First Aid Kits for Production Agriculture

Accidents on farms and ranches can be quite severe, and space in a first aid kit is limited, so it is important to choose items for kits wisely. ( AgWeb )

Complied by Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice

Most farms and ranches require multiple first aid kits due to the many types of jobs and the dispersed areas of work in a production agriculture operation. Not only is it important to have appropriate first aid kits on your farm or ranch, it is important that you and others in your operation understand basic first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

 

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First Aid Kit. Source: Penn State University

Accidents on farms and ranches can be quite severe, and space in a first aid kit is limited, so it is important to choose items for kits wisely. Follow these guidelines when assembling a first aid kit:

Include pertinent personal information in first aid kits for individuals who have specific medical conditions. For example, indicate that a certain person has an allergic reaction to bee stings.

Include the contact information for the family doctor of each person working in the vicinity of the kit.

Remember that agricultural incidents may occur at night or in winter, so include items such as flares, flashlights, emergency blankets, and waterproof matches.

In an emergency situation, it is common for people to forget what they have learned in first aid classes, so include a first aid manual in each kit.

For the kits, use containers that are dust-free and water-resistant. Label the kits clearly.

Check first aid kits annually for expired products such as ice packs, heat packs, ointments, saline solution, and so on, and change the flashlight batteries. When you use any items in a first aid kit, replace the items immediately.

Larger first aid kits should be located at main farm or ranch buildings or in the home. Smaller first aid kits should be kept on major pieces of farm equipment and in vehicles.

The following items should be included in a large first aid kit:

  • Sterile first aid dressings in sealed envelopes, in the following sizes:
    • 2 in. by 2 in. for small wounds
    • 4 in. by 4 in. for larger wounds and for compresses to stop bleeding
  • Two trauma dressings for covering large areas
  • Small, sterile adhesive compresses in sealed envelopes
  • Roller bandages and 1 in., 2 in., and 6 in. cling bandages
  • Rolls of adhesive tape in assorted widths (to hold dressings in place)
  • Triangle bandages to use as slings or as coverings over large dressings
  • Antiseptic wash
  • Tongue depressors
  • Bandage scissors and heavy-duty scissors to cut clothing
  • Tweezers to remove insect stingers or small splinters
  • Splints that are 1/4 in. thick by 3 in. wide by 12 to 15 in. long for splinting broken arms and legs
  • Sterile saline solution
    • 8 fl. oz. for small kits
    • 2 qt. for large kits
  • Safety pins
  • Ice packs (chemical ice bags) to reduce swelling
  • A pocket mask for resuscitation
  • Three small packages of sugar for individuals with diabetes
  • Disposable rubber gloves and eye goggles
  • An emergency blanket

Note that dressings must be sterile—do not make your own dressings.

Farm first aid kits can be purchased through certain businesses and organizations. Click the links below to view kits and ordering information:

Specialty Kits

Injuries vary from job to job in production agriculture, so first aid kits should be tailored to the potential injury that could result from a particular job. Listed below are specialty kits and recommended items, in addition to the basic items outlined above, for inclusion in each kit.

Specialty First Aid Kits

Type of Specialty Kit

Types of Injury

Kit Items

Tractor/Combine

Small wounds, minor or major bleeding, fractures, sprains, or severed limbs, amputation, or entanglement

Basic first aid manual

Two triangular bandages (36 in.)

Antiseptic spray

Six large adhesive bandages

Four safety pins

Sterile compress bandages (four 2 in. by 2 in. bandages and four 4 in. by 4 in. bandages)

Roll of 2 in. wide tape

Two pressure bandages (8 in. by 10 in.)

Scissors

Two rolls of elastic wrap

Five clean plastic bags (varied sizes from bread bags to garbage bags)

Amputation

Amputation of a finger or limb

Plastic bags of varying sizes (one large garbage bag, four medium kitchen garbage bags, and eight small plastic bread bags)

Closable container to store bags

Dressing Supplies

Major trauma

Sterile compresses (2 in. by 2 in. and 4 in. by 4 in.)

Gauze roller bandages (1 in., 2 in., and 6 in. wide)

Adhesive tape

Triangular bandage

Tongue depressors

Heavy-duty scissors

Chemical ice packs

Disposable rubber gloves

Goggles

Tweezers and safety pins

Emergency blanket

Antiseptic spray

Fracture (for immobilization of an injured limb)

Broken bone

Wooden or plastic splints

Roll of elastic wrap

Tongue depressors

Pesticide Exposure (for use during pesticide application season or to keep in pesticide storage area)

Ingestion of or contact with pesticide

Emergency and poison control center contact information

Two 1 qt. containers of clean water

Ipecac syrup

Emergency blanket

Plastic bags

Tape

Disposable rubber gloves

Goggles

Action Steps

Take the following steps to prepare for potential emergencies or accidents on your farm or ranch:

Get training in first aid and CPR. Contact the American Red Cross, National Safety Council, or local emergency medical service or hospital to locate trainings in your area.

Make specialized first aid kits for various areas of the farm or ranch. Follow the instructions above to assemble the kits and remember to restock the kit after use and to replace expired items annually.

For more information about preparing your farm or ranch personnel for an agricultural incident, click here to access the article "Basic First Aid" and here to access "Basic CPR."


 

Sources

First aid kits for production agriculture. (2013). Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://www.extension.org/pages/66377/first-aid-kits-for-production-agriculture.

Murphy, D., Pollock, J., Smith, G., Bean, T., & Sailus, M. (1989) First on the scene. National Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service (NRAES). Retrieved from http://host31.spidergraphics.com/nra/doc/Fair%20Use%20Web%20PDFs/NRAES-12_Web.pdf.

Schwab, C. & Sheridan, C. (2008) Farm emergency and first aid kits. Iowa State University Extension. Retrieved from https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1044&context=exte....

Schwab, C. & Miller, L. (2008) How to respond to farm injuries. Iowa State University Extension. Retrieved from https://store.extension.iastate.edu/product/How-to-respond-to-farm-injur....

 

Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu

Gary Erisman, Retired Safety Faculty - Illinois State University and active farmer (Has since retired)

Davis Hill, Pennsylvania State University – (has since retired)

Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University - (has since retired)

Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu

 

 
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