The following items are offered as an example of a list of first aid supplies which can be modified according to your needs and experience. This is a section taken from ‘Divemaster’s Quick Accident Response’ and is the first of a series from that web site.
Deodorant cleansing soap (antibacterial)
Household Vinegar solution (neutralize jellyfish stings)
Cortisone Cream 1%
Non-aspirin pain reliever
Cold packs (pain relief)
Denatured alcohol, 12 oz. bottle (sterilizing instruments)
Telfa pads or plastic wrap (cover burns)
Absorbent dressings (control severe bleeding with pressure)
Squeeze bottle of water, 6 oz. (irrigating eyes and wounds)
Squeeze bottle of sterile saline
Sterile cotton, gauze pads, and adhesive tape
Band-Aids and butterfly bandages
Razor blades, single edged
Tweezers or forceps
Needle nosed pliers with wire cutters (to remove fishhooks)
Lighter or waterproof matches
Backboard, splints and neckbrace, if space permits
Pocket mask (eliminates direct contact while resuscitating a
For purposes of hospital and insurance follow-up and to avoid any legal problems, it would be a good idea to record as many of the events as possible during an episode. A pen and small notebook would be good to have in this respect.
None of these items will be of any use at all if there’s no one on the boat who knows how to administer first aid. All divemasters and instructors should be fully certified in First Aid and their certification should be up-dated at least yearly.
Oxygen should be an absolute necessity on a dive boat and would certainly be helpful on any boat. Knowledge is needed as the appropriate local emergency information number to call and this information should be readily available in the First Aid kit.. If the kit is used, it should be immediately replenished and should be up dated every 6 months to a year depending on the types of medications it contains.
Ernest S. Campbell, M.D., FACS
Scubadoc’s Diving Medicine Online
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