During an emergency, instilling order, confidence, and calm is the major assignment of the first aider. Over the years of running a large household I’ve found that keeping medical supplies together in one handy place helps me provide that stability in those early moments of panic. My highly-evolved first aid kit has become extremely refined, but also slightly less portable. I could no longer get all that I needed quickly out to the yard, or in the car, or packed into a backpack.
After some experimentation, I found what works best is a pre-packaged medical kit. They appear to be expensive, but are really not when you tally up the costs of the components — most of which have a pretty long shelf life.
The kits from Adventure Medical Kits are highly praised in search and rescue fields. Expeditions carry larger versions. The case is hardy, lightweight and quick to navigate through. An amazing amount of stuff is squirreled away inside, all easy to reach.
The kit I prefer, the AMK Fundamentals, contains a full spectrum of basic first aids, burn materials, CPR mouth barrier, scissors, tweezers, syringe, plenty variety of bandages, a SAMS splint (which I wish I had earlier when my wife broke her wrist), a decent small emergency medical book (Wilderness and Travel Medicine), and extra containers for personalized pill transport. With this kit you’d be prepared to handle most injuries a non-doctor could manage. It is rated for 1-8 people and is one of the more complete versions available.
AMK offers all manner of kits customized to particular outdoor sports like kayaking or biking. This one is perfect for a family on the go. I’ll pack it along when we go on vacation. (I also carry one of AMK’s ultralight kits in my briefcase bag.)