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the ultimate first-aid kit for a shop

Posts: 4008
Location: Montana
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what's in yours?

over at wheaton labs, they didn't like the first-aid kits you could buy, so they made their own. but now it's gone. aka they can't find it. so they need a new one.

so do people have good suggestions for their ultimate first-aid kits for their shops?
Posts: 98
Location: Minnesota
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Since you guys do so much with fire - I would expect lots of burn cream (of some form: aloe or other products) would be quite necessary.
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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- - - - - - Crazy Glue !!! Better than stitches and can even make permanent repairs to broken teeth ! Found in the kits of Ski patrol members every where ! Big AL
Posts: 138
Location: Idaho
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For a shop-specific first aid kit I would have the following:
- bandaids of course, including butterfly bandages and knuckle bandages
- finger splints
- eye patches or eye cup: if someone gets debris in the eye that you can't get out it's important to patch the eye until you get to a doctor to stop eye movement and blinking that may abrade/damage the cornea
- tweezers for removing splinters
- antiseptic wipes
- sterile gauze roll and various size pads: I put my pads in a Ziploc so that I can see what I have and it's waterproof
- tape, various widths
- scissors
- a big triangular wrap to stabilize an arm/shoulder injury
- tube of disinfectant ointment, although I usually do fine with cleaning the wound well and dabbing the cut with lavender oil for it's antiseptic properties

If you're working with any chemicals (batteries, caustic cleaners, etc.) then I strongly recommend eyewash bottles or even a portable eyewash station. You usually don't get second chances with eye damage.
Posts: 4
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band aids, obviously.

"wound wash"

+1 for super glue - preferably a bunch of teeny-tiny tubes. Cloth tape that you can apply to a wound and then saturate with super glue.

neosporin, neosporin, bacitracin, & neosporin.

"eye juice", large and small:
i.e. http://www.amazon.com/Optics-Laboratory-Ocufresh-Wash-Count/dp/B00123G9PO/ and http://www.amazon.com/Optics-Laboratory-Mini-Drops-Therapy/dp/B001F8B08W/

Really good tweezers. Seriously. Do not fuck around with less than the best: IMHO, tweezerman. (http://www.amazon.com/Tweezerman-1300-r-Ingrown-Hair-Splintertweeze/dp/B000FFYMYU/)

Aloe vera gel for burns. Preferrably w/o alcohol, dye, or scent.

Instant ice packs - maybe. Most of them are too sucky to be worthwhile. Don't get cold enough or for very long. But if you don't have a ready source of ice, then definitely. Good for portable kit.

My wife (a former paramedic) really likes butterfly bandages and steri-strips. *shrug* I've gotten more use from cyanoacrylate (superglue)

If you are far from a hospital ... like the labs, say ... consider a surgical sewing kit. And some lidocaine. These are hard to buy, and require courage to use. You may have to buy "veterinary use only" or "training use only", which is better than bleeding to death.

Strong reading glasses - for when the person who will remove the shard of glass/wood/ceramic from your body turns out to be farsighted. Bright flashlight; preferably headlamp.

Posts: 75
Location: Rockwall, TX
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To stop bleeding: cayenne pepper, turmeric, ground black pepper or slippery elm. I keep small container of cayenne in my pocket. Yes it burns but it is also antiseptic as i turmeric and black pepper. I have used cayenne and turmeric and they both burn depending on the cut/scrape. Have not yet tried black pepper or slippery elm as yet. Cayenne and turmeric stop the bleeding almost instantly. You can't even see the scar from the gash in my head. Would have probably gotten 4 or 5 stitches if I had gone to the ER. Of course I only use organic.
Posts: 2007
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Along with all the great suggestions, add an herbal healing balm. Here's my basic: an oil infusion of comfrey root and leaf, thyme, plantain, chickweed, rosemary, calendula petals and chamomile. Probably half comfrey root. Steep the herbs in warmed rice bran oil or olive oil, or grapeseed oil or what ever skin oil you like. Strain it. Add some meadowfoam oil if you have it, it is so stable it keeps other oils from oxidizing. If the oil goes rancid, the herbs will still be active, but it's weird smelling when olive oil has been sitting in a jar for a couple of years. Add some melted beeswax to thicken and pour into small jars while still liquid. Let cool.

apply to abrasions and burns and bites. This stuff has cured/healed rattlesnake bite on horse muzzle, and other astonishing and barely believable miraculous things.

