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Thursday, 24 April 2014

First Aid supplies

Every team needs to have a fully stocked first aid kit on site during all team, club or sport activities.  Having these supplies at hand, knowing what is available and knowing how to use them are all part of a well organized risk management plan and emergency action plan for your group. 

Not all first aid kits are created equal.  A kit used at home, work or in the car will not meet the needs of an athletic event.  Depending on your expertise you may expand the supplies you keep on hand, but it is very important to only have supplies you are trained to use.  When being given a first aid kit by your organization or club it is very important to go through it.  Knowing what supplies you have on hand or not can mean change how prepared you are for the injury situation. 
Basic supplies that everyone should carry are:
  • Barrier protective gloves - non latex is best, but if you have not latex allergies in your athletes latex is fine.
  • CPR mask or shield 
  • Bandaids - I always recommend butterfly or knuckle as they have more coverage and stay on better.  You may need to pay attention to adhesive allergies. 
  • Triangle Bandages - They aren't just for slinging shoulders, in my world the more the better.
  • Tensor Bandages - 3" and 4" are best, depending on your knowledge adding a double 6" is beneficial.
  • Saline Solution - Used to clean wounds.
  • Antibiotic Cream - Keep wounds clean 
  • Gauze - Sterile and non-sterile to dress wounds, 3" is sufficient
  • Alcohol Sanitizer - You can not always make it to a sink to wash.
  • Hypafix or similar product - Keeps gauze on great
  • Prowrap - Even if you don't know how to tape this comes in handy for many things
  • White Athletic Tape - Zinc Oxide tape is the basic tape used in athletics.  If you have a taping and strapping course carry enough to tape.  If you do not know how to tape still carry some as you can use it to hold on bandaids or gauze. 
  • Scissors - Rescue Shears or Utility Scissors can cut through shoulder pads, great to have on hand for emergency or everyday issues.
  • Helmet Removal Tool - Depending on your sport having something to properly remove the face mask can be life saving.  An pair of angled pruners or the Trainer Angel work well, a Utility Knife is not safe for either the athlete or person using it. 
  • I do not recommend chemical ice packs as they can break and tear.  Leaving the athlete prone to chemical burns or the ice pack has already been activated prior to needing to be used.
A well packed and organized first aid kit can make a huge difference when managing injuries.  By knowing what supplies you have on hand and how to use them will save you time when an injury does occur. Nothing is worse than trying to find gloves and gauze when dealing with a wound.  Always keep your first aid kit stocked and check for expiration dates on any supplies.   Check with your sport governing body or organization as to if there are any restrictions as to what you can carry in your kit. Some sport governing bodies do not allow you to carry anything that has a drug identification number (DIN).  The final step to having an effective first aid kit is making sure you take it to all sport events. Practices, games, training and competitions all require having your first aid kit on site. 

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