First Aid & Trauma Kits: What They Are & Why We Need Them

  • Posted on: 30 April 2019

“First Aid Kit” is a term that is familiar to us. “Trauma Kit,” however, is a term we seldom hear of. In addition, many people don’t know the difference between the two types of kits. We will break down the differences between a First Aid Kit and a Trauma Kit below.

The Difference Between First Aid and Trauma Kits 

A Trauma Kit is meant for major injuries, usually life-threatening. Its main purpose is to keep a person alive until help arrives. In this case, a hospital and/or doctor is most likely needed.

In contrast, a First Aid Kit is meant for very basic and superficial wounds such as your everyday cuts and scrapes. In this case, a hospital and/or doctor is most likely not needed.


There are 3 types of products that are available in each bag; the quantity of each product is determined based on which type of kit is being used. The 3 types of products are:

  1. Prevention: Products that help prevent injuries. Example: water prevents dehydration
  2. Action: Products that are required after something happens to prevent pain or even death. Example: tourniquet
  3. Recover & Stabilize: Products that relieve pain or discomfort and help speed up healing process. Example: Neosporin (triple antibiotic ointment)


Trauma Kits are usually made up of Action (Life-Saving) items such as tourniquets, hemostatic agents (blood clotting), nasopharyngeal airways (NPA), etc. The purpose of a Trauma Kit is to keep you alive until medical help arrives. For this reason, a Trauma Kit doesn’t contain Prevention or Recovery products.

In contrast, First Aid Kits are made up of Action (Non-Life-Saving) items such as Band-Aids, gauze, and so on. They are meant for non-life-threatening injuries. Unlike Trauma Kits, they do contain a small variety of Recovery items like Neosporin or Ibuprofen to help in the post injury phase. Trauma products require training; in contrast, First Aid products require almost no training.

Trauma Kits are more expensive than First Aid Kits but have fewer items because the products cost more and require a customized bag. The items in a trauma bag are more specialized; tourniquets range from $15-$40, Celox ranges from $6-$35. Band-Aids and gauze, in contrast, only cost $0.50. All in all, a trauma kit ranges from $75-$400. A First Aid Kit costs between $30-$300.

The items in a Trauma Kit need to be packed in a certain way that makes them easy to find in case of an emergency. Once opened, trauma bags read like a book from left to right, top to bottom. This is because the human brain works differently when in emergency situations. For this reason, it is essential for the bag to be set up to require as little thinking as possible when the kit is needed,


First Aid Kits, on the other hand, do not have a real system in place since they are designed for daily cuts and scrapes as opposed to life-threatening injuries in an emergency.  

Why is it Important?

With that said, it is crucial to have a First Aid or Trauma Kit ready to use in the case of an emergency. Here is why it's time to get your First Aid and/or Trauma Kit now:

  1. Quick Response: When help is not within reach, a First Aid or Trauma Kit is your next best friend.  It is important to always be prepared especially if you do not have others to depend on.
  2. Limited Blood Supply: Some injuries cause significant blood loss, and as such it is essential to stop the bleeding until help arrives.
  3. Protection: In the case of an emergency, a First Aid or Trauma Kit can save a person’s life. Knowing where your kit is stored is essential to mitigating risks and further harm.
  4. Saved Time: Having a Kit ready saves precious time until further help arrives. Losing time due to lack of preparedness could ultimately result in further injury.
  5. Decreased Risk: The longer the injury remains untreated, the more severe it can become. Immediate treatment therefore can help reduce risk of further harm.