If you use super glue to close a wound, put this on over it to support the forming of new tissue, suppress infection, all that. If you get stitches, put over the top. If you don't want to put it right on the stitched wound itself, you can apply to the tissue adjacent to the stitches, it'll still help.

Posts: 1191
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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There's band-aids for boo boos and there's the stuff for that which will kill you before the ambulance gets there. In our trauma kits (one in each car, one to grab in the house) we have:

1 Israeli bandage
1 large bandage with clotting agent
1 splint
2 roller bandages
1 tourniquet
nitrile gloves

If someone has a serious incident with a power tool involving an artery, we have some hope of stabilizing the situation while the half hour ticks down until the paramedics could get to our place. Everything else is just discomfort. Although I do have a hiker's dental emergency pack because I'm a baby when it comes to toothaches and you know that will happen on a Saturday night of a long weekend.
Posts: 93
Location: Door County, WI
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All in a salvation army satchel:
Colloidial silver- antimicrobial, I keep a plastic bottle with a dropper.
Montmorillonite clay- about half a pound in a sandwich baggie; mixed into mud with cold water and a few drops of colloidial silver, it's good for closing up small wounds, providing relief to insect bites/stings, poison ivy and the like.
Healing salve- for more serious wounds, a basic hemp oil/beeswax infusion of comfrey, calendula, yarrow, arnica, horsetail, etc.- useful for stymieing bleeding or providing instant relief to burns until proper care can be received. Also feels good on hammer-smashed digits.
GAUZE!!!- I'll admit it. I horde gauze. Had to rip up a really awesome Hendrix t-shirt one time to wrap up a bloody leg, and it left an impression. I usually have at least three pads of two sizes of gauze, big and bigger, and I keep six to eight rolls of the stuff handy as well.
Compression tape- two rolls, fancy colors.
Nitrile gloves- three pairs
Oil of Oregano- the only glass in the bag, Good for nausea, general malaise. EDIT: I find the concentrated stuff works best- it's called Oreganol.
Emergen-c packets- I dunno, I needed a place to put em. Good for a hangover.
Big pointy tweezers- close your eyes, it'll only hurt for a second...
Small steel shears- like grandma used for cutting all those quilt squares.
Ibuprofin- The only manufactured medicine I ever use. Generally unnecessary, but vital post car-crash.

Things I should have in there:
Canteen o' water
Activated charcoal
Potassium iodide
Sr. John's wort tincture

Posts: 31
Location: Willamette valley, Oregon.
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Most people haven't thought of this, but for major wounds there is already a common, sanitary, stacked function item that can be very useful when you need to apply pressure to stop bleeding, and that is a few sanitary napkins. As a guy whose DW went another way in dealing with lunar issues, I had to be reminded directly about their useful qualities- some bulk that allows better application of pressure, absorbency allowing each pad to be used for longer period of time, sterility, and availability most everywhere. And of course if there is a need they can be used for their original purpose in a pinch.
Lab Ant
Posts: 16
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A roll of plastic wrap, stored so it will stay clean, it is used to cover burns & keep them clean until you get to medical attention, because it is manufactured with heat, as long as it is not contaminated, it is considered sanitary.
Posts: 3646
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Ann pretty much nailed it--you need what amounts to a battlefield individual first aid kit for the big problems that will kill you before help arrives. Both for the shop and with the lumber crew. Tourniquet, roll or z fold gauze, some quick clot should be in each saw kit or on the buggy.

Look up the response times for your area--big cities are not much faster than middle of nowhere. YOU will be your own first responder for probably a half hour or more regardless of where you live. Most things won't kill you that fast, but a couple will.

Go to the vet supply and buy a box of gauze and wrap. Way cheaper and still sterile. Most people spoil their horses worse than their kids.

