In-Truck First Aid Kit:
Do-It-Yourself Versus Store-Bought Kits
Sure, you can buy a commercial first aid kit -- and get
what the manufacturer wants you to have at the price they want you to
instance, take a look at the kit (shown at right) which we
found for sale at a truck
The first thing we noticed is the brand name. Does
this "manufacturer" specialize in medical supplies, health
and wellness items or first aid? No.
The second thing we noticed was the size. It's
small. Now this may be all that you need. The compact size may be just
right in your truck.
The third thing we noticed was the price: $9.99.
When you truly have an emergency, you may wish that you had spent this
amount to get the materials you need.
Because the photo of this "Traveler's First Aid Kit" is
pretty small, you may not be able to read the contents. So we'll list
the 58 pieces it contains:
- 1 Water Resistant Package
- Essential Tools:
- 1 Scissors
- 1 Tweezers
- 1 Tourniquet
- Wound Treatment:
- Bandage Materials:
- 1 Roll Tape
- 1 Elastic Bandage
- 4 2" x 2" Sterile Gauze Pads
- 8 4" x 2-1/2" Adhesive
- 20 3/4" x 3" Adhesive
But what if you could assemble your own first aid
kit for less?
After all, can't you just take this list (or another) of
contents and go shopping? Sure you can! Most any department store with
a health and beauty aids section or a pharmacy will have what you need.
When you are custom tailoring your first aid kit with
want, there are a few things to bear in mind:
- You will have to determine if name brand products
worth the extra cost over generic.
For example, do you really
have Band-Aid® bandages or will another less
expensive brand (or even
store brand or generic if it is available) work just as well?
these prices (which were researched in November 2010):
||Cost per Unit
|Pack of 4
& Johnson Band-Aid, Sheer, Comfort-Flex, 3/4 in. x 3 in.,
100-Count Boxes (link)
||$4.73 / Item
|Pack of 3
||First Aid Only 3/4" X 3"
Fabric Bandage, 100-Count Boxes (link)
||List Price: $28.62;
|List Price: $9.54/item;
|Pack of 12
||Curad Regular Size
Bandages, Plastic, 80-Count Boxes (link); 3/4"
||List Price: $42.57
|List Price (adjusted to
Price (adjusted to 100): $3.93
||PLASTIC ADHESIVE BANDAGES
STRIPS 1" X 3" 100/BOX (link)
- Certain parts of a first aid kit may be sensitive to
temperature or humidity. Furthermore, some items may have a limited
- For example, if you store
latex gloves in your kit, they may become
hard and brittle over time, rendering them completely useless.
- Individually wrapped
alcohol pads or hand cleaning wipes can dry out. (Watch out for
punctures in the packaging.)
- Any kind of medication such
as a fever reducer or
antibiotic cream can expire.
We once had a commercially prepared first aid kit tucked away in
the truck of our car; over time, one of the medicine pouches burst and
the entire contents became exposed to the resulting white powder. Vicki
got a rude little surprise when she opened the box later.
So, you will
want to schedule periodic inspections of your kit to make sure that it
is up-to-date. (One way to remember this is to do it twice a year in
six month intervals, such as the dates when the spring and autumn
- What will you store your first aid kit in? Most
commercially-prepared kits come in a plastic box not unlike a lunchbox
with a handle, which can repel water (if not be completely waterproof).
Most lunchboxes are "cute" (because they're for kids), so you may
prefer just a plastic shoe box or other type of box. You can usually
find these at a dollar store. However, you will want to bear in mind
the size (to make sure it can hold everything you want to store in it)
and what type of lid it has (separate or hinged).
|Snap tight lid
|Hinged lid or Flip Top
We have found that a
hinged lid works well for us because it can't get lost.
- Don't confuse a first aid
kit with either a bug
preparedness kit" or "disaster survival kit" that
contains other emergency items) or a medicine
(that contains medicines for all sorts of ailments), even though we
encourage you to think ahead on these matters, too.
For your first aid
kit, you will
want to concentrate only on items to be used for minor injuries. Also,
you don't have to go overboard and buy a bunch of medical supplies
you'll likely never use. Wikipedia
has a long list of things that you can put in a first aid kit, much of
which many truck drivers may never need or use. Of course, what you put
in your kit is up to you.
- Other items that you may not necessarily consider
part of a first aid kit may be entirely appropriate.
For example, we
read years ago that in the event of an accident in which a part of the
body bleeds profusely, it would be a good idea to have in our kit
something to absorb blood. (Guys don't usually consider this,
but products already exist to do this.) So, we have in our first aid
kit a bunch of individually wrapped feminine napkins or
pads. (If you're too embarrassed to buy these, we understand. Perhaps
support team member can buy them for you.)
- Recommendations on what to put in a do-it-yourself
first aid kit vary widely. What one person or organization lists may
not match anyone else's list. And obviously, since there is a wide
variety of commercially prepared kits for sale, there are varying lists
The most basic kit, in our opinion, ought to be a box of
adhesive bandages (in various sizes) and a tube of antibiotic ointment.
Hopefully, these items will be all you need to handle your everyday
injuries like paper cuts and skinned knuckles.
However, we also have a
list of items you may consider assembling for your own kit.
You may also wish to consider have some natural items (travel emergency and remedies) in your kit.
- Be aware that where you store your first aid kit in
your truck may be important.
- If you put it on the floor,
is it likely
to get stepped on, kicked or dirty?
- If you put it under your
you be able to access it in a hurry (especially if you're injured and
can't raise the bunk with both arms/hands)?
- If you put it in a "warm"
spot, are the contents likely to go bad faster?
- Since 2012, we have personally used 100% pure,
therapeutic grade essential oils for many health needs. There is a
group of 10 "everyday" essential oils that we recommend. A few of them
are our favorites.
Money saving tip:
items may be available for less at dollar stores. However, some generic
(non-name brand) items may not have the quality you want or need.
you need a commercially prepared first aid kit, compare contents and
costs. Remember that although some kits may have a greater number of
components, not all of those components may be needed as often (or at
Evaluate your "need" to buy a kit (or components)
at a truck
stop. Some items available for sale there are unusually at a
much higher price
can buy them at a regular retail store. Remember that items sold at
truck stops are geared for convenience
but not cost savings.
If you have a home support team, encourage your
team member(s) to shop around for you.
reason for having this kind of kit is in the event that you, someone
with you or someone whom you will encounter needs first aid. You may
never be able to predict the type of injury or accident you may
encounter -- or the exact first aid items you will need during such an
encounter -- but you want to be as prepared as
The alternative to not being prepared with basic
medical supplies is not a pleasant one: you will have to improvise,
which may not be in your best interests. So, for your own well being, set
a goal to obtain, make or inspect your in-truck first aid kit
from In-Truck First Aid
Kit: Do-It-Yourself Versus Store-Bought Kits
to our Health and
Wellness page or our
Truck Drivers Money
Saving Tips home page.
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