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Medical Emergency Guidelines when Camping
ABC's of First Aid - Medical Emergency Guidelines When Camping
Brian Befort, Camping Life Magazine
In serious medical emergencies, what you do in the first few minutes can determine if, and how well, the victim will recover. The following ABC's are suggested emergency guidelines that can help you remember what to do. It is especially important to be prepared when camping as you may be in a remote location.
ANTICIPATE AND AVOID
- Learn first aid. At least one adult should know rescue breathing, CPR, how to apply bandages and splints, and especially how NOT to cause further harm, even if you don't know how to treat every injury. Contact your local community college or American Red Cross chapter ( redcross.org ) for information on first-aid and first-responder classes in your area.
- Carry the 10 essentials: extra food and water, extra layers, an emergency space blanket, waterproof matches and fire starter, knife, map and compass, headlamp and a first aid kit - all for when plans go awry.
- Do not travel alone. A party of four is best: If one person is injured, one can stay with the patient while the other two go for help.
- Learn the special medical needs of everyone in your party, take care of impending medical and dental needs before you hit the road, and carry important medications with you.
- Learn the weather patterns and natural hazards of your destination and route. Be cautious in places where there are risky conditions, such as swift water, wet logs, rocky or slippery ground, steep slopes and high or open country during thunderstorms.
- Leave an itinerary with a responsible person at home and rangers near your trailhead, noting your destination, route and time of return, so people know when and where to look or you if you don’t return.
- Stay calm. When emergencies happen, try not to panic. Panic impedes clear thinking. Everyone in your party will take comfort from your calm attitude. If you’re optimistic, they will be, too.
ASSESS THE SCENE
- A very important emergency guideline to remember is to look and think. Assess the situation. What caused the injury? Will you be in danger if you rush to the rescue? Swift rivers, cold water, avalanches, fires, rattlesnakes, lightning and car accidents are just a few things that can kill you while you are trying to save someone.
- Wear surgical gloves and a CPR barrier to protect yourself from bodily fluids and diseases (HIV, hepatitis, etc.). Nitrile gloves are available for those allergic to latex. A plastic bag taped over each hand will work in a pinch. The CPR Microshield is an excellent mask (cprmicro shield.com).
- Do not move the victim until you know the extent of his injuries, unless he is in imminent danger. If you must, help a conscious victim walk. Roll an unconscious person on his back, then pull by his shirt collar or underarms while supporting his head. Preferably, have several people lift his body as a unit.
- If you are the leader (the ...
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