

You could also go to your neighborhood firestation and talk to the paramedics. Tell them what you are doing and why, and that you would appreciate their input.

Don't know about your area, but around these parts there are emergency supply houses that sell all the helmets, first aid kits and tools of the trade for the volunteer firefighters. You might check there for a kit. It's a ready made bag with all the basics in it, and you just replenish as needed. Also check industrial first aid supply houses they have kits they sell to large companies for just the type of emergencies you would see.

April 17, 2002, 12:49 AM
Another good point of the Red Cross training is that in the event the person or family decides to sue you claiming that you made the victum worse by your actions, the Red Cross will defend you as long as you did not violate your training. A good example is broken ribs following CPR. The victim lives, but sues you because you did it wrong and broke his ribs. Breaking ribs is a common side effect of CPR and doesn't mean anyone did anything wrong.

Florida even has a law where, technically, you are required to stop and render assistance if you are first one on the scene.

Billy Sparks
April 17, 2002, 02:02 PM
One word of wisdom, when trying to decide what to carry and not to carry. Use the KISS method. When you first start trying to plan what to carry your first choice will be to carry too much. I know when I first got in the rescue squad I carried enough stuff to single handed a multi car pile up on the interstate. 20+ years later I carry a simple small bag.

April 17, 2002, 09:26 PM
I will take CPR training and a class from the Red Cross for First Responder. Thanks for the good advice.

Kentucky Rifle
April 18, 2002, 07:46 AM
Cars, truck, motorcycle, I even take one in the plane when I fly. And due to those damn lines, I fly myself a lot these days. I even have a take-down Marlin "Papoose" rifle in my airplane first aid kit.


April 19, 2002, 02:04 PM
Have the basics, 4x4 pads, tape, trauma pads, sterile sheet for burns, sterile water for irrigation and burns, or an eye wash bottle, and a rescucitator bag (if you know CPR they are invaluable) or a small barrier mask for CPR, clothing shears and of course Band aids. Kept in a small back pack. Good to pack the contents in plastic or get a good lined bag that seals good to keep dirt out. Band aids for the little stuff and the bigger stuff to hold someone over until the real help arrives.

April 19, 2002, 03:21 PM
You might want to consider sticking a pair of exam gloves in your door pocket or sun visor, as well as in your kit. Make them easy to grab without digging, and you're much more likely to have them on when you need them You might also consider a waterless hand clenser.
I wouldn't spend money on a sterile burn sheet. They tend to start to fray in the package after a year or so, and cause more problems with debriding than they solve. Stock the big stuff like trauma dressings, but what you'll end up using the most are band aids and such.

April 20, 2002, 01:08 PM
Great thread.

I carry a small 1st aid kit on me. I don't go out and buy the latest and greatest kit (I may sooner or later). I don't know much about 1st aid...my general rule is if I don't know how to use it, leave it at home. Like hell I'm going to carry dental tools and surgical tools if it takes people 25 years of schooling to scratch the surface.

April 25, 2002, 02:31 AM
Don't forget tampons. Seriously. Besides the obvious hero-factor for damsels in 'dat distress, most designs do okay as dressings after you've used everything up.

Never know when you'll be first on scene for a train wreck.

deputy tom
April 25, 2002, 11:14 AM
I'm with Skunkabilly on this one.And yes I have a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher in all of My vehicles.As They say,better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.tom.

October 1, 2002, 12:17 AM

also keep in mind too when packing PPE, is to look into getting ONLY nitrile/vinyl gloves. Last thing you want is a patient going into anaphylactic shock when YOU are trying to assist him/her all on account that they are allergic to RUBBER.

also keep a CPR microshield,EMT shears, examlight and a belt cutter tool within reach in your vehicle.

in the end though - only pack equipment/supplies that you are able to utilize to the limit of your training.


my vehicle pack is the Patrol III from conterra.


October 1, 2002, 05:56 PM
I agree that more people need first aid and CPR training. I have carried a first aid kit for years and finally needed it - for myself.

