Emergencies happen, and when moments like these come up, you might wish you were better prepared. An emergency kit can be a lifesaver, but only if it’s on hand.

1. Severe Bleeding

Your friend next door is cutting firewood with a chainsaw, and he slips, severely slashing his arm. But you’re prepared. You bring over several large (5″ x 9″) sterile gauze pads, raise the arm, and keep covering the wound with more gauze pads as they soak through. You leave them in place until you get to the hospital; the doctor will remove them there.

2. Allergy to Bee Sting

You’re having a pleasant day outside when your cousin, who’s allergic to bee stings, is stung. Her face and tongue swell, and she’s forgotten to bring her epinephrine auto-injector, or epipen. Epinephrine is a medication for anaphylaxis, or severe allergic reaction (Epinephrine auto-injector). However, you have an epipen in your emergency kit, and you administer the dose and get your cousin safely to the hospital.

3. Heart Attack

You’re at the ball game with Uncle Mitch, when he gets chest pains and shortness of breath. He feels terrible. You give him an aspirin from your emergency kit, and call 911. Most heart attacks come from coronary arteries being blocked by blood platelets, and aspirin breaks up the platelets. It’s best to chew the aspirin, because then it works fastest (Aspirin for heart attack: Chew or swallow?).

4. Painful Burns

Your wife is carrying a pot of boiling-hot water to the sink, when she sloshes it on her arms. You pour cool water over the burns repeatedly, and then cover them with large non-stick sterile gauze pads from your emergency kit. This will help prevent an infection from starting until the doctor can treat them. Burns are very prone to infection.

5. Broken Limbs

Your emergency kit should include some portable splints. Inflatable plastic sleeves or bendable metal splints fit nicely into a kit. You and your friend Bill might be jogging, when Bill steps in front of a car. You’d splint his broken leg, making further damage less likely and transportation to the hospital more comfortable. Be careful next time, Bill!

6. Fluffy, the neighbor’s dog, is a little nippy, and draws blood when your daughter tries to pet him. You know Fluffy has had his rabies shots. You wash the bite with soap and water, and then apply antibiotic cream from your emergency kit before bandaging. You reapply it often to prevent infection, and buy your daughter an ice cream cone.

It’s better to be ready for emergencies than wonder what to do. A well-stocked emergency kit can get you through some sticky situations, whenever they come up.