Lots of good ideas for the boo-boo kit (stuff that won't kill you but will cause permanent damage if not cared for). Add gorilla tape or really good duct tape--it covers wounds better than med tape if you keep working, pulls the little splinters (like fiberglass) that a tweezer can't, makes splints, and is generally useful stuff. No cheap stuff, though.

I have a home brew mostly natural pocket medic kit. It has the tiny essential oil bottles filled with iodine, silver, helichrysum italicum, and an antibiotic blend. It also has a tweezers, wound ointment, benedryl, a couple band aids and gauze pads, and a small packet of cellox clotting agent. It can deal with bee stings to bullet holes, all in a little change purse.

Posts: 44
Location: McKinney, Tx
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great thread. I just want to throw this one out there, admitting that I haven't done any research on it. But I have heard of people keeping DMSO on hand for many things, but particularly intriguing is for spinal cord injury. Some of the cases I've read about use intravenous injections within an hour post trauma, but one interview I heard, the scientist said he kept it in his car, where he expected the most likely event of such an injury. He suggested that an oral dose would be just as effective. Again, not a scientist, but I keep a bottle of the topical stuff on hand for aches and pains anyway. Here's a link to the interview where it is mentioned.


Posts: 70
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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For cuts that need to be clotted asap, and with limited supplies, potato starch or dried instant mashed potatoes, or ground Cayenne pepper works. I have used the direct application of Cayenne Pepper method, on a razor cut to bone, and it worked perfectly (better than anything else I have ever used for any bleeding injury...ever.) Here's a video about how to make a clotting gauze, like Quick Clot, but I have not tried this method. It also goes over the direct application method. My wound would have needed stitches but the tendon and wound both healed without other medical attention, good care and bandaging was sufficient. And no, it doesn't burn like one would imagine it actually works as a great numbing agent.

Posts: 32847
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I found this email from tony. He sent this during our first few months here:

Hey Paul,
Jocelyn and I were talking about first aid this morning. We came to the conclusion that the best option would be to custom build four first aid kits for the various vehicles and locations. Here is a list with links of all the necessary items for a good kit as deemed by Emily and I (we are both EMT certified). One of each item will do unless otherwise noted. All items listed are available under Amazon Prime or have free shipping with an order of $25 or more as they are "add on items". Let us know if you have questions or concerns.

CPR mask: need 4 (order from WDS inc.) $6.79 EA for $27.19

ace bandage: 1 package of 12 for $9.95

coban wrap: 1 pkg of 30 for $14.22

Athletic tape 4ct for $6.47, need 2 for $12.94

Large Gauze pads 1 box of 25 for $7.10

small gauze pads 1 box of 50 for $5.90

Smallest gauze pads 1 box of 200 for $5.53

Band aid assortment 280 ct. for $14.99

Band aid assortment 30 ct for $3.49 ea, need 2 tot $6.98

Irrigation Syringe 5 ct. for $6.55

Povidone iodine wipe 100ct. for $10.87

Triangle bandage 10 ct. for $5.95

Eye drops 2 ct. for $5.35, need 2 total for $10.70

Red plastic tool box 1ct. for $4.88 (testing for now, if it works will order 3 more later)

Just a couple of my own modifications.

1) Instead of the plastic toolbox, we eventually tried a metal toolbox. So we traded one set of lame plastic problems for a set of lame metal problems. In the end, we got a dozen 50 cal ammo cans.

2) As mentioned earlier, I'm a big fan of super glue with antiseptic stuff in it.

Posts: 27
Location: Colorado Springs, Zone 4b
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My first aid kit tended to be big on the basics like band aids, tape, gauze, etc.

Other things:
Iodine. Some people don't like it but in a pinch I would trust 2-3 drops to purify water, too.
Bleed-x. I used to keep a pack stapled to my work bench in case I cut myself badly. Nowadays I would rather use:
Yarrow powder. It's supposed to be a good hemostat. Plus it helps the wounds heal faster.
Honey. Great stuff for burns and abrasions, both of which I got pretty frequently back when I was a bladesmith.

1+ on the butterfly closures. I've gotten a lot of mileage out of them. Super glue never seemed to last more than a few hours.
"To do good, you actually have to do something." -- Yvon Chouinard
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