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You won’t get a second chance to give First Aid, so get a proper First Aid cabinet

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Choosing the correct medicine cabinet or first aid storage is a vital part of having the right equipment in the right condition immediately to hand when you need it. We explain why that’s important, and help with the choice of the right medical storage cabinets for your application.

Without the right equipment, qualified first aiders are like a fish trying to climb a tree – they haven’t got a leg to stand on. And whilst I’d agree that’s an awful pun, there’s a great deal of truth behind it.

Someone’s been hurt; perhaps it’s a bad cut and bleeding profusely. The first aider will know exactly what to do, but without the right equipment won’t be able to do it safely and effectively. That’s when a drama is in danger of turning into a crisis.

There isn’t the slightest doubt that every workplace must have secure First Aid storage with the right supplies for use in medical emergencies. After that basic truth, things get to be a little less clear cut.

What to put in First Aid cabinets

Let’s start what needs to be in a kit. There is a British Standard covering the contents – BS8599 – but the list it gives is by no means exclusive. The Health and Safety Executive is at pains to point out that what’s in your trusty First Aid wall cabinet needs to reflect the activities going on near it.

With lots of hazardous liquids about, an eye wash station might be appropriate; in a busy kitchen there might be a need for more equipment for burns and cuts.

The contents of a First Aid box are helpfully listed here by the HSE, along with a great deal of other helpful advice for appropriate First Aid storage.

How to choose First Aid or medicine cabinets

First Aid CabinetsFirst Aid storage and medicine cabinets are not the same thing. Certainly there is common ground, but there are clear distinctions too. Both have a treatment role, but drugs have no place in First Aid, and it may well be that there is no need for sticking plasters in medicine cabinets.

Medicine cabinets are not as numerous as First Aid ones, and are more likely to be found in health centres or surgeries operated by doctors and vets. Medical cabinets, on the other hand, could contain both kinds of supplies.

The right medical cabinet or first aid cabinet will be chosen from a range offering the best protection for its contents. Far better to have a piece of equipment made for the job, rather than have important equipment pushed to the back of a desk drawer or kept on an open shelf in a dirty environment, where it can be stolen, lost or become contaminated.

At a glance features guide to medication cabinets

The things to look out for in the best medical cabinets are:

• Conforms to H&S Regulations 1981
• Appropriate size for the contents you plan to house
• Durable construction, preferably of steel
• Antibacterial factory finish
• Integral drip tray to catch spills
• Flexible internal shelf arrangement to suit your contents
• Ability to add extra shelves
• Effective lock

If your need is for a small amount of first aid equipment, then a wall mounted First Aid cabinet will probably suit your needs, securely fixed in an appropriate place. Freestanding models are naturally also available.

And finally, the contents of medication cabinets are potentially dangerous in untrained hands. Provision of the right kind of training is at least as important as provision of the right equipment!

View our range of medical storage cabinets here.

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