As part of your health and safety procedures, you should regularly sort through your first aid supplies, checking the expiration date of various items and replacing what has expired. But, what should you do with expired first aid supplies? Why is it important to perform this process and ensure that expired items are not used? Let us explain.
What Expires in a First Aid Kit?
Not all items in a first aid kit expire. As long as they have not been damaged by water or something else, and remain sealed, these items usually do not expire:
- Non-adhesive bandages and dressings
- Tools like scissors
These items are more likely to expire:
- Sterile cleansing wipes
Any item with an expiration date does expire. Although, typically items in first aid kits do last for several years.
The Importance of Checking Expiry Dates
Expired first aid items dry out and become less safe to use. For example, dried gloves may break, dried bandages may refuse to stay in place, and both of these may expose the user to germs and other potential safety risks.
In an emergency, few people are going to check the expiration date of the supplies before they use them, which means they may not even realize their use of the supplies is risky. This can be a liability concern for a business, as well as an obvious safety concern. So, it is important to schedule checks of your first aid supplies.
If you notice that items are close to expiring, but they are in a location or department where they are less likely to be used, you can exchange them with your other first aid supplies to make it more likely that they are used rather than going to waste. One example is for a dental office that rarely uses one of its chairs to exchange the supplies for that chair with one that is more often used. Hopefully, the items will be used before they expire.
What to Do with Expired First Aid Supplies?
You need to pull expired first aid supplies out of circulation so that no one uses them which creates a safety risk. You obviously also need to replace them. But, when you’ve collected up these expired supplies, what can you do with them?
- Donation: Some groups and even some poorer countries will accept expired first aid supplies that have a longer shelf life than their expiration date technically indicates. They may be willing to take the risk of potentially faulty first aid supplies.
- Return: Some companies which supply first aid products will allow you to return them, for free, in order to recycle the items or to dispose of unique items properly.
- Trash: Your last resort is to simply throw away the first aid supplies. It’s unfortunate to have things go to waste, but important to put safety first when it comes to first aid supplies. Keep in mind that medication should not be thrown in the garbage or down the drain.
Choose Your Supplies from CanGard
Replace your expired first aid supplies at CanGard. Order online or contact us today for more information.