Emergencies happen. The question is, are you prepared to take care of those minor – or life-threatening – emergencies until help arrives?

Rapides Regional Medical Center’s Trauma Services Team sees victims of ATV accidents, bicycle and boating accidents, injuries from natural disasters, drownings, choking, heart attacks, strokes, sports injuries and even injuries sustained while hunting and fishing on a daily basis.

“We all know that when an emergency occurs, we will call for help,” said Donna Lemoine, RN, BSN, Rapides Regional Medical Center’s director of trauma services. “But the question is, do we have what we need to take care of that child, family member or neighbor until help arrives?”

Emergencies, by their very definition, are unpredictable.
“Since looking at the trauma statistics here at Rapides Regional in preparation for becoming a Trauma Center, I found that there is no correlation in the time of day, day of the week, or age of the victim,” Lemoine said. “And while we are prepared to take care of any emergency at any time, we also think it’s important to teach prevention and preparedness in the case that you are faced with a traumatic injury or medical emergency.”

So, step one – make a kit.
An emergency first aid kit can be store-bought or homemade. “Know what’s in your kit and make sure everyone in your household knows where it’s kept,” Lemoine said. “If you take something out of it, make sure you replace it.”

The American Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits for a family of four include the following:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5x9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packs (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of non-latex gloves (large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4x4)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet.

In addition to your first aid kit, the experts also recommend these additional items be included for a “Hurricane Safety Kit:”

  • Essential medications
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Canned food and can opener
  • Bottled water
  • Protective clothing, rainwear and blankets
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.

In the case of an emergency, call 9-1-1. But until help arrives, there is some peace of mind in knowing you have the necessary tools to help care for your loved one until medical personnel arrive.

For a free, 11x17 poster of general first aid guidelines, please contact Rapides Regional Medical Center’s Community Education at (318) 769-3106.