I've taken the liberty of offering some amateur annotations. Please note that I am not an EMT, and this information has not been vetted for error or completeness. I take no credit for the choice of items, only the italicized annotations.
Annotated Emergency Kit: (kit choices James MacDonald, see
First Aid Kit:
In waist pouch or day pack:
•one flashlight with batteries
These should be straightforward. In the UK and elsewhere, this device is known as a 'torch' or 'electric torch'. I prefer LED-based flashlights for size, durability, and low battery drain. You could certainly argue for a xenon bulb instead, with a longer effective range.
• one pair EMT shears
EMT shears are blunt-pointed offset shears used by EMTs and other emergency responders. (EMT = Emergency Medical Technician) These are useful for cutting clothes off injured people, for removing dressings, and for the other things a big pair of scissors can do. They're also called penny cutter shears, which gives a good impression of their capabilities. Divers also cary them sometimes, as they're better than a knife for getting through nets.
• two pairs nitrile exam gloves
Nitrile is the preferred alternative to latex, since people can have latex allergies, and nitrile has a wider range of chemical resistance than latex. The gloves also tend, if a hole develops, to rip dramatically rather than just leaking - an advantage, since you know that they're not working. These are lightweight, thin, but tough, gloves such as are used by doctors and lab techs everywhere.
• one biohazard waste bag
if you need the stuff in this kit, there's likely to be blood involved. A plastic trash bag, for preference bright red with a biohazard warning, will let you dispose of the mess responsibly. Plus, you now have a tough plastic bag - a thousand and one uses.
• one SAM splint
I had to look these up, but wow, they're cool. Also called a pocket cast. A rolled, metal-supported splint which can be worked into several shapes to support whatever needs splinting, and a compact alternative to a bunch of big wooden sticks or something.
•two triangular bandages
Any edition of the Boy Scout manual will show you things to do with these tidy white bandannas - the Boy Scout neckerchief is the same thing, only red so your mom doesn't panic.
• four 4"x4" gauze pads
Absorbent cotton, basically cheesecloth, for bandaging stuff. The combination of gauze with adhesive tape is much more versatile than self-adhesive bandages.
• two rolls 4" gauze
Pre-packaged rolls of this stuff are available in plastic packs. 4" is the width of the roll. Obviously, you can wrap it around damaged limbs; it can also be used as padding for the SAM splint.
• Ten adhesive bandages (Band-Aid type)
For stuff that just needs a Band-aid.
• One roll 1/2" adhesive tape
There are a bunch of kinds of medical tape out there; you'll have to consider trade-offs. Some kinds of tape are easy to rip when applying, while others are tougher and stay on better. This is the mechanism for getting bandages to stick; it's also good for the kinds of things tape is good for. If you get the heavier kinds, you might think of it as medical-grade duct tape.
• Two 5" x 9" abdominal pads
Big absorbent pads. The back is plastic-coated so fluids don't seep through.
• One pocket face mask (keychain-style CPR mask)
You don't know where that mouth has been. If you need to administer CPR, this increases the safety of doing so.
• One bottle 81 mg chewable aspirin
Some pain relief is possible; it's a field expedient blood thinner for suspected heart attacks. It's a fever reducer. It's chewable, since your patient may not be able to swallow pills easily. If there are other reasons, I don't know them.
• two 6" elastic bandages (Ace bandages)
The kind of bandage used for sprains - stretchy, provides support. I didn't know they came up to 6" width.
• six safety pins
Both pins and fasteners. On the low end, splinter removal. For something more serious, they'll hold slings in place, or Ace bandages, or the broken zipper on your kit...
•six alcohol prep pads
Prepackaged alcohol-soaked gauze pads, for cleaning wounds, sanitizing surfaces, etc.
• six povodine iodine prep pads
Per Jim Macdonald, these are used in combination with the alcohol pads for wound prep. Also, these can be used as a field-expedient water purification device (similar to iodine tablets).
• one pen
It writes messages. It's a short splint.
• one notebook
• inventory list
So you can check off what you have in the bag, and make sure everything gets back into the bag between uses.