First aid kit supplies
Went on a ride on Sunday where a rider went down. Had to utilize my first aid kit to tend to some of the injuries. Given the nature of our hobby here, and I haven't seen this information posted before, I thought I'd share my insights on what should be included in a first aid kit/first responder kit for bikers. We're limited on room compared to a cager so I did some thinking on this as having supplies there on hand when a spill does happen may make a difference.
1. non latex rubber gloves
2. sterile gauze pads 2x2, 4x4 and 6x6.
3. medical tape
4. vet wrap (see below)
5. compression wrap
6. compression bandage
8. alcohol wipes
11. quick clot
12. band aids
14. instant ice pack
16. Iodine tabs
18. saline solution
My first aid kit was lacking and I wished I'd had some of the stuff I listed above. Thankfully, the injuries of the rider were non-life threatening. The rider went down and received abrasions on his knees and lower legs. He took a hit on his helmet and his side. I put vet wrap on the list as it would serve very well to maintain pressure and bandages on areas such as knees where joints make standard medical tape worthless. Vet wrap is a very flexible material that holds bandages well and is impervious to water.
The rider also cracked two ribs though he didn't feel it or show any signs of it at the scene.
Given how potentially dangerous our hobby is, we should all carry a first aid kit on our motorcycles. The above is my list of what is in mine now. Any suggestions for things I've missed or should consider would be appreciated.
What really got me was that out of all of us only a couple of us had first aid kits.
Some of that Quik Clot stuff might be a good idea, as well as those clear membrane sheets used for large abrasions, whatever those are called.
You know, this is a great topic...and strangely enough, something I completely overlooked.
Odd. Especially since I have a tendency to crash....hard.
Great post. I know what I'm adding before my next ride.
Small thread with a bit of this in it.
Other half of the coin is knowing how to use what you have.
Take a first aid class. They're cheap.
When I took it, the instructor gave us access to download the manuals. Wilderness First Responder was among those listed... while I didn't take the class, the information in the other manuals had a lot more to do with the situations I'd be in than the basic first aid class did. Kinda need one for the other though.
Also had bloodborne pathogens, babysitter's guide, first aid cheat-sheet, pediatric first aid, and CPR/AED.
Good on you for stepping up to help out a fellow rider. Just a couple of things about your suggestions that I'd change.
Get rid of the 2x2's and the 6x6's. Use 4x4's and a couple of abdominal bandages, they'll absorb more fluid and the 4x4's can always be folded or cut down. Individually wrapped, sterile 4x4's can be found at any drugstore, they're cheap and pack flat, get as many plies/thickness as possible for maximum absorption.
Antiseptic wipes are far better than alcohol wipes for cleaning any sort of broken skin, alcohol will burn and it is cytotoxic, kills the good cells as well as the bad ones. BZK (benzalkonium chloride) wipes are bigger, work better and don't sting. They're also cheap if you buy a box of 100. I do keep a couple of alcohol wipes in my tool kit in case I ever need to apply Loctite or epoxy to something, they work well for cleaning plastic and metal.
More gloves is better. Like at least 6 pairs. Nitrile is probably best as they're hypoallergenic, good for you, good for the patient.
I'd skip the vet wrap, In my experience it's not all it's cracked up to be. Once it's been stretched out it loses it's elasticity very quickly and falls off. I'd use a couple of 6" elastic bandages and tape. The elastic bandages can also be used with your splint, to hold a cold pack in place, to immobilize a dislocated or broken extremity even if you don't have a splint.
For a compression bandage, pick up an "Izzy", an Israeli combat bandage. They're great, they can be self applied as well as used on others. Come in a sterile package, available in 4"and 6" widths. One should suffice for the average kit.
For a splint, pick up a SAM or one of the many no-name copies. Aluminum bonded with some thin foam padding they can be cut, folded, modded into just about anything. I've used them to make finger splints, just cut off a slice and make sure the edges aren't sharp. They come rolled up, very handy.
If the recommended use for the Benadryl is for treatment of insect stings, get a small bottle of the children's liquid. It's much faster acting. They also make Benadryl in a gel form, great for topical applications but not for internal usage. If you or anyone you're traveling with is known to be susceptible to anaphylaxis from insect stings, make sure you or they are carrying an up to date Epi pen. Same thing for known diabetics and asthma sufferers, don't be like a lot of my patients and tell me that you left your Epi pen, inhaler, and insulin at home. Something to remember about Benadryl, it will make you drowsy, not recommended if you or the patient is going to be continuing to ride.
Saline can be found in small 20-30 ml individually sterilized squeeze bottles, very handy for flushing out wounds and debris from the eyes as well.
