We all know how incredibly important first aid kits are. From treating cuts and grazes to potentially saving lives during an anaphylactic incident, when you need to reach for your first-aid kit, it’s adamant that you have the right tools and materials when you need them.
Despite only being used very occasionally and probably stored in an obscure place out of sight around your home, there are some important reasons why keeping you First-Aid Kid up to date is vital and should be scheduled regularly.
1. To make sure the contents are not expired
One of the most common misconceptions are that all the contents of a First-Aid kit are long-life. While this is true for some items, most of them have a shelf-expiry of 3-5 years due to Australian labelling standards. Ointment, creams and solutions (water and oil-based products) are the examples of what you can look out for that will most certainly expire. Some of the more high-risk items which expire are products like an Epi-Pen which is an important life-saving addition to have in your First-Aid kit and has a much shorter shelf-life of about 18 months.
2. To make sure the anything is not deteriorated or damaged
Similar to the problem of First-Aid kit contents expiring, the could also have deteriorated or become damaged over time and through tampering. For example, when it comes to bandages, you may not think these expire in a traditional sense, but over time they can lose their sterilisation and therefore cause potential risks when you use them. Band-Aids and adhesives could lose their adhesive glue and therefore not work as well. Another simple problem is opening, tearing or damaging content items accidently when the kit had been used before.
3. To make sure you are stocked up correctly
One of the hardest things to keep track of when you own a First-Aid kit is who may have accessed it and what they have used. There is nothing worse and heading to grab a band aid or bandage and realising the person before you wiped out the last one. Before the situation arises that you desperately need the kit item, it’s important to get into a routine to check what you have and what you need to stock up on. It’s also handy to keep an itinerary list print and taped inside of the First-Aid kit to reference and check off.
When it comes to creating a regular routine to check the content and quality of your First-Aid kit, a general rule of thumb is to try and immediately replace anything that is removed or used on the spot. While we are all human and sometimes this isn’t possible, it’s best to do an audit and cleanout every 6 months to ensure you’re always prepared and ready in the case of an emergency.