The recommendation is that you should carry your own basic first aid kit rather than relying just on a communal kit for the whole group.  This has the advantage that anyone becoming separated from the group will have a first aid kit to hand.  However, there are some items that are appropriate to put into a group first aid kit.  Tonbridge Gold provides a group first aid kit for all groups to borrow when in the hills. 

When individual kits are combined, they will provide sufficient resources to deal with most major emergencies.  You can customise the your personal kit to your own particular needs.  Each kit must include any medicines or treatments which you need for conditions such as asthma or diabetes, together with antihistamines and painkillers, as it is unlikely that these will be available from any other source.  You should know if you have any allergic reactions.  An antihistamine may be important and the only effective remedy for dealing with stings and bites.  If you are allergic to an antibiotic such as penicillin, or any other medicine or drug, you should make this known to the Supervisor, the other members of the group and the Assessor.

The possibility of encountering the HIV and hepatitis B viruses cannot be ignored.  While the probability must not be exaggerated, precautions must always be taken.  Disposable plastic gloves are now vital additions to all first aid kits and every effort must be made to avoid contact with body fluids in general and blood in particular.

Many of the problems which afflict those on expeditions are the same as those experienced on holiday or everyday life.  They may be annoying and very painful, but they are usually of a minor and temporary nature.  The afflictions which are most likely to be encountered on ventures are, in order of frequency:

  • Blisters
  • Minor cuts and abrasions
  • Minor burns and scalds
  • Headaches
  • Midge bites
  • Sunburn
  • Splinters
  • Minor sprains

Your first aid kit should contain remedies for these conditions as well as for the more serious injuries which might occur.  The contents of a first aid kit are not only limited by weight but by the skill and understanding of the user.  The most important items for serious injuries consist of a large, and/or medium, individually wrapped sterile wound dressing, a triangular bandage and a couple of large Melolin squares; the remainder of the items are concerned with making life more comfortable.

First aid kits can be kept in a plastic container similar to those used in kitchens and sold in most supermarkets or inside a waterproof. 

Good quality containers are practically airtight and waterproof, and will assist in keeping the contents dry and sterile.

Items must be individually wrapped or contained in self-sealing plastic bags to avoid contamination.  Tablets sealed in foil are convenient. 

The DofE recommendations for a suitable personal first aid kit are listed below.  It contains some items that are also provided in the Tonbridge Gold group first aid kit, highlighted in red below.  You may wish to consider leaving these out of your personal first aid kit to save weight.

  • A large individually wrapped sterile un-medicated wound dressing.
  • A medium-sized individually wrapped sterile un-medicated wound dressing.
  • An individually wrapped triangular bandage.
  • An assortment of individually wrapped sterile adhesive dressings.
  • Two or three individually wrapped moist cleaning wipes.
  • Melolin squares (or similar) 10 x10 cm or 5 x 5 cm.
  • Crêpe bandage.
  • Assortment of plasters for blisters and cuts.
  • Comfort padding, e.g. chiropody felt, moleskin, sponge.
  • Pain-killing tablets, probably paracetamol or ibuprofen based.
  • Antiseptic cream.
  • Anti-midge cream - diethyltoluamide based or Mosi-guard or Avon Skin So Soft.
  • Sun blocker or high factor sunscreen + lip salve if necessary.
  • Calamine lotion.
  • Zinc oxide plaster or fabric strapping.
  • Large safety pins.
  • Small pair of scissors.
  • A pair of tweezers.
  • A few pairs of disposable plastic gloves.
  • Cling film (to cover burns).

The weight and size of your first aid kit, as with all emergency equipment, should be kept to the minimum otherwise the exercise becomes self-defeating.  The pooling of resources will usually overcome any individual shortage and the ability to improvise with such items as belts and straps is an important aspect of Expedition training.  The weight of the kit should only be 150 grams or so.  

It is a good idea to put together a comprehensive first aid kit like the above as you will then have it available when you go to university or move out of the family home.  They are not just useful on mountains!!

The Tonbridge Gold group first aid kit contains the following.  You may therefore wish to adjust your first personal aid kit accordingly. 

  • Waterproof container
  • 2 pairs of vinyl non sterile gloves
  • Pocket face mask for rescue breathing
  • 6 antiseptic wipes (alcohol free)
  • Cling film and large plastic bag (for protecting burns)
  • 2 large wound dressing
  • 2 large Melolin wound dressing pads (10cm x 10cm)
  • 2 small Melolin wound dressing pads (5cm x 5cm)
  • 5 sterile non-woven fabric swabs
  • 3 Steri-Strips (6mm x 75mm)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • 2 Crepe bandages
  • Slim comfort padding (1 sheet 8cm x 12cm)
  • Microporous surgical tape (5cm x 2.75m)
  • Elastoplast fabric strapping tape (2.5cm x 2.75m)
  • Hypoallergenic zinc oxide tape (2.5cm x 2.75m)
  • Tick remover
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Safety pins
  • Heavy duty duct tape
  • Emergency message form  and pencil (waterproof paper ?)
  • Burn gel

In the event of an emergency where the group need to split up to enable help to be summond,it will be necessary for the group first aid kit  to be divided between the two groups.

Consideration will need to be given to what first aid items need to be left with the group to treat any injuries.