By Jasmine Han, Red Cross Youth volunteer

Last fall, when I gathered with my fellow students on the football field at Mark Keppel High School for a fire drill, I overheard teachers complaining that their first aid kits were nearly empty. A couple teachers jokingly asked how we could all survive on the single bandage or broken flashlight that comprised the entire contents of their kits. The teacher’s first aid kits are always carried to the fire drills in special backpacks, and sure enough, when I looked into the pack of a teacher sitting next to me on the football field that day, I saw only a Hershey’s bar in the bottom. Clearly, these kits needed restocking.

As president of our school’s Red Cross Club, I spoke about the issue with our club’s advisor, biology teacher May Ng, and we decided to undertake the project of restocking all 50 of the school’s classroom first aid backpacks. Tiffany Gee, our Red Cross San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter Youth Coordinator, helped us develop a checklist of items that should be included. Each first aid kit would need the following: assorted bandages, antibiotic ointment, medical gloves, breathing masks, aspirin, ibuprofin, emergency heat blankets, emergency light sticks, hand sanitizers, a whistle, one-gallon zipper storage bags, and a flashlight with batteries.

We distributed a checklist to the school’s faculty so we could take an accurate inventory of the kits’ contents, and then our club secretaries, Philip Phung and Wendi Lin, created a spreadsheet of what we needed to purchase. In order to raise money to buy the supplies, we partnered with Ten Ren restaurant in Monterey Park, which contributed 20 percent of its sales one afternoon to our club’s efforts. We also sold chow mein at the Mark Keppel High School Winter Festival. We netted about $350 from the two fundraisers – ready to buy the supplies!

At our early spring Red Cross Club meeting, I assigned items to the club members to purchase. Some of our club members were extremely generous, deciding to purchase supplies out of their own pockets, which really helped stretch our budget. We purchased most of the items online (our parents kindly allowed us to use their credit cards) because we found better bulk rates that way.

When we returned from spring break, it was time to unwrap all those shiny new supplies and load the first aid kits. We stationed ourselves in Miss Ng’s science classroom (taking care not to disturb the lab stations), and packed them all over the course of three lunchtime meetings. Sometimes passing students would notice the mess, and when we explained what we were doing they would say, “Oh, that’s great!”

Distribution day was incredibly gratifying. The teachers were very thankful – some of them had even used their own money in the past to stock their classroom first aid kits. Several teachers hinted that the club should consider doing the restocking project annually, and I think that’s a smart idea. In earthquake-prone California, where the “big one” can come at any time, being prepared is key. Faculty, staff, and students at Mark Keppel High School can feel a bit safer now knowing that some basic first aid supplies are stocked for this fall, thanks to the school’s Red Cross Club.

Click here to see instructions for making your own Emergency Preparedness Kit.

Jasmine Han, who will be a senior at Mark Keppel High School in fall, will serve as the San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter Red Cross Youth Executive Board President next year.


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