Group supplies

Some points to consider when assembling a group first-aid kit for your trip include:

  • Medication should be kept to an absolute minimum. Only products available over the counter should be included in a general group kit. Prescribed drugs are the domain of a doctor and should only be used by the person for whom they have been prescribed.
  • Be sure to check ‘use by’ dates, and replace out of date items before trips.
  • Not all pain-relieving tablets are safe for everyone. It is advisable to limit your stock to paracetamol and combinations of paracetamol and codeine. Soluble paracetamol is easier to take. Before offering any medication, always check with the casualty whether the substance is safe for him/her to take (i.e. no history of previous sensitivity or other side effects).
  • Some medications may require low-temperature storage conditions, which are impossible on a bushwalk. In some cases it is possible to obtain a comparable product with a formulation that is less sensitive to temperature. Discuss this matter with your doctor or pharmacist.

The group first-aid kit (Table 35.1) should be carried in one waterproof container by one person (preferably the group’s first aider or leader) in an accessible part of their pack. Others should know its location. This kit is an example only, and more appropriate kits should be prepared for the expected needs of a group on any particular trip. Some organisations, such as schools or youth groups, may have specific requirements for first-aid kits which should be observed.