Health and Safety Equipment
Every team should have a health and safety kit they carry with them on every investigation containing the following items.
CPR pocket mask – Hopefully you’ll never need to use this item, but in case someone needs CPR, several team members should be certified to administer it.
Disposable N95 respirator masks – These are inexpensive but you should always wear them in areas where there is mold, heavy dust, or evidence of animal excrement.
Emergency blanket – These little mylar blankets may not look like much, but if a team mem-ber is injured and goes into shock they are better than nothing.
Polysporin antibiotic cream – Apply to simple wounds or put on existing sores and scabs before an investigations, as well as new ones that show up during the investigation.
Bandages – Adhesive bandages (all sizes), adhesive tape, nonadhesive pads (Telfa), and 4" x 4" sterile gauze pads are essential for wound care.
Anesthetic spray or lotion like Bactine or Calamine – Use these for rashes and insect bites.
2", 3", and 4" Ace bandages – Use these for sprains or strains, as well as for wrapping gauze on to wounds or securing splints.
Benadryl – Use this oral antihistamine for allergic reactions and itchy rashes.
Exam gloves - Use for infection protection. They can also be made into ice packs if filled with water and frozen.
Safety pins (large and small) – You need these for splints and ace bandages.
Scissors – Use these to cut tape and bandages.
Tweezers – Use for splinter, stinger, or tick removal.
Trash bags – These are good for a variety of things, such as making ice packs or covering a large would.
Hand sanitizer – Use this often to protect against fungal, bacterial and viral infections.
Carbon monoxide detector – Place these near furnaces and stoves to prevent accidental poisoning.
Painter’s masking tape or caution tape – Use to mark off dangerous areas.
General Guidelines for Staying Healthy
People with a cold or otherwise comprised immune system should not investigate. Stay home and rest. The team and clients don’t want to get sick either.
Drink plenty of water. Investigating can be intense, so your body will produce more cortisol in response to the stress. Cortisol is a stress hormone that causes increased heart rate and respiration, as well as weakening the immune system. When you do not drink enough water during a paranormal investigation, you may experience a “hangover” the day after the inves-tigation due to this increase in cortisol. A good rule of thumb is to drink four to six ounces of water for every hour of investigating. If you actually get thirsty while investigating, double this amount.
Get your shots.
- Getting a flu shot will reduce the likelihood of getting influenza or a cold. Even if you do contract the flu, studies show the influenza vaccine can lessen the severity and duration.
- Keep your DTP (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) shot up-to-date, as well. Whooping cough has reached the highest incident rates since the 1960s, and it can be very danger-ous, particularly in people with weakened immune systems.
Use a hand sanitizer with alcohol every hour. This will greatly reduce your risk of growing ill after an investigation. Investigators often don’t know who may have been at a location before them or what, if any, illnesses they may have had. Using sanitizer could ward off a nasty illness. Alcohol will kill bacteria and fungi both by breaking down (denaturing) the cell's processes.
Cover open sores and those already scabbed over with an antibacterial ointment and a bandage.
Immediately remove and wash your clothes and shower after an investigation. You can’t be certain what fungi, virus or bacteria came home with you on your clothes/skin.
In areas where mold, dust and animal waste might be an issue, use a disposable N95 respirator (10 packs are about $15 at most home supply stores). In addition to the N95 des-ignation, the mask must fit well so contaminated air can't seep around the edges. Wearing a mask in these areas will reduce the chances of contracting a respiratory infection by 90 to 95%.
Take along a carbon monoxide detector. Not all homes have them or place them where they are most needed. Place detectors near any stoves or furnaces. CO emissions can some-times rise quickly. When you are investigating, you need something to warn you there is a colorless, odorless gas about.