Give your first-aid kit a check-up

This is the time of year many of us begin to give our Jeeps a once-over, making sure all our off-road equipment survived the harsh elements of winter and are ready to tackle the rocks, mud, sand and water of our favorite trails.

But, one thing that’s often overlooked during this annual ritual just might be the most important: your first-aid kit.

Most off-road enthusiasts I know make sure at least one person on any trail run is carrying a basic supply of bandages, antiseptic wipes and a cold compress or two. But how often do you pull out your kit to examine its contents? Many of the pain relievers, analgesic creams or other chemical elements commonly found in these kits have expiration dates. Additionally, exposure to prolonged heat can deteriorate latex gloves or bandages, rendering them useless in an emergency. For this reason, it’s important to inspect your first-aid kit at least annually to ensure everything is present and in proper condition if and when you need it.

So, let me encourage you to pull the emergency kit out of your rig, blow off the dust and carefully look over its contents. The life you save might one day be your own.

If you don’t currently carry a first-aid kit in your vehicle, I strongly recommend putting one together or purchasing one of the many affordable kits out there. Here’s a sample list of appropriate contents, based on my own kit:

  • Iodine applicators (7)
  • Antiseptic wipes (6)
  • Sting-relief wipes (3)
  • Abdominal pad (1)
  • Non-stick bandage pads (2)
  • Small gauze pads (4)
  • Large gauze pads (2)
  • Vinyl gloves (2 pair)
  • Tongue depressors (2)
  • Cotton-tipped applicators (8)
  • Cotton balls (10)
  • Knuckle bandages (2)
  • Fingertip bandages (2)
  • Medical tape
  • Adhesive bandages, large (50)
  • Adhesive bandages, small (10)
  • Island dressings, small (2)
  • Gauze roll (1)
  • Triangular bandage (1)
  • Cold compress (2)
  • Tweezers
  • First-aid scissors
  • Cleansing wipes (6)
  • Emergency scalpel
  • Tourniquet (short-term use only)
  • Generic ibuprofen, 200 mg tablets (50)
  • Generic antihistamine, 25 mg tablets (12)
  • Impermeable biohazard storage bags (2)
  • First-aid instruction booklet
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