Why have a First Aid kit on the farm and what to have in it.

Why have a First Aid kit on the farm and what to have in it.

I have a confession to make. Whenever I see First Aid Kits in Workwear stores or outdoor stores, I usually roll my eyes and grind my teeth. It’s not that I don’t believe in them, actually quite the opposite. Most kits I see are borderline useless for anything other than the bare minimum minor injury.

And I get why they are sold; easy, quick and meet a minimum standard. Sort of ‘Get out of Gaol free’ card. But in my experience in attending farming accidents on the ambulance, we need to be a bit better prepared than the minimum standard.

The major injury and fatality stats around farming in Australia aren’t pretty. In fact, they are alarming. And not representative. There are other industries that are comparable in location, machinery usage, working hours etc. that don’t have anywhere near the injuries/fatalities that Agriculture does in Australia. So, to use the old “it’s just part of the job” when someone gets injured doesn’t really stack up. But it does happen, so we need to be prepared with good training to respond and good gear to use to help our injured family member or coworker.

A small First Aid kit will have all the bits n pieces needed for small injuries. But we need to consider that there are major injury potentials that the small kits just can’t handle.

And I can tell you from experience, there is little more that is as challenging and affect you for as long a time as feeling helpless in an incident because you don’t have the tools you need to help someone.

Whilst the First Aid Code of Practice does not specifically define the size and contents of first aid kits for remote areas, it does suggest that as a minimum all kits contain:

So, let’s look at a couple of things that I would see as non-negotiables in a First Aid kit and some that might be a good back up to the front-line kits.

  • Emergency Services’ phone numbers and addresses
  • Basic First Aid Notes or book
  • Resuscitation Mask
  • Individually wrapped sterile adhesive dressings (band-aids)
  • Antiseptic
  • Sterile eye pads
  • Sterile covering for serious wounds
  • Combine dressings x 3
  • Wound dressings x 2         
  • Triangular bandages x 3
  • Small sterile non adherent wound dressings
  • Medium sterile non adherent wound dressings
  • Large sterile non adherent wound dressing
  • Adhesive tape 1.25cm wide
  • Compression bandages x 2
  • Scissors
  • PPE (disposable gloves)
  • Thermal blanket
  • Burn dressings/sheets
  • Additional bandages to manage bites/stings: Consider Snake Bite kit
  • Instant ice packs
  • Plastic bags
  • A roll of cling wrap
  • Whistle and torch

You should also consider including tourniquets and haemostatic dressings for life threatening bleeding.

Over the years of working with our customers we have identified the advantages of having a ‘back up kit’ that lives in the office. We refer to it as the ‘Grab n Go kit’. The kit you mobilise when it’s a more major incident. It carries the items you will need in the event of snake bite, pelvic fracture, spinal or head injury, etc. I consider these kits to be like insurance: You hope you never need it, but to be able to call on it if that day comes may save someone. Or at the minimum, reduce the severity of the incident.

GRAB N GO KIT CONTENTS (recommended)

  • Triangular Bandages x 5
  • Medium Combine Dressing x 3
  • Large Combine Dressing x 3
  • Extra-large Combine Dressing x 3
  • Snake Bite kit x 2
  • Formable Splint x 4
  • Pelvic Binder
  • Scoop Stretcher
  • Trauma Shears x 2
  • LED Head Torch
  • 10ml Saline x 10
  • 30ml Saline x 10
  • Haemostatic Dressing x 5 (10cm x 10cm)
  • Tourniquet x 2
  • Cling Wrap
  • BP machine
  • Pulse Oximeter
  • Evacuation sheet
  • Head rolls x 2
  • Patient Care Record Duplicate book A4
  • Small Patient Care Record Note Pads x 2

Those of you who have done our course will have seen first hand the need for the right gear at the right time. To those that haven’t done our course, we look forward to seeing you in the near future!!

If you would like more information about this topic or any others, purchase any First Aid stock or equipment, or to book a Remote Area First Aid course, please contact us on 0491 057 339 or email info@ruralandremotefirstaid.com.au

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By Scott Brown

Author bio:

For over 22 years Scott Brown has been training Remote Area First Aid across Australia. Having first joined Rural Ambulance Victoria in 2001 and working in the high-country in Victoria, he began teaching First Aid for Rural Ambulance Victoria. 22 years on, he works with some of Australia’s largest pastoral corporations and property managers that combined manage over 200,000 square kms of the Australian landscape.

Known for conveying detailed First Aid information in a relatable and relaxed way, Scott’s courses have become popular with Pastoral Property Managers, overseers and ringers alike. The highly practical course content ensures relevance to actual situations that are possible to encounter on a working property.

Scott continues to work with Ambulance Victoria alongside his First Aid training. 

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