First-Aid Kits

Small Farm and Gardening Safety and Health Series
Agriculture and Natural Resources
S. Dee Jepsen, Associate Professor and State Safety Leader, Agricultural Safety and Health, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Jeffery Suchy, Graduate Student and Lecturer, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Maintaining a well stocked first-aid kit is an important step in preparing for unexpected injuries and emergencies. There are many sizes and types of first-aid kits available. Kits are often designed based on activity involvement, the number of people served and the proximity to professional emergency services. In general, kits become larger and more specialized with increased hazards and further distances from professional medical assistance. Keep and maintain an appropriate kit nearby every worksite. Provide first-aid kits in each major piece of equipment and in the garage or barn. Inspect kits regularly for expired or exhausted supplies, and replenish them as necessary.

First-aid kits can be purchased from drug stores, safety supply companies, the American Red Cross and other retail outlets. Individual items can also be purchased separately and assembled into custom first-aid kits to meet many different requirements.

What to Include in a Fi​rst-Aid Kit

The American Red Cross and Mayo Clinic suggest including the following items in a basic kit.

First-Aid Kit samples
Basic Supplies
• Adhesive medical tape
• Antibiotic ointment
• Antiseptic solution or towelettes
• Bandages, including a roll of elastic wrap (Ace, Coban)
• Bandage strips (Band-Aid, Curad) in assorted sizes
• Instant cold packs
• Cotton balls and cotton-tipped swab
• Disposable latex or synthetic gloves (at least two pairs)
• Duct tape
• Gauze pads and roller gauze in assorted sizes
• First-aid manual
• Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
• Plastic bags for the disposal of contaminated materials
• Safety pins in assorted sizes
• Scissors and tweezers
• Soap or instant hand sanitizer
• Sterile eyewash, such as a saline solution
• Thermometer
• Triangular bandage
• Turkey baster or other bulb suction device for flushing out wounds.
• Activated charcoal (use only if instructed by poison control center)
• Aloe vera gel
• Antidiarrheal medication
• Over-the-counter oral antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
• Aspirin and nonaspirin pain relievers (never give aspirin to children)
• Calamine lotion
• Hydrocortisone cream
• Personal medications that don’t need refrigeration
• Drugs to treat an allergic attack (if prescribed by a doctor), such as an auto-injector of epinephrine (EpiPen, Twinject)
• Syringe, medicine cup or spoon.
Emergency Items
• Phone numbers of local emergency services (emergency road service providers, regional poison control center)
• Small, waterproof flashlight and extra batteries
• Candles and matches
• Sunscreen
• Emergency space blanket.


While providing and maintaining first-aid kits is an important step in preparing for unexpected injuries and emergencies, it is equally important to be trained in proper responses to such incidents. Several agencies offer classes in first aid, CPR and other important topics to assist first responders with proper care and response procedures.


• Anatomy of a First-Aid Kit. American Red Cross, n.d.
• Mayo Clinic Staff. First-Aid Kits: Stock Supplies That Can Save Lives. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2012.

Reviewer: Kent McGuire, CFAES Safety and Health Coordinator, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering