By March 16, 2011

Building an Office Boo-boo Kit

My last and current employer are very good about providing first aid resources. Both had Safety Captains, who were trained in first aid as well as responsible for herding cats during an office emergency, like a fire. There are several Safety Captains on every floor. My past employer also had at least one automated external defibrillator on every floor.

If you are into preparedness at all, you know about the “I’ll restock it later” syndrome. You take something out of a first aid kit, bug out bag, pantry, etc and think, “I’ll restock it later.” Except no one ever does. The next thing you know someone has a cut finger and there aren’t any band-aids or gauze.

So I started building my own office boo-boo kits in case someone had a very minor issue. Here’s what is in mine, and also how a boo-boo kit differs from the other types of bags you may want to build.

It is what it is

Right quick, let’s go over what a boo-boo kit should be, and what it should not be.

It is:

  • For minor issues like small cuts, scrapes and blisters
  • For addressing discomfort, not danger. I have a box of anti-diarrhea meds, a bottle of TUMS and some acetominophen to handle upset stomachs and headaches
  • For non-emergency issues that may be important to business professionals. For example, I have a stain pen and a sewing kit in case someone spills something on their shirt before a presentation or loses a button.

An office boo-boo kit is not:

  • For moderate or severe medical emergencies, such as a deep puncture, fracture, or injury that requires medical training. If you need a specialized tool like a CPR breath mask/shield or a tourniquet this is not the kit. Go find a Safety Captain.
  • For getting home (or wherever) in the event of a major disruption of service due to an earthquake, tsunami, ice storm, tornado, or alien invasion.
  • For handling “unfortunate social situations” such as an office shooting, riot, looting, or other civil unrest.

In short, this is for the common day-to-day annoyances you and your office workers may face, not the “oh shit” moments of a disgruntled ex-employee who showed up to settle a score or when you are trapped in your office for three days because the earth’s crust got cranky.

Enough, enough, what’s in the damn bag?

  • ~150 generic elastic bandages (“Band-Aids”) in varying sizes
  • 1 bottle of a liquid bandage (I like New Skin)
  • 10 3″x3″ sterile bandage pads
  • Small roll of gauze
  • Tide stain pen
  • 1 box of anti-diarrheal medicine
  • 6 nitrile gloves (size large, I should probably put some different-colored XL in there)
  • 24 suckers (good for sore throats and boring meetings)
  • Sewing kit (not pictured)
  • ~50 500mg acetominophen tablets in a clearly labeled bag
  • Bottle of TUMS for rumbly stomachs

Not a big deal, right? Some pretty common sense stuff in there.

That’s the point — fill your boo-boo kit with stuff that doesn’t require training to use, and that you wouldn’t mind if someone helped themselves to if you’re not around. Several of my co-workers know about my boo-boo kit and can use it when they need. All of this goes in a clear, quart-sized ZipLoc bag far away from my other stuff.

This serves several purposes:

  • It keeps inexpensive stuff that people may use frequently away from your expensive stuff you don’t want them rummaging through
  • It segregates Not Important stuff from your Important Stuff. It’s okay if someone pilfers ten generic elastic bandages. It’s not okay if they snake your expensive gear from a trauma kit — especially if you ever need it and find that someone took your tourniquet to make a slingshot.
  • It is socially acceptable. Pulling out a cheap-looking ZipLoc with a bunch of Band-Aids and a stain pen raises less questions than opening a “blow-out bag” in your get-home kit. Some people are weird about stuff. It may make perfect sense to you to have a bag full of emergency items in case you need to get home. Others might not share your sentiments. Try not to be “that guy.”

So that’s my office boo-boo kit. You may want to put different stuff in yours. I used to have a lot more medication in mine, including allergy medicine and Midol. I found that people who sneeze a lot bring their own stuff, and ladies may not feel comfortable asking a guy for cramp medication. Your mileage may vary.

However, everything in your kit should follow one theme: you shouldn’t care if someone takes something out of it. Nothing should be expensive enough, important enough, or eyebrow-raising enough for you to worry if someone is rummaging inside.

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1 Comment on "Building an Office Boo-boo Kit"

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  1. Catherine says:

    I don’t have the gloves (good idea, and I will add some to my kit) but I do have wipes (baby wipes and lysol wipes), floss, a couple of cloth hankies, a couple of washcloths, and sundries that you would not need, such as a couple spare pantyhose 🙂 dang things are guaranteed to run just before a client presentation. Also clear nail polish – you’d be surprised how handy that is! If your dress code includes ties, I would put a tie in there for the spills/stains scenario.

    More like a boo boo drawer than a kit. Definitely more than will fit in a quart ziploc…