I carry one of these, it's the same one we have given away numerous times in our monthly contest. I've added a few things to it as well.
That was, until I read editor Mark Hoyer's article in the August issue of Cycle World. He is a volunteer firefighter/EMT, and has obviously seen and treated many people on the road. He has a very good idea for what should be carried in a bike's first aid kit. His list:
- Four size Large non-latex gloves
- Blunt-nose scissors to cut clothing/bandages (get the best you can afford - they need to work)
- Sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 in.)
- Roller bandage (3-inch-wide elastic/4-inch-wide stretchy gauze
- Antiseptic wipe packets/neosporin
- Adhesive cloth or plastic tape
- Adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
- Surgical/compress dressing (big, absorbent, cuttable)
- Tongue depressors (finger splints!)
- CPR barrier (look for an Ambu Res-Cue Key CPR Mask)
He mentions that "the last item may sound somewhat extreme, but if you are out there and face trying to control a serious bleeding situation for which other methods have failed, a tourniquet may be the one thing that saves a life."
He also mentions one other critical item: "Get training so you understand how and when serious interventions may be necessary." I think this one is the most important of all. You can improvise with a lot of things (sleeve of a sweater can make a tourniquet or pressure bandage, etc.) but if you don't know what to do in the first place, you might as well not have any of this stuff.
I would add one other critical item: water. I always carry at least a liter of water with me, more if it's hot and I'm going to be thirsty. You can cleanse wounds, fend off dehydration, and more.
So...let's have it. Do you carry a first aid kit? If so, what's in it?