Packing a group outdoor first aid kit can be a challenge; we often get asked what should go in one on our level 3 Award in Outdoor First Aid. There is no definite answer. However over this series of blogs our director Andy Hart will have a look at what we carry in our group first aid kits. Starting with 6 things that you probably shouldn’t be carrying.
What not to pack in your Outdoor First Aid Kit
Before we look at what the first aid kit should include, let’s have a quick look at what we don’t put into our kits and why. Please note, we are assuming that the user of this kit is a regular outdoor first Aider who is operating in British hills and mountains. It should also be noted that this list is in no way exhaustive or definitive.
Be they paracetamol, ibrobrufin, or other pills. This is a question that we get asked fairly frequently. The ability to diagnose and issue painkillers is beyond the scope of a basic outdoor first aid course. Over the counter drugs can cause a number of side effects and a casualty could be allergic to them. Often these drugs can interfere with prescribed medicines. Without the appropriate training a first aider cannot guarantee that they aren’t inadvertently causing harm to a casualty. We would recommend that over the counter drugs are never placed in a first aid kit. There are a couple of exceptions which you will learn about on your outdoor first aid course.
A group first aid kit should be universal. Placing anyone’s personal medication in a first aid kit shouldn’t be standard practise. We’d recommend an individual’s personal medication is clearly marked and store it separately.
No pain killers or personal medication in a group aid first aid kit, so what about an asthma inhaler? Well the law is quite clear here. An asthma inhaler is a prescription only medicine, so it is illegal to obtain one for ‘general’ use in a first aid kit. There is specific legislation which allows for a school to keep one on site, however this legislation doesn’t cover taking it outside of school. If your organisational policy dictates that the leader/first Aider must carry an individual’s inhaler, we’d recommend clearly marking it and storing it separately from the group first aid kit.
Examples of auto-injectors include Epi-pens and Jext. There is specific legislation allowing lay people to administer a casualties own auto-injector directly to the casualty. However like inhalers, auto-injectors are controlled and prescribed Medication. Again like inhalers they don’t belong in a first aid kit.
A wee nip is nice right? I think that’s something that we all agree on. I am sure that we’ve all heard about the medicinal benefits associated with the alcohol, but does it belong in a first aid kit? The answer to this is absolutely not! I can think of a variety of reasons why alcohol shouldn’t be given to a casualty. In addition to impairing judgement, alcohol can also lead to a casualty becoming hypothermic. Alcohol causes the blood vessels to dilate, moving heat away from the core. Couple this with alcohols dialectic qualities and you could end up with a dangerous situation.
I’ve bought many branded outdoor first aid kits which have included a wide variety of sharps including scalpels and even hypodermic needles! The use of both of these items is beyond the scope of a standard outdoor first aid course. Without the correct training a first Aider is inviting disaster. There is really no need to carry them, as they are only taking up space.
So there we go; 6 items that we shouldn’t include it a group first aid kit. In the next article we will have a look at some items which you should include. Have more questions then why not book on to our accredited level 3 Award in Outdoor First Aid.