In addition to a well built first aid kit, one should consider procuring and learning how to properly use first aid equipment. Often times one can find a free first aid class sponsored in their community by either a local school, hospital, or by the Red Cross. Learning techniques such as proper bandaging, how to recognize and treat various types of trauma, and how to properly administer CPR can all matter greatly in an emergency.
One can do makeshift bandages, but other types of first aid require training. Learning how to properly perform CPR and use a respiratory mask can save someone’s life in an emergency. Alternate forms of resuscitation include rescue breathing techniques and the Heimlich maneuver for those who are choking or are unconscious but still have a pulse. In extreme cases, use of a portable defibrillator can help an unconscious victim who needs CPR administered.
Not properly administering CPR can cause broken bones and damage to internal organs, so training is essential. Learning how to use a defibrillator is not difficult but can help regain a heartbeat in those who have no pulse. Proper training should be taught by a licensed professional, as it is possible to severely hurt someone if one is not careful.
For those who are severely injured and bleeding, knowing how to stop bleeding is crucial. Proper training in bandaging and trauma treatment techniques can stop severe bleeding and save a limb in cases where one might be subject to loss. Proper training in this area goes beyond reading a book; what one needs to know cannot be read out of a manual during an emergency. Training can also help one learn what to do in situations where they do not have the proper equipment and must improvise. Tourniquets, splints, slings, and bandages can be made out of many makeshift materials if one is properly taught how to improvise.
Including a guide with a first aid kit and any equipment may help in an emergency. Realistically, not everyone is going to remember what to do in an emergency, and the people available to help in an emergency may not have proper training. Consider making a custom first aid kit and storing it with any first aid equipment in an easy to get to location that is well marked. Having a first aid guide is also a necessity. One can often get free first aid guides and tools from the Red Cross, as well as training in various first aid programs and techniques. It may seem like a lot of bother to learn how to properly use first aid equipment and to be trained in techniques, but they are a small investment and may help save a life.