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What Are the 10 Main Items in a First Aid Kit and What Are Their Uses?

A first aid kit is a must-have item either at home, in your car, while travelling or in the workplace.

This is because emergencies and accidents can happen wherever you are and you need to take care of it as you wait for emergency services to arrive.

When choosing a kit, it must be able to cater to your needs and follow safety regulations.

A first aid kit suited for the workplace must comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Companies must provide protective gear, adequate first aid kits and first aid officers per every 50 employees for the wellness of their staff.

When choosing workplace first aid kits, keep some of these parameters in mind:

  • The workplace size and how it’s laid out
  • How many staff members there are
  • Any workplace hazards like the use of chemicals, heavy machinery, sharp objects, etc.
  • If the workplace is in a remote place
  • The distance the workplace is from the nearest emergency room.

There is no specific brand that is considered the best kit. What is important is the contents of your kit. They must suit the location and purpose of the kit.

For example, a workplace first aid kit will have a defibrillator while a travel kit will have just the basics in a compact container. There are some main items that will be found in any kit, and it’s also important to know what each item is for.

First Aid Manual

A first aid manual is the first place one will check for how to use any of the items in the kit. It will give you a simple guide on how to care for sprains, bites, wounds and any other emergency that may arise.

It’s especially important in the event that the person using it is not a trained safety officer.

Regular training and refresher sessions on the contents of a first aid kit are advisable. Everyone who accesses the kit should have basic first aid knowledge.

Having a first aid officer on the premises (one for every 50 employees) is a definite must.

Pain Relievers

Every first aid kit should have various approved painkillers, mostly found in tablet form. There are patients who are allergic to some types of medicine, so both aspirin-based and non-aspirin pain relievers should be included in the kit.

When choosing the best pain relievers for the kit, the first aid officer will be able to offer the best advice on what should be included. Prescription drugs should not be included in the kit. Instead, acceptable over-the-counter options are preferred.

Instant Cold Pack

In the workplace, there are a number of hazards that can result in injuries which will lead to swelling. To prevent swelling, icing the affected area can help to keep the patients slightly comfortable as other first aid procedures are undertaken.

Choose cold packs that are for one-time use and do not require refrigeration to use. There are varieties that will be activated once the seal is broken. In the workplace, it is important to have as many ice packs as possible to cater for the number of staff present at a given time.

Alcohol Swabs

Alcohol swabs are a necessity in a workplace first aid kit. They are used to clean an infected or wounded area before bandage or gauze is placed on it to minimize infections. Alcohol swabs can be used alongside anaesthetic swabs and can also be used to sterilise tweezers or scissors when necessary.


Adhesive bandages in multiple sizes are crucial in any type of first aid kit. When using a managed rental service, they will be sure to place various bandage sizes in the kits to cater for varying emergencies.

Companies can also purchase assorted boxes of bandages to complement those in the first aid kit.

Gauze Pads

These are used for wounds that are too large for adhesive bandages. These mesh-like pads are used to cover a burn area to prevent infection.

It also helps to control the flow of blood in the event of an injury. Like bandages, gauze pads are available in many sizes and an assortment is ideal for first aid kits.

Elastic Bandages

Another type of bandage you must have is the elastic kind. These will help keep a sprained joint from moving as well as reduce swelling. Elastic bandages are available either with a  hook-and-loop or metal fasteners. They are perfect for use around ankles, knees, wrists, and elbows, at least until emergency services arrive. They vary in width from one to six inches.

Tweezers and Scissors

Tweezers should be a part of any first aid kit, whether it’s at the workplace or in a vehicle. Tweezers are mostly used to remove foreign objects like glass, dirt, or splinters from a wound. They are perfect for taking care of stingers left in the skin by bees and wasps.

Having a pair of scissors in your first aid kit is also important. It can be used to cut away clothes to access an injury. It can also be used to cut bandages or gauze to fit a wound. Before using the items, make sure they are rust-free and are cleaned with an antiseptic solution before each use.

Defibrillator or AED

Alsco AED kit

Alsco’s manage Defibrillator rental Services

An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is a portable machine that analyses heart activity and administers shocks to the heart to save a cardiac arrest patient.

This form of first aid is done alongside CPR and is not effective on a heart attack patient.

The reason why an AED is important in a workplace first aid kit is that more than 6,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests are reported annually.

Fatalities often occur if the patients do not get help within five minutes of the incident.

Portable Eyewash Station

Eyewash Stations Box

Alsco’s manage Eyewash Station rental Services for your workplace.

In the event of an eye injury, it is advised that you clean out the eye immediately using an eyewash station.

Having a portable eyewash station in your kit will ensure that any eye injuries are handled as soon as they occur.

They must be constantly replaced/refilled to cater for any future incidents.

Why should you choose Alsco managed rental first aid kits?

  • Regularly restocked with hospital-grade first aid supplies free of charge.
  • Our kits are matched with your business needs and stocked with the supplies you’d most likely need.
  • All these services are available for a single, all-inclusive annual fee.

Contact Alsco NZ for a free quote and to find out more about the best first aid kits for your business.

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