Safety Policies

SY21 First Aid Kits

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Jim Crandall, 863-3767,

Policy Steward: 

Director of Environmental Health and Safety


  • Objective
  • Policy
  • Scope
  • Contents of First Aid Kits
  • Relationship to Training
  • Relationship to the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) System
  • Exceptions
  • Further Information

    This policy pertains to the content, placement, and usage of first aid kits in all University buildings and facilities (except the Hershey Medical Center and the College of Medicine). This policy also applies to all non-University Park locations with regard to contents of first aid kits.


    Any department or administrative unit may maintain a first aid kit for the purpose of providing first aid to victims of accident or illness. First aid kits should be accessible to all those who might need the supplies and materials contained in them. The location of these kits should be clearly marked so that those who need to locate them may do so easily. The administrative unit involved should inform employees regarding the availability of any first aid kits or supplies.

    No department or administrative unit shall fund or maintain any form of oral or inhaled medication (prescription or non-prescription) in first aid kits for use by the general population of University employees or students.


    It must be clearly understood that first aid kits are not intended to replace professional Emergency Medical Services (EMS).Rather, these kits are intended to allow persons to treat themselves and/or their co-workers for minor medical incidents. Any medical emergency which involves loss of consciousness, profuse bleeding, possible broken bones, head or neck injuries, serious burns, cardiovascular distress, or any other serious injury or illness should immediately be referred to the University EMSsystem by dialing 911 from any telephone.


    First aid kits may be created based on organization needs identified by a College, department or other administrative unit. Advice and guidance regarding the content, location and potential use of the supplies and materials comprising first aid kits are available from the University Health Service,Office of Emergency Medical Service, 123 Student Health Center, University Park,PA and/or Environmental Health and Safety, 6 Eisenhower Parking Deck,University Park, PA.

    Kit supplies may be purchased through normal University purchasing procedures. Many vendors provide prepackaged first aid kits which may be tailored to individual needs.

    Since no first aid kit purchased with University funds shall contain any oral or inhaled substance for use in the delivery of first aid, the purchase of prepackaged kits shall require the removal of such medication or substance(s). When possible, such substances shall be eliminated from the kits prior to purchasing. In cases where a kit is purchased with such substances, they shall be appropriately destroyed.

    Other items may be included in the kit (i.e., sting swabs, etc.) with the written approval of Environmental Health and Safety, University Park. The contents of each first aid kit should be inventoried at least quarterly (every 3 months). Materials that have reached or passed their expiration date, or appear unserviceable must be discarded and restocked in a timely fashion.

    Appropriate supplies and equipment which may be purchased and maintained in University-funded first aid kits may include, but are not limited to:

    • Adhesive Bandages (Band-Aids)
    • Liquid bandage (individual use packets)
    • Bandage scissors
    • Blanket
    • Cotton
    • Gauze Pads (such as 4" x 4" or 3" x 3")
    • Ice Packs (chemical) (or use Ziploc bags if ice is available)
    • Medical Gloves (Nitrile preferred)
    • Medical Tape
    • Cleansing Towelettes (individual use packets)
    • Roller Gauze (recommended 1"-3")
    • Triangular Bandages
    • Elastic Bandages (Ace wrap)
    • Gauze Bandages (self-adhering)
    • CPR barrier*
    • Splints (when needed)*
    • Antibiotic ointment (individual use packets)
    • Burn treatment (individual use packets)
    • First Aid Cream (individual use packets)

    * Only if personnel in the first aid kit area are CPR certified and/or are familiar with their use.


    The use of some of the supplies and materials listed herein is best done by those trained specifically in their use (e.g., splints, backboard and pocket mask). No equipment or technique should be used or applied unless the first aider has specific training and/or experience.

    Furthermore, it should be recognized that persons who work in the vicinity of a first aid kit may not be trained in first aid. If the injury or illness is beyond the scope of self-treatment or treatment by a competent coworker, the EMS system should be activated.


    As a part of the EMS system, first aid can play a critical role in the reduction of death and disability. First aid personnel shall work cooperatively with the ambulance service Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT's) and EMT-Paramedics if such services are required as a result of a given emergency. In the event that a University employee provides first aid before the arrival of the ambulance service personnel, those involved in providing such care shall so identify themselves to the responding ambulance service and should briefly describe the first aid given.


    This policy is not intended to cover situations in which the University employs or uses personnel with specific education, certification and/or licensure to deliver emergency care. Quick responders such as EMT's, EMT-Paramedics, Registered Nurses and other Health Care Professionals should have available all supplies and equipment which they have been authorized to use by virtue of their specific training or medical protocols.


    For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

    Most Recent Changes:

    • January 13, 2023 - Editorial change to update Subject Matter Expert and Policy Steward.
    • October 29, 2021 - Reviewed; no changes needed.

    Revision History (and effective dates):

    • June 18, 2014 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.

    • April 19, 2013 - Minor editorial changes and updated “CONTENTS OF FIRST AID KITS” section.
    • November 11, 2008 - Editorial changes made to SCOPE (from 'Ritenour' and 'Centre Community Hospital' to 'University Health Services' and 'Mount Nittany Medical Center,' respectively) and CONTENT OF FIRST AID KITS (address change).
    • June 19, 2006 - Revision History added.
    • August 22, 2003 - Changes made to reflect availability of first aid kit contents.
    • February 26, 1992 - Revisions to CONTENTS OF FIRST AID KITS section.
    • December 2, 1991 - New Policy.

    Date Approved: 

    October 29, 2021

    Date Published: 

    October 29, 2021

    Effective Date: 

    October 29, 2021