4 September 2018 First aid kits and first aid training in today’s urban world

If I were to ask how many of you readers carry a first aid kit most of the time wherever you go, I would bet most readers would not be carrying a first aid kit, some might even not know what a first aid kit is! In today’s urban world, we have the emergency services, drug stores and pharmacies, all of which are easily available. Why would anyone need to carry a first aid kit on their person?

Before I continue, let me show you my individual first aid kit or IFAK that I have with me.

Why do I carry an IFAK with me given that emergency services are readily available and medical supplies stores are everywhere? Isn’t the IFAK applicable only for the outdoors or when we are travelling? Well, the answer to that is no. Singapore is blessed that we do not have any major incidents involving terrorism or firearms so far. A lot of work involving our military and Home Team agencies is being done behind the scenes to maintain that. But just because major incidents have not taken place does not mean that these incidents will not happen. Collectively, we all need to be prepared for the aftermath of an incident and not just be dependent on the emergency services. Any first aid rendered during the initial aftermath has a lot of impact on the survivability of the injured or the recoverability of the injuries. Having an IFAK is part of being prepared. Being prepared is part of the objective of the SG Secure programme. What we can do with an IFAK is to help ourselves or others when we or someone else gets hurt. It could be a traffic accident and an IFAK might just help to save the injured person’s limb or life. An IFAK can contain simple medication like aspirins or flu tablets to deal with the everyday situation as well. Now that we have gone over the increasing importance of having a first aid kit everywhere we go, let’s look at the first aid kit itself and first aid training.

First Aid Kit contents
Now that I know the importance of a first aid kit, how do I go about assembling a first aid kit? Well, for a start, you can look at your own daily routine and think about the possible situations that might happen and prepare for that. If you are prone to getting cuts or grazes, you will probably want to have some band aids, antiseptic lotion/creams, and some wound cleaning supplies handy along with a pair of sterile gloves. If you are the sort to come down with fever, headaches or flu, you might want to consider packing some simple medication to address these concerns. There are many types of first aid pouches and bags out in the market, it is not necessary to get these but these will help in getting the items organised in an easily assessable manner. Also, a word of advice, pack items that you know how to use or intend to get trained it. An individual first aid kit is that, individual, it will vary from person to person and you will need to adapt it to fit your needs.

First Aid training
This is probably one of the key aspects of being prepared. Getting first aid training is the first step to being prepared and it is paramount to be trained. In the Singapore context, there are many institutions to choose from, and the best part of it is that the course fees can be 100% claimed using Skillsfuture credits! We can never have too many trained first aiders, so please get yourselves trained and if you are a Singaporean, it can be done free!

Wrapping things up
First aid kits and first aid training always has their place in our world, be it urban or rural. Being a first aider also allows us to contribute back to our community when incidents or accidents happen. Emergency services can be on scene in a matter of minutes, but if we are there and we can render first aid in that few minutes, we can make a difference to the lives of the injured! Take the initiative to get trained and bring a first aid kit along today.

Ethan Foo, Manager
Defence Systems