First aid is about;
- Recognition or a problem,
- Preventing further harm
- And where required arranging higher level care.
You don’t need much in a first aid kit to achieve these goals, most people have sufficient in just in their pack and equipment to do the job just right, but having a separate small first aid kit means you don’t need to sacrifice gear that you will need later.
In the outdoors First Aid is pretty easy;
- First make sure you have done a First aid or outdoor first aid kit – this gives you the basic knowledge to prevent you doing harm.
- Know when you can help and when you need to call for help;
If the injured or ill person is NOT awake, or unable to stand and carry their own weight – You need the emergency services!
-Your job is to do maintain their life – and that is as simple a;
- Make a mobile phone call to 111 or activate your activate your locator beacon!
- Keeping their airway open,
- Insulate them from the ground and keep them warm
- Wait for help
When the injured or ill person is awake, able to stand and walk (with out aggravating their problem) then its time to get out your first aid kit.
First Aid Kit contents
What exactly goes in your kit is clearly going to depend on your level of knowledge and training, but a good personal BASIC First Aid Kit should contain;
- Light weight watertight bag as the container
- 2 Medium crepe bandage (joint injuries, wound dressings, splinting..)
- 1 Combine dressing – 20 cm x 20 cm(wound pads)
- 2 Cloth Triangular bandages(slings, ties, broad bandages,”gags”…)
- 4 Dressing swabs 7.5cmx 7.