BY INSI

What to put in your medical pack

Medical packs are an essential piece of kit for journalists. Emergencies can happen when you least expect them – not just in hostile or challenging environments.

Carry a medical pack and make sure you know how to use it. Ideally, you will have up-to-date first aid training before going on any assignment.

Even if you haven't yet done any training, carry a simple first aid pack with you, as somebody else may be able to use it. A peaceful demonstration could turn violent and end in a stabbing or shooting. A simple car journey could end in a crash. Your trauma pack could help save a life.

Below are examples of medical packs to bring on an assignment. Personal trauma kits can be bought from reputable suppliers for approximately £60. Team trauma packs can be bought for approximately £100.

Individual trauma pack

  • Tourniquet
  • 6” emergency trauma dressing
  • Celox bandage
  • Gloves
  • Tuff Cut paramedic shears
  • Vent aid (allows you to give CPR without having to touch a person’s mouth)
  • Foil blanket
  • Assorted plasters
  • Leukostrip/steristrips for cut skin

Small team trauma pack

  • Tourniquet
  • 6” emergency trauma dressing
  • Two pairs of gloves
  • Tuff cut paramedic shears
  • Vent aid
  • Foil blanket
  • Assorted plasters
  • Leukostrip
  • Celox
  • Watergel burn dressing
  • SAM splint
  • Micropore tape
  • Asherman chest seal (to deal with a punctured lung)
  • Two crepe bandages

Other items can be added to medical packs, for instance: 

  • Sterile first aid eye pads
  • Sterile saline pods
  • Sterile triangular bandage (carry some safety pins so you can make a sling if necessary)

'Pills and potions' pack

This is very dependent on you and your daily medical needs. This list will give you an idea of what you might want to carry. 

  • Sterile dressings
  • Adhesive tape and plasters
  • Antiseptic wound cleaner
  • Scissors and safety pins
  • Plasters
  • Bandages (triangular, padded)
  • Water purification tablets
  • Oral rehydration salts
  • Eye rinse solution/eye drops/ear drops
  • Headache tablets and anti-inflammatory tablets
  • Antiseptic cream and antihistamines
  • Thermometer (no mercury)
  • Clean needle pack (sterile needles, syringes)
  • Dental repair kit
  • Anti-fungal powder
  • Imodium (for diarrhoea)
  • Alcohol hand wipes
  • Blister treatment kit
  • Contact gloves
  • Personal medication

Image by AFP