First Aid Kits
So what should you bring in your first aid kits? Here's a list to get you started. What you bring will be based on many things, including the level of expertise of the members of your group.
Grand Canyon National Park Non-Commercial River Trip Regulations state: A major first aid kit is recommended and shall be carried on each trip. A smaller kit must be carried on each boat or unsupported kayak/canoe.
The bottom line: your trip must have one major first aid kit and every boat, including unsupported kayak or canoe, must carry at least a smaller kit.
Here’s a list of items you might want to consider for your river trip. The list below is based on what the Park Service recommends in the non-commercial regulations, with additional items suggested from long time river runners. Keep in mind, unless you are a medical doctor in good standing, you can not recommend anyone take a prescription drug, including antibiotics, pain killers, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxants.
Also, keep this in mind. For three weeks give or take, your first aid kits will be the closest thing to a drug store you will see. Wishing you had a simple cough drop on day four at 60 Mile is not a lot of fun. Try to plan ahead, and don't forget the simple things.
Note: Ma means this item could be in your Major First Aid Kit, Mi means this item could be in all your Minor First Aid kits, and Ma-Mi means this item could be in all your kits,both Major and Minor.
Instruments Description Uses
Ma-Mi Antibacterial soap 8 to 12 ounces Antiseptic for wounds (Phisoderm, tincture of zephesis, Hibiclens)
Ma-Mi Antiseptic wipes 15 For skin cleansing Mi Moleskin 1 package For blisters Ma Betadine 1 bottle For cleaning wounds Ma-Mi Band-Aids 36 (1-inch) Get the flexible fabric type For lacerations
Ma-Mi Anti-bacterial ointment 1 tube For lacerations and wounds
Ma-Mi Butterfly Band-Aids 18 (various sizes) For closing lacerations on knuckles
Ma Carlisle trauma dressing 3 (4-inch) For large bleeding wounds or substitute (feminine napkin, etc.)
Ma Elastic Ace-wrap bandage 2 (3-inch) For sprains and securing rigid splints
Ma Steri-pad gauze pads 18 (4 inch by 4 inch) For large wounds
Ma-Mi Steri-pad gauze pads 18 (2 inch by 2 inch) For small wounds
Ma-Mi Waterproof adhesive tape 1 (2 inch rolls) For sprains, securing dressings Ma Triangular bandage 2 (40-inch) For securing rigid splints, slinging and securing extremities, and protecting dressings from contamination Ma-Mi Roller gauze 1 roll each kit (2" by 5 yards) For holding gauze pads in place, securing splints and improvising slings
Ma Rigid splint, arm board, Sam Splint 1 For in-line fracture, pressure bandage
Ma Eye Pad 1 For small eye abrasions/loss of glasses
Ma Rigid splint, leg board, Sam Splint 1 For in-line fracture, pressure bandage
Ma Thermometers 1 oral, 1 rectal Diagnosing fever or other exposure illnesses: heatstroke, hypothermia Ma Stethoscope 1 Diagnostic tool for EMTs and medical personnel. (If you have no EMT or medical personnel on your trip, don’t bring this)
Ma Blood Pressure cuff 1 Diagnostic tool for EMTs and medical personnel. (If you have no EMT or medical personnel on your trip, don’t bring this)
Ma Suture Kit 4 sets Treatment tool for medical personnel. (If you have no medical personnel on your trip, don’t bring this)
Ma Latex exam gloves pair 3 For protection of patient and provider
Ma CPR bio-barrier face shield 1 Used for mouth to mouth resuscitation
Ma-Mi Scissors (EMT type) 1 (medium size) Cutting tape, dressings, clothes.