I'd also think about getting some sort of tourniquet, a CAT or something equivalent and make sure it's not a Chinese ripoff design. The protocols for treating arterial bleeding in extremities is pressure bandages followed by use of a tourniquet in many areas now. If you should come across or be involved in an incident in which a person has suffered from a traumatic injury to an extremity, you'll never stop the bleeding by trying to find a pressure point, particularly if they're wearing a riding suit. A properly applied tourniquet will save a limb as well as life in an extreme injury situation. In addition to actually stopping the bleeding, a tourniquet allows a single caregiver to deal with multiple patients once it's been applied correctly.
I'd also toss a small headlamp in with the first aid kit, it sucks to not be able to see what you're doing and you can't do much with one hand holding a flashlight.
I'd also consider separating the true "first aid" stuff from the "booboo" stuff. If you come across an accident, you need to be able to access that tourniquet or Izzy right now, the pain relievers and bandaids can go into a separate bag or box to be used as needed. I keep a couple of bandaid, some Advil, Tums and a small bottle of eye drops in a little zippered case inside my tankbag for easy, non-emergent use. The real stuff is in a separate trauma bag. All I'm really concerned with in an emergent situation is trying to ensure the patient is breathing and trying to stop traumatic blood loss. The road rash etc. can be fixed later when you've got everyone off to the side of the road or trail. Same thing with medications.
For reference, I am a licensed, working EMT in the state of California but I'm not a doctor, in particular I'm not your doctor so take everything I've written with a grain of salt and don't rely on it to save yours or anyone else's life without further training.
Awesome post!!!! Thanks!
I've bookmarked this thread; excellent info in several of the above posts.
Newbie question: are any of you aware of a commercially available kit (i.e. something I can buy online with a few clicks, or at REI, ...) that comes close to the above? It'd be great for me to buy a starter kit and then make a few additions as necessary.
Thanks very much,
check out the line of kits put together by Adventure Medical Kits. They make em from pocket sized all the way up to expedition size including some neat stuff like a sealed suture and hypodermic needle kit to be used by medical personnel in questionable areas. They all come with some form of first aid manual written by the founder who happens to be an MD that specializes in remote, ie, wilderness medicine.
They sell them at REI and if I'm not mistaken the annual anniversary sale is going on right now.
Supplement the kit you buy with some extra crash specific stuff and off you go.
REI also sells individual first aid kit components, not the cheapest place to get them but you won't have to buy entire boxes of stuff like the BZK's I mentioned earlier.
There's also a ton of stuff available on Amazon.com.
And of course, your local drugstore and even the 99 Cents only store or it's equivalent. I buy a few things there regularly.
This is great info, thanks for the insight Mike and John.
there have been several good 1st aid threads, I can't find the best one but here are a couple of them: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=643132
I also recommend taking the Wilderness First Responder course if you are serious about 1st aid. It is particularly of interest for riding in remote places. It is oriented to 1st aid when definitive care is several hours away. In some ways it is better than EMT training because they assume you have lots of equipment and drugs and you will soon be in a hospital. EMT training does include much more medical information though. WFR training is all about improvisation and figuring out how bad the emergency is and if the patient can walk out or if you should be sending someone for a helicopter.
Great post. I had read on another thread a very detailed First Aid kit that a rider used. I too upgraded my kit several years ago. I am a volunteer fireman in a rural area of eastern NC and we take CPR/first aid refresher courses at least bi-yearly which are taught by EMS folks. Plus some things I took away from my military training...
A kotex pad makes a great bandage. Its sterile. Comes in its own package and is cheap. And will soak up a ton of blood...way more than a 4x4 or 6x6 pad. Check your wife's bathroom cabinet. You can compress it with just about any type of wrap or string or belt, etc and if its a major injury/bleeder just keep putting more pads on top. I learned this from an old Corpsman (Navy Medic) that worked with the Marines.
An old pillow case torn in half (so you have two rectangles) (or use an old sheet ripped to size) makes a nice modified triangular bandage for slings or above mentioned wrap or tourniquet.
FWIW...most over the counter kits are not equipped for the rigors of our needs, especially if you do any serious off-roading. Most of these kits are designed for "boo-boos" that one may get around the home.
I acquired a nice small coudura type red zip up bag a few years ago and made my own kit. Some things are redundant, as you would have on nearly any mass produced kit, such as band-aids, wipes, aspirin, etc, etc...But I have found that its the one-off items that you cannot or will not find in a mass kit that you will ultimately need in the field. Ya know a clean piece of material-dressing (pillow case, sheet, kotex pad), a wrap, some tape (electrical, duct, medical, athletic, anything in a pinch), will go along way for most emergencies that you would normally encounter. If its serious enough such as a compound fracture, sucking chest wound, broken back, etc...then most first aid courses will only advise you to call 911.
Keep the person breathing
Stop the bleeding
Most everything else is window dressing. :D
Great prices on all sorts of stuff :deal
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