While working on my Jeep I cut open my forearm pretty good. My options were to use a very greasy rag to apply pressure, get the first aid kit out of the house, dripping blood through 4 carpeted rooms, or use the kit in my Jeep. Because I had buried my kit under other "more important" things in my Jeep, the seats and carpet got pretty bloody.

Things I learned:
1) Cut away from yourself. Even if you think you are, you probably aren't. Cut away from yourself.
2) OxyClean gets blood out of fabric very well, and it bubbles while it works (fun to watch).
3) Make sure your 1st Aid kit is quickly AND easily accessible.

I now have an additional kit in my garage.


Brian D.
October 1, 2002, 07:17 PM
Cheapo, you've got the right idea about the absorbent dressing, but there's a larger version designed for this purpose called a Kerlex dressing--kinda looks like an ELEPHANT tampon I guess you could say. It can be unwrapped and cut off at length needed, or you can just slap the whole thing on a bigger wound and tape aggresively around it to make a pressure dressing. Also the fact it can be unrolled as you go makes it good for covering and securing injuries in awkward places on the body. Those paramedic type cut-all scissors are handy too, if you don't have/can't use a knife for some reason. Stay safe!

October 1, 2002, 07:50 PM
One in all 3 vehicles and in the house.
I do need to get one for the garage/shop.

October 2, 2002, 06:50 PM
In your kit don't forget duct tape ! Its great for making splints, immobilizing limbs & can be used to make a emergency litter by wrapping the tape around two poles or branches. I like to vacuum seal or put the supplies in ziplock bags in case of stream crossings & floods. Try silverlon bandages if the injuries are not going to get proper medical attention immediately. The bandages are impregnated with silver & helps prevent infections. I keep these in the kit if going off the beaten path & have to hike out with a injury. Space blankets are a must for warmth & shelter,not to mention signaling. "travel light,freeze all night"

Double Naught Spy
October 2, 2002, 08:22 PM
I am usually fairly well prepared for all sorts of minor emergencies. That is the good news. The bad news, according to a friend of mine, is that maybe if I wasn't so accident prone, I wouldn't need to haul all that stuff around with me!!:D

October 2, 2002, 11:05 PM
Others have said it, but I would also urge you to take Red Cross First Aid and CPR training. I completed the courses about a month ago and would recommend them to everyone. They're well worth 8 hours of time.

The biohazard aspect is real...

October 3, 2002, 12:11 PM
I carry a Navy Issue "Unit 1" bag in my my trunk. Won it off a Corpsman when I was in the Marines.

I'ts mostly focused towards trauma injuries with pressure bandages, a suture kit, gloves, CPR mask, etc. I've stopped for 2 accidents here in Southern Maine, and I was glad I had it both times. I also make sure I have it when I go out to the range.

Ditto from on the value of the Red Cross classes.

October 3, 2002, 11:19 PM
I am usually fairly well prepared for all sorts of minor emergencies. That is the good news. The bad news, according to a friend of mine, is that maybe if I wasn't so accident prone, I wouldn't need to haul all that stuff around with me!!

DNS, LOL along the same lines, I think what you said about me sums it up best: "Skunk, you've got to be the only person to have an emergency supply crisis without an emergency"

4V50 Gary
October 3, 2002, 11:58 PM
Yep. Also a disposable camera.

Jody Hudson
October 4, 2002, 08:29 AM

The new disposables, and make certain you get one with flash and 200 or 400 film, can be a life saver if you get into something where there may be liabilities later. By the way the new disposables have the quality of the finest 35 mm cameras.

And, when you develop the pics, get the two for one and keep one of everything... I can't believe I don't have one of these in my kit. When I worked for FEMA in PR, we bought these disposables by the case!!! We were professional photographers and we ALL used disposables as they were excellent quality and no worries about weather, banging, liquids, or anything else...

For ME this is the tip of the year!!!! :D