If you have a pool, you need the first aid supplies that help you handle accidental injuries and emergencies. Having a lifeguard first aid kit on hand gives you a single place you can store these emergency essentials, so that, if they’re needed, they can be retrieved quickly and efficiently. When these dramatic situations strike, seconds can matter, so making sure you have a kit, know how to use it, and can get to it fast are vital.
Buy Or Build
While there are plenty of kits on the market packed with a wide array of first aid supplies, when you build your own, you can tailor it to your specific needs. This means you’ll be able to add more of supplies you’re more likely to use, such as antiseptic, without having to pay for items you aren’t going to need, like foil emergency blankets. When you take the time to build your own pool-side first aid kit properly, you save money while creating a more effective emergency tool.
We’re going to build this kit largely around the guidelines established by the American Red Cross for the first aid supplies needed in a general first aid kit. They’re the experts in first aid and emergency management. It would also be a great idea to look for CPR and first aid classes at your local chapter. These classes give you the instructions and hands on practice you need to know what to do in the case of an emergency, from cuts to bumped heads and even sudden cardiac arrest or drownings.
- The Case – You’ll need a place to store your handy first aid supplies while making them easy to grab when needed. While general kits can be soft-sided or hard-sided, for lifeguard first aid kits, you’ll want to look for a waterproof hard case. One of the easiest ways to find a good selection is to visit your local sporting goods store and check out their tackle boxes.
A large tackle box gives you easy access to supplies, often laid out in hand trays that keep your first aid supplies organized. Look for one that’s waterproof, so you know it can stand up to the sun, rain, water, and sand it may be exposed to. There are also floating tackle boxes, so a slip near the water doesn’t end up waterlogging your entire kit or dropping it to the bottom of your pool.
- Location – Decide where your first aid kit will be located. It needs to be close to the pool area in a place where it’s out of the way but easily retrieved. Right inside a door leading to the pool is a great option. If your only available space is outside, you’ll need a place in the shade and you’ll want to examine or replace any first aid supplies that expire yearly, just to ensure the temperature fluctuations don’t leave you with products that are no longer effective.
- PPE – Personal protective equipment is something you may not think about when a kid gets a boo-boo, but this is as much for your protection as theirs. Non-latex medical gloves should be included at a minimum in your kit. You can also include face masks in case there’s ever a need to protect you or the person you’re working on from dust or airborne particulate as well. Make sure you also have a CPR breathing barrier, designed to help you resuscitate someone without the risk of getting a mouthful of aspirated pool water in the process. These first aid supplies help keep any infection from transferring between the injured and their rescuers.
- Bandages – You’ll need a variety of these. Of course you’ll need a variety of adhesive bandages in a range of sizes for the small cuts, nicks, and scrapes that happen from time to time, but you’ll also want to ensure you get some gauze rolls, gauze pads, and bandages meant for wound dressing too. Look for absorbent compresses that can help stop blood loss from major cuts, which may be labeled as hemostatic. Round out your bandages with some triangular bandages, splints, and elastic bandages in case you need to stabilize a joint or limb. Don’t forget to add a couple rolls of cloth medical tape to your first aid supplies in order to secure dressings when needed.
- Antiseptic – Infection control is important with any injury. You’ll want to make sure you have several different types on hand. A triple antibiotic ointment works great with bandages to help prevent infection. Spray antiseptic can be a better choice, however, for small scrapes or wounds, especially in hard to bandage areas.
- Tools – There are some items you’ll want to keep in your kit because it helps you better treat injuries. These can include scissors and a sharp knife for cutting bandages, tape, or clothing, a flashlight or two for low-light situations, a magnifying glass and tweezers for splinters, bee stings, and glass shards, and thermometers to check body temperature. You should also consider instant cold and hot packs, a stethoscope, and tongue depressors for small splinting jobs.
- Pain Relief – First aid supplies don’t have to only be for emergencies. Aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen for appropriate age groups are all good to have on hand. Spray on anesthetic can help take the sting out of a cut before it’s dressed. In a pool-side environment, sunscreen to prevent pain and aloe vera to treat the effects of forgetting sunscreen are also great additions to your lifeguard first aid kit.
- Examine YOur Safety Equipment – Okay, this isn’t for your kit, but while you’re putting together your first aid supplies, double check that you have the pool safety equipment you need on hand. A grab pole or flotation device could mean the difference between life and death.
Make Your Pool Safer
With preparation and planning, you can make sure you have the first aid supplies you need and that you’re ready to provide safe summer fun in your backyard pool. If you need to talk to one of our experts about adding a safety pool cover or fence to prevent accidental drownings, fill out the contact form on our website, and we’ll be in touch. Protect your family, friends, and pets with AquaSafe Unlimited today.