Many-toothed Dozuki Saw - $45.00
Fully Stocked First Aid Kit? - Priceless
An event this weekend in class reminded me of the value of a well-stocked first aid kit. One of my students had a minor accident with a router this weekend. This particular student was passing the router from one hand to another while the router was running. It is a palm router, so that's not that unusual. What was unusual, was that for whatever reason - fatigue, simple inattention, or whatever - the student wasn't watching as this happened and nipped a pinky with the router.
As a woodworking instructor, I know that events like this *can* happen, although it does upset me when it does happen. What I do know, is that we'll be prepared for most incidents because the shop is equipped with a good first aid kit. For a woodworking shop, this means more than a few band-aids. We stress the importance of good procedures, set-up and safety in general, but what happens when things go pear-shaped?
Below is a poster that was produced by Fine Woodworking with a suggested first aid kit inventory and basic first aid procedures. (Click to enlarge) It contains an excellent basic list that I'd add a couple of thoughts to. Since the article was written, clotting kits and bandages have become available as a result of treating soldier's bleeding in the field. They would be an excellent addition. An eye cup for eye washing and a CPR mask would also be nice to have. I know I'll be looking at our first aid kit with a critical eye this week.
As you are thinking of what should go in your kit, think about the particular things you do in your shop that could hurt you or others. While some of the most common things that people think of are cuts and potential amputations, some other common things are allergic reactions to wood dust and chemicals, debris in the eye, splinters, burns - both thermal and chemical, splinters, and broken bones or bruising from a kick-back.
With any injury that involves a cut, it is important that the wound is cleaned well with soap and water and anti-biotic ointment. Wood isn't the cleanest thing around after being handled in the woods, sawmills and lumberyards. If the wound becomes infected or you don't have a recent tetanus shot, make an appointment to see your doctor. The follow up can be as much a life-saver as the initial treatment of the injury.
One final thought - most folks are not doctors or paramedics. Keep calm and know your limits for treating yourself and others. Use common sense and call the professionals in when needed.