Line One
Your Health
First aid on the road
Cuts, scrapes, burns and muscle strains are part of the everyday life of the trucker, so how do you make that cross-country run injury-free? Maybe you can't, but you can help ensure your safety by keeping a first-aid kit in the truck - one that is especially geared to the trucking life and trucking mishaps.

by Donna Carlson

Perhaps the Boy Scouts say it best: "Be prepared." And being in possession of a first-aid kit is a smart preparation for professional truckers. Keeping a good quality kit in the truck could possibly save someone else's life or your own.The cost of first-aid kits range in price from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. Going cheap is fine, but don't go without. If you don't have time to gather the necessary components and make your own, companies such as Western Safety Services offer a trucker's kit with products relative to a trucker's injuries or those he or she may need if stopping at an accident.What do you need in a trucker's first aid kit? A spokesperson for OSHA's Division of Labor Standards suggests a minimal kit contain these contents: an assortment of bandages, soap, gauze pads, eye care products, scissors, tweezers and adhesive tape. A more extensive kit might contain latex gloves, digital thermometer, burn materials with gel burn dressings, trauma materials with bloodstopper dressing, triangular bandages and a CPR one-way valve faceshield."In addition to these basic kits," he said, "truckers who are allergic to bees should wear a medic alert bracelet and carry medication to handle that emergency situation."

A spokesperson for the Red Cross offered more good suggestions. Besides having a first-aid kit in the truck, he suggested drivers who travel the desert southwest and southern states learn how to avert sunburn and how to handle the situation if bitten by a poisonous snake.


After crawling under the truck, a welt raises on the back of your hand. What do you do? If it's red and painful rather than itchy, it is probably a spider bite. If you suspect a poisonous bite, get to a hospital right away. If left untreated the venom of a black widow spider, for instance, will cause severe muscle spasms. Symptoms may also include vomiting, nausea, headaches and high blood pressure. Don't clean the wound, just apply ice and head for an emergency room.

SNAKEBITES-Do's & Don'ts

Do try to stay calm if bitten by a snake. Most bites, even from poisonous snakes are not fatal. But panic can increase the heartbeat, thus moving the poison rapidly through the body.

Experts say the following tips can reduce the severity of the situation:

 remove the victim from risk of a second bite

 keep the extremity at heart level or lower

 limit liquids because the body pumps fluid to the site of the bite, increasing swelling

 avoid alcoholic beverages, which speeds metabolism

 don't allow the victim to walk if it can be avoided

 don't use the small rubber cups found in some first-aidkits. They are too weak to remove much venom

 don't cut an "X" and try to suck out venom with the mouth. This only works in the movies and may make the trauma worse

 don't chase the snake to kill it. The antivenom for pit vipers is the same for all species. Emergency room personnel will know from the type of bite whether it is a pit viper, coral snake or rattlesnake


An allergy to bee stings can be life threatening. Call 9-1-1 or keep the person calm and make a beeline (no pun intended) for the nearest emergency room.The symptoms of an allergic reaction include:. tightening of the throat. nausea and vomiting. inability to breathe. a drop in blood pressure. anxiety and disorientation

A trucker who knows he/she is allergic to bee and wasp stings needs to carry a prescription bee-sting kit in addition to their first-aid kit. Keep in mind that a person can be stung a few times before developing an allergy to bee venom. If you know you have this condition, physicians advise to wear a medical alert bracelet at all times.


Truckers often happen upon the scene of an accident where decisions must be made quickly and calmly. John G. Feller of Emergency Medical Services, Inc., a company that teaches CPR and other lifesaving treatments, told Land Line that professionals rank accident priorities in the following order:

1. Protect the scene from further accidents

2. Get professional help fast

3. Aid the victims

Protect the accident scene. Organize bystanders to warn oncoming traffic of the accident. If another trucker stops, have him or her set out cones and flares 200 yards from the site. Switch off the ignition in the accident vehicle.

Get help fast. Call for medical services and the police or have another person on the scene call while you check out the accident. If you can get into the accident vehicle, check to see how badly victims are injured.

Help the victims. Check for unconsciousness. If heart and breathing stop, begin the ABCs of resuscitation or ask if anyone nearby knows CPR. Keep the victim warm with coats, blankets, newspapers or whatever is available. Don't move a victim unless there is a danger of fire or danger of further accident.. Don't give the victim anything to eat or drink. Do have someone stay with the victim to reassure him/her until professional help arrives.