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. Accidents are more likely to happen whilst travelling on the road. 

Think about carrying 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. If you are going to a conflict or former conflict area, it is imperative that you have training prior to departure.

Even if you are yet to do any training, carry a simple first aid pack with you, as somebody else may be able to use it to save a life. 

A peaceful demonstration you are covering 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.

A 'pills and potions pack' containing pain relief and medication could help you overcome ailments, such as severe headaches and diarrhoea, that could otherwise impact on your ability to get the story

Below are several examples of medical packs, which you can bring with you on assignment. 

INSI recommends a trauma first aid pack (a personal one for you, and a team pack for your team or for your vehicle) and a 'pills and potions' pack to treat day to day ailments. 

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 with you so you can make a sling if necessary)

'Pills and potions' pack

This is very dependent on you and what ails you on a daily basis. This list will give you an idea of what you might want to carry. Ensure that you are not allergic to anything you are carrying.

• 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
• Creams to suit your ailments
• Vitamin tablets
• Personal medication 

Personal trauma kits can be bought from reputable suppliers for approx. £60. Team trauma packs can be bought for approx. £100. 

Images provided by AFP and AID Training.