Ma Fine curved scissors 1 Cutting sutures/torn but still barely attached skin
Ma Razor blade, single 2 For removing hair before taping, wound care
Ma-Mi Fine Tweezers 1 To remove wood splinters, etc. Ma Nail trimming pliers 1 To remove/trim damaged nails
Ma Magnifying reading glasses 1 To assist in visualizing wound care, removing splinters/cactus spines
Ma Safety pins 10 (various sizes) Mending and triangular bandages
Ma-Mi Cotton swabs 1 package Cleaning lacerations, eyes, etc. Ma-Mi Pencil/Notepad 1 each Documenting injuries and items used in treatments Ma-Mi Aspirin 1 small bottle Head ache, minor aches/pains
Ma Hydrocortisone Cream 2 Used for rash and after bite skin care
Ma-Mi Motrin (ibuprofen)/Aleve (naproxen) 1 small bottle each Minor aches/pains
Ma Cough Drops 1 pack For scratchy cough
Ma Comtrex 1 small bottle For cold symptom relief
Ma Visine 1 small bottle For eye drops
Ma SPF 30 sunscreen 1 bottle For sun protection
Ma Chapstick 1 tube For lip care
Ma Tagament/Zantac 1 small bottle For stomach ulcers. Treatment tool for medical personnel. (If you have no medical personnel on your trip, don’t bring this)
Ma Benadryl 1 small bottle For antiemetic, sleep aid, sedative, antiallergenic
Ma Monistat 2 dose kits For yeast infection treatment
Ma Emergency dental kit: cement and catalyst, spoon excavator, Dental hatchet, Dental root canal files, Dental extraction forceps, universal elevator, sterile syringe and needles, Iris scissors, Hemostats, Xylocaine 2% with 1:100000 epinephrine 1 Kit Treatment tool for medical personnel. (If you have no medical personnel on your trip, don’t bring this)
Ma Dental Floss (Glide type) 1 For teeth care
Ma Amoxicillin, Cephalexin 2 doses For respiratory or skin infection. Treatment tool for medical personnel. You will need a doctor to prescribe this. (If you have no medical personnel on your trip, don’t bring this)
Ma Z-Pac (Zithromax) 2 doses For infections caused by bacteria, such as respiratory infections, skin infections and ear infections. Treatment tool for medical personnel. You will need a doctor to prescribe this. (If you have no medical personnel on your trip, don’t bring this)
Ma Lomotal/Immodium 1 pack For broad spectrum anti-diarrheals
Ma Ear wax removal kit 1 kit with bulb syringe For clearing ears of impacted ear wax
Ma Water purification tablets 1 bottle If your water treatment system fails
Ma Insect Repellent/after-bite stick 1 ea. For bad sand flea and buffalo gnat bites
Ma-Mi Signal Mirror 1 ea kit For signaling aircraft, shaving
Ma Satellite Phone 1 For communication with emergency service personnel
Ma Quarters and phone card $5 quarters, $25 card For emergency Phantom phone calls
Ma List of Emergency Contact information for all members of your trip. Here's a form Scott Brunk provided. You can modify this as needed:
Rafting Medical info sheet / Personal Medical Information
This information is only for use in the event that someone is injured seriously enough that they are unable to communicate. Please fill it out, seal it in a envelope and write your name on the outside of the envelope. The envelopes will be stored in the major medical kit.
Person to notify in event of an emergency: name, relationship & phone #_________________________________________________
Personal Doctor(s), name & phone #:_____________________________________________________________________________________
Medications being taken, name & dosage:_________________________________________________________________________________
Any Important Medical Information: _____________________________________________________________________________________
Insurance Information – Policy #, Carrier, Phone #:_____________________________________________________________________
Here's another form Scott uses. While "damage waiver" releases do not completely remove all parties from responsibility, and many trips will not have anything like this, there's some great info here that you might want to collect from your fellow travelers. This info could come in very handy:
Liability Release Form
I, ____________________________________being 21 years of age or older, do hereby release, forever discharge and agree to hold harmless The Trip Organizer / Leader on the ( fill in the year and date)_________ Grand Canyon rafting trip and the other participants thereof from any and all liability, claims or demands for personal injury, sickness or death, as well as property damages and expenses, of any nature whatsoever which may be incurred by the undersigned while said is participating in the above described trip or activity.
Furthermore, I hereby assume all risk of personal injury, sickness, death, damage and expense as a result of participation in recreation and work activities involved therein.
Further, authorization and permission is given to said trip, travel organizers and other participants to furnish and hereby release liability of transportation, food and lodging for this participant.
The undersigned further hereby agrees to hold harmless and indemnify said organizer and other participants, for any liability sustained by said travel organizers as the result, of negligent, willful or intentional acts of said participant, including expenses incurred attendant thereto.
I hereby grant (my) permission to take me (said participant) to a doctor or hospital and hereby authorize medical treatment, including but not limited to emergency surgery or medical treatment, and assume the responsibility of all medical bills, if any.
Further, should it become necessary for me to return home due to medical reasons, disciplinary action or otherwise, I hereby assume all transportation costs.
Print name of Trip Participant ____________________________________________
Trip Participant Signature ________________________________________________ Date ___________
Witnessed by Signature ________________________________________________ Date ___________
Click here to return to The Rivergear page.
Click Master Gear Check List to return to the Master Gear Check List page.