An ordinary first aid kit just won’t cut it.
The types of common injuries that motorcyclists may experience need a special balance of first aid supplies. It is important to know the purpose of and how to use every item in your motorcycle first aid/trauma kit– otherwise its just taking up valuable space.
Injuries a motorcycle rider might incur:
- Burns – sunburn and heat burns from exhaust pipes and other hot motorcycle parts.
- Eye injuries – things flying or blowing into the eyes and Insect bites or stings.
- Cuts, abrasions and scrapes – usually from hitting the road (literally).
- Fractures, bleeding, possible amputation
- Trauma to the head, neck, spine, chest and abdomen (Box of Life).
Here’s a Motorcycle First Aid Kit Checklist:
- A good compact first aid book or cheat sheet (ASM PACT Card).
- Nitrile gloves – No less than 2 pair – more is better!
- Anti-microbial Hand Cleaner – Waterless is preferred with at least 60% alcohol.
- Sting Relief & Burn Gel.
- Band-Aids: A variety of shapes and sizes for small cuts and scrapes. Antibiotic ointment packets
- Steri-strips or Butterfly bandages, Adhesive Sutures- used to pull a small gaping cut or wound together.
- Minimum 4 large (4×4) Sterile Gauze Pads – For Hint: paper towels in a zip-lock baggie can be used for clean up – save the sterile dressings for when you need them!
- Rescue Breathing
- Emergency Blanket – For retaining body heat that can be used as a reflector for rain and ground cover.
- Normal sterile saline with a squirt tip for irrigating – this doubles as an eye wash or wound cleansing.
- Instant Cold Pack(s) – They are single use so if you have space, grab a couple for your kit. The larger size works better.
- Burn cream or gel (some have lidocaine for pain)- Aloe Vera aids in healing, pain relief, has anti-inflammation properties.
- Glow Stick(s) – High intensity emergency glow stick for directing traffic or signaling for help. Consider Green, Yellow & Red so they can be used for triage!
- Heavy Duty Zip-lock Bags or Bio Hazard Bags – Uses: disposal of used and contaminated gauze, gloves and dressings.
- Other medication – Pack the travel size or sample packets: Anti-diarrhea tablets, Anti-acid, Antihistamine (like Benadryl or Claritin), pain relievers, Electrolytes.
- Triangular Bandage – For slings, padding, strapping limbs to splints when fractures are suspected.
- Trauma shears – 7 inch Paramedic Shear – smaller one’s just don’t cut it! You will need to be able to cut through leather. You will not want to move a person to remove clothing – if there is heavy bleeding you will need to cut through the leathers & other clothing. Use caution as you are using the shears since they can cut through unintended items.
- 1 or 2 rolls of 2” or 3” roll gauze.
- Tweezers: Easy-to-grip handles for splinter removal and other first aid procedures.
Other things to consider when putting together a Motorcycle First Aid Kit:
- Look for soft-sided waterproof zipper cases. Consider packing items in separate strong zip-lock bags. The reason is you will need to stuff all these items into a small bag -as mentioned above- it is very useful to use one bag for each ‘type’ of item such as gauze in one bag, medication in another and medical tools (scissors and tweezers) in another. Then when you pull out the items from the main bag they do not all tumble out onto the ground. This will not instill confidence in the person you might be helping.
- Become familiar with what is in your kit and inspect the contents routinely. Make sure your kit is not buried in a saddle bag & preferably is on the non-traffic (right) side of the bike. Consider adding a reflective red cross to indicate where your supplies are located.
- Because you may not have time to read a manual while trying to give first aid to an injured person or yourself, we recommend that you take an Accident Scene Management (ASM) course to learn what first aid challenges you may encounter and how to treat them. A 100 series ASM course teaches the basics of motorcycle trauma using the P.A.C.T. formula and ABCSS of Trauma to prioritize treatment. While this one-day course is geared toward the lay rescuer, it is great for the EMS worker as well. Helmet removal, moving the injured and jaw thrust rescue breathing are all part of this class that prepares you to respond to a trauma scene and apply basic first aid. For more information about classes click here and Pre-packed Motorcycle First Aid Kits