What Should You Have in Your Apartment First Aid Kit?

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If you want to ensure you’re ready for any emergency that suddenly strikes, take a look at our complete first aid checklist for apartment living.

When you first moved into your apartment, you had your eyes set on the good memories you’d build over the next 12 months.

Movie nights with friends.

Homemade dinners.

The freedom of finally being off on your own.

But this newfound independence doesn’t come without a few extra responsibilities. And no, we’re not talking about paying your rent, electric, and cable bills on time (although those are all important).

Now, keeping your visitors safe is entirely on your shoulders, which means you need a first aid kit in your apartment.

Bandages, gauze, and antiseptic sprays are certainly the foundation of a standard first aid kit. But if you want to be ready for any emergency that strikes, take a look at our complete apartment first aid checklist.

Buy and Fill Your First Aid Kit

If you want to be ready for everything from bruises and scrapes to sprains and bee stings, you want to ensure your first aid kit contains:

  • Gauze/dressings
  • Bandages (including different sizes shapes)
  • Antibiotics
  • Safety scissors
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Gloves (non-latex, preferably)
  • Thermometer 
  • Triangular bandage (sling)
  • Heating and freezer packs
  • Brace or splint
  • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Medical tape
  • Aloe vera
  • Calamine lotion
  • Benadryl

And one more thing:

Store your purchased (or DIY) first aid kit in a cool, dry place that’s also easy to access (i.e., in the kitchen pantry or the bathroom vanity).

Think about it — there’s no use in having a first aid kit if the bandages are no longer sticky by the time you get a scrape, or it’s hidden away in the attic during a true emergency.

Look at the Unique Needs of all Occupants

What do you think about when you hear the term “first aid?”

Probably your standard bumps and bruises.

But first aid also extends into territory that you’re lucky enough to have avoided up until this point — like allergies and diabetes.

So, take inventory of the medical issues of those living in (and visiting) your apartment and prepare for the worst.

That means stocking up on:

  • Oral antihistamines (like Benadryl) for mild allergic reactions
  • Epi-pens for severe allergic reactions
  • Baby aspirin for subduing potential heart attacks (an ER trip is necessary)
  • Glucose tablets or insulin for diabetic emergencies
  • Bottled water
  • An extra supply of everyone’s current medication in case you run out

When your roommate dips into diabetic shock, the worst-case scenario is frantically searching the apartment for their glucagon vials and a syringe.

Now, these emergency items don’t have to be in your first aid kit. But they should certainly be organized in one easy-to-reach location for quick access and a better prognosis during emergencies!

Keep a List of Important Phone Numbers

As the new head of household, you have three things to worry about when phoning for medical assistance:

  1. Is this injury severe enough to dial 911?
  2. If not, who do I call for help?
  3. Do I need a helping hand from anyone in my inner circle?

To make sure you’re 100% ready for whatever emergency you face, make a list of important phone numbers to hang on the refrigerator, including:

  • Local poison control
  • Your doctor, dentist, and specialists you see regularly
  • Animal poison control
  • Veterinarian
  • Local police department, fire department, and hospital
  • Your parents, friends, or ideal babysitter (if you have kids or pets to care for)

As scary as some emergencies might be in the moment, they may not require an ER visit or even immediate care.

Knowing who to call and when can help you get in touch with the right services!

Plan for the Worst (Emergencies)

No, you don’t need to plan for an apocalypse or buy into the whole “doomsday prepper” culture. 

But you should stock up on supplies that’ll help you thrive in the face of natural disasters (i.e., tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, floods, and wildfires).

So, make sure your apartment has:

  • Batteries (including rechargeable and power banks)
  • Flashlights, candles, and matches
  • Non-perishable goods
  • Fresh, dry, warm clothes
  • Water (presumably one gallon per day, per person)
  • Hand tools (i.e., wrench, hammer, screwdriver, and pliers)
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Generator (optional)
  • Extra supplies for babies or children in the house

When preparing for a natural disaster, you must envision the worst.

That means the possibility of having no power for days or weeks, having to evacuate the complex, or being inaccessible to emergency services.

Learn About Your Complex’s Safety Resources

Many local and state laws require all landlords to go a few steps beyond to keep tenants safe (lucky you!).

So, it’s time to do some investigating:

  • Does your apartment building have an AED either onsite or in the hallway? If yes, make sure you know where it is and how to use it.
  • Are there smoke and CO detectors outside of every bedroom and on every floor? If so, replace the batteries annually.
  • Did your landlord supply fire extinguishers in the kitchen? If not, you might want to buy your own.
  • Does your upper-floor unit have a fire escape? If not, plan another escape route (i.e., window, balcony, etc.).
  • Is there a coastal evacuation route nearby? If so, find out the quickest way to get there via car.

These are all things you should look for or ask about before you move in, as during a two-alarm fire or cardiac emergency is a little too late to start doing your research.

Consider Getting First Aid/CPR/AED-Certified

Do you know how to properly treat a bee sting, allergic reaction, choking incident, or hypothermia? 

What about walking in to find your roommate unconscious?

If you answered “no” to either of those questions, you might not be as prepared for an emergency as you thought.

So, think about getting your first aid, CPR, and AED certification from either the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.

But the knowledge is more crucial than the sheet of paper you’ll receive.

Many local community centers offer weekend courses in emergency care that’ll teach you the basics without the cost!

Maintain Your Stock and Replace Regularly

Whether you make your first aid kit DIY-style or buy it fully-stocked from Amazon, one thing’s for sure:

You need to replenish it regularly.

So, make sure you’re restocking the bandages and gauze every few months to ensure you’re 100% ready for the next emergency.

Or, even better, replace things immediately after you use them.


Conclusion

Of course, the most important item on your apartment’s first aid checklist would have to be “prevention.”

What could you do to avoid using your first aid kit altogether?

  • Keep knives, weapons, medication, and household cleaners out of immediate reach of children.
  • Ensure your smoke and CO detectors have working batteries (and test them monthly).
  • Wear safety gloves when working with tools, and wear oven mitts when cooking.
  • Stay properly hydrated and avoid drinking alcohol unsupervised.

Injuries don’t have to happen. But if they do, you should be ready to care for them properly (hopefully avoiding an emergency room visit).

If you follow the checklist above, your apartment will be as safe as possible!

Caitlin Sinclair is the property manager at Persea, a luxury apartment community in Vista, CA.