5 Items That Should Be In A First Aid Kit – Whether you own a full-time production studio, shoot only on location, or do a little landscape or bird photography for fun on the weekends, you should own at least one of these first aid kits. There should probably be 2 or 3 of them. Everyone has some sort of box or drawer full of first aid supplies at home or in the office. Your vehicle may also have a roadside kit. However, most people don’t think about first aid until something happens and then they probably look for something thinking, “I should have a first aid kit or station for when it happens.” .
Full disclosure: This is not legal or medical advice and you should do your own research on what laws or regulations are required in your location. My hope is that this article will get you thinking about how to be prepared when accidents happen and provide some resources or products that can help you in this regard.
5 Items That Should Be In A First Aid Kit
In an earlier article, “50 Non-Photography Items You’ll Want to Keep in Your Camera Bag,” I listed several first aid items I carry in my camera bag, including several small 5 portable first aid kits. Kits are also included. I’m a big believer in having at least a small first aid kit in all my camera bags. If weight and space are an issue, there are many small compact kits available on the market. You can even make your own to fit in a small pocket of your bag so it takes up even less space.
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Taking it a step further, if you’re a photographer who might find yourself in potentially dangerous environments, I think carrying a basic trauma kit should be high on your priority list. Stop the Blade is a national campaign to educate, train and equip more people to prevent the leading cause of trauma-related deaths. Bleeding out before help arrives accounts for 40% of trauma-related deaths worldwide and is something that could be prevented if just one person on the scene had this basic training.
Generally, photojournalists who cover topics like war, gang violence, etc., carry a trauma kit but these days even photographing your local peaceful protest can quickly turn into a more dangerous situation. Trauma-related events are not limited to shootings and can also occur from car accidents, biking, skiing, or climbing falls. They can also get out from hiking or wildlife. So there are many types of photography where you may find yourself alone or away from emergency help where being able to stop a wound from bleeding can save someone’s life.
Adventure Medical Kits makes a great little complete kit “Trauma Pak Pro” perfect for photographers to keep in their bag at all times. It comes with a Quickclot, gauze, tourniquet, and a few other small items, all in a Velcro bag. You should always receive proper training on how to use these items first. There are many good videos online, but Stop the Blade offers courses all over the US. It’s usually an hour long class and it’s free which makes it very convenient for something that could someday save a life.
As a small business owner with a physical studio location, you have various legal requirements that you may need to follow. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) in the United States lists the standards that any size of business must have in first aid kits as well as any medically trained personnel. Of course, state and federal laws may vary depending on your location or country so be sure to do your own research. OSHA fines in the USA can be very high and this is a serious matter that some photography studios have found out the hard way. Even if your studio doesn’t need to meet some or all of these standards, I think it’s enough to have the first advertising kit on the premises and a plan or some training for when something happens. It’s easy. Most US states also have free programs that will provide kits and safety training for small businesses.
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The company RapidCare has several different types of kits that meet both OSHA and ANSI standards that can be wall-mounted for easy access and visibility, at an affordable price.
If you want something more portable or that doubles as a kit for on-location photo shoots, Adventure Medical Kits makes several kits in its Sportsman line for 4, 6, or up to 10 people. These are well organized by injury type with a clear map of all items on the back of the easily identifiable soft bag.
If you want to make your own kit, OSHA has a list of minimum items you should include to get started.
For many working photographers, a car is their office and every job is a new location. This makes a good first aid car kit all the more important. Again I am of the opinion that every vehicle should have some sort of first aid kit and I even carry a kit specially designed for my motorcycle. Additionally, when working on location, the photographer is often the linchpin between clients, assistants, models, and stylists on set. When a problem arises, the photographer is usually the first person everyone comes to. Being prepared and having a quick safety conversation at the start of a shoot can go a long way.
First Aid Kits: How To Make A Well Stocked Kit For Safety
Whether I’m using my own car or renting a car for frequent work, I always pack a road-ready emergency kit. There are many options and brands available but here are a few suggestions that I like.
MyMedic makes very high quality kits although they are often on the pricier side. However, their Automedic Road Kit comes with several great items not often found in cheaper kits.
As mentioned earlier, the Adventure Medical Kits sports main line also makes a great in-car or on-location kit but doesn’t come with special roadside safety equipment.
Anyone who travels regularly or for work already has a bunch of medical supplies based on their personal travel needs. Combining this with a small travel kit will give you a great basic setup for almost all of your needs and prevent many potential trips to the pharmacy or doctor during your travels. Of course, if you’re like me and your travels take you away from convenient medical care, I recommend a slightly more robust travel kit that you carry with the necessary travel medications and documents for that specific location and needs. Can be customized. If you want more information on what a more comprehensive expat travel kit looks like you can check out this article here.
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I built my own custom travel kit using this Trauma Molle kit as a starting point and a perfect backpack. Soft bags make it easy to pack and take out different items as needed for each trip. I can also easily clip it to other bags like my camera bag when out all day in remote locations.
Landscape, wildlife, and bird photography are bigger genres than ever as more people find their way into photography through a love of nature. While I think this is a great thing, it leaves many people unprepared for accidents in potentially dangerous places. It seems like every day you hear about more people getting lost or injured while enjoying the woods. Even the seemingly innocuous landscape photographer often finds himself exploring remote locations alone to capture better and less-seen locations.
While a short walk from your vehicle may not seem dangerous, it can easily result in snake bites, sprained ankles, overexposure, or any number of trauma-based injuries. When alone or with a small group, these can quickly turn into a major survival problem. Many people have died of forest wounds in the eyes of civilization due to not getting help in time.
This is even more true of any adventure type photography work. With athletes or models performing in remote locations that are often too time-consuming to travel to on foot. Any adventure crew that doesn’t have a full jungle first aid kit is just asking for trouble. I have had to secure an accident scene in the woods many times waiting for either a rescue helicopter or an emergency rescue team. Time is everything in these situations and having the right equipment and knowledge is the only way to keep someone safe until help arrives.
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As mentioned above this is another area where it is important to stop bleeding. If it only takes 15 minutes for medical help to arrive, the average trauma victim will have bled out before they reach you. There should always be at least one person in every group who has a basic trauma kit and knows how to use it when you’re out in the remote forest.
Adventure medical kits make several again.