Canadians simply love the outdoors – mountain biking, trekking, hiking and
camping in the wilderness offer a great way to unwind from the hectic and busy city life. But all outdoor activities entail a certain degree of risk. Would you be able to react promptly and properly in case an accident occurs or if someone was suddenly taken ill while you are in the wilderness?
Whether you are going to the outdoors alone or in group, it is essential that you have knowledge of basic first aid. It is recommended that you attend a one- or two-day first aid course, especially about outdoor or wilderness first aid (find the right course for you). It is not enough that your team has one trained first aider – what if he or she becomes ill or injured? In addition, it has been shown that people who have completed first aid course are more conscious when it comes to safety thus there are fewer accidents and injuries than the untrained.
Usually, wilderness and outdoor first aid is a one or two-day course that includes comprehensive instructions about possible emergency scenarios while in the wild and how to effectively manage them. It will ensure that participants gain skills and confidence in preventing and managing injuries and accidents until rescue services become available.
Goals of outdoor first aid
As in any first aid course, the ultimate goals of outdoor first aid are to prevent further injury, keep the casualty alive and provide comfort while waiting for emergency services.
Take note that while on the outdoors, professional medical help can arrive after several days and, in most cases, the victim will require skilled help immediately. Therefore, you should be ready to make use of whatever supplies and materials are available in your surroundings. Wilderness first aid would include a module on how to improvise available materials that are commonly found in nature. These materials are invaluable in preserving the life of the victim and preventing further injuries.
Apart from responding properly in outdoor injuries, wilderness first aid courses also prepare you for a safe outdoor adventure. The course offers tips on how you can prevent accidents while on the outdoors. Here are just few reminders that can help avoid accidents:
- Wear appropriate dress for the climate, weather, and nature of outdoor activity. Use protective equipment if necessary.
- Make sure each member has fully stocked wilderness first aid kit. Bring enough supply of water, food and other basic necessities but don’t bring too much as it can be added burden on your travel.
- Be sure to bring gadgets or equipment for emergency distress signal.
- If you experience any sudden untoward symptoms, stop for a while to rest or slow down. Inform your team leader about your symptoms.
- Stay alert for possible dangers that such falling debris and animal bites. If possible, bring with you a trained wilderness guide to inform you about dangers.
- Have a pre-departure briefing with the local authorities in the area.