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Basic First Aid Tips

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

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (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 pairs of non-latex gloves (size: 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 (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke can be life threatening. Symptoms can include a body temperature of 105°F or higher; dry, hot, flushed skin; rapid pulse; unconsciousness; and lack of perspiration.

  • Get the victim out of the heat and into a cooler place.
  • Place the victim in the shock position, lying on the back with feet up.
  • Remove or loosen the victim’s clothing.
  • Cool the victim by fanning and applying cloth-wrapped cold packs or wet towels.
  • Treat for shock.


Shock can be life threatening. Symptoms include cold sweat, weakness, irregular breathing, chills, pale or bluish lips and fingernails, rapid weak pulse and nausea.

  • Call 9-1-1 or seek medical help immediately.
  • Do not give the victim anything to eat or drink.
  • Lay the victim on his/her back, but do not move him/her if there’s a back or neck injury. If the victim is unconscious, vomiting or has severe injury to the lower face or jaw, lay him/her on his/her side and be sure the victim is getting adequate air.
  • Keep the victim warm (not hot) by use of blankets or clothes.
  • Raise the victim’s feet and legs with a pillow. (Only do this if it does not cause the victim any pain.)

Bleeding and Wounds

  • Place a clean cloth or gauze and gloved hand over the wound; apply firm, steady pressure for at least 5 minutes.
  • Call 9-1-1 or other emergency personnel if bleeding is severe.
  • Elevate an injured arm or leg above the level of the victim’s heart if practical.
  • When bleeding stops, secure the cloth with a bandage. Do Not lift the cloth from the wound to check if the bleeding has stopped. Be sure the bandage isn’t too tight cutting off circulation.
  • Check the victim for shock.
  • Never use a tourniquet unless you cannot control the bleeding. Tourniquets may result in subsequent medical amputation.

Heat or Electrical Burns

  • If necessary, use water to stop actual burning of skin.
  • If the skin is not broken, immerse the burned area in cool (not ice) water, or gently apply a cool compress until pain is relieved. Bandage with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Do not break a blister if one forms. Do not apply ointments or creams.
  • If skin is broken, or if burns are severe:
    • Call 9-1-1 or other emergency personnel.
    • Do not clean the wound or remove embedded clothing.
    • Cover the burn loosely with a clean, dry cloth.
    • Expect shock and treat accordingly.

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Upper Pine River Fire Protection District | | 970-884-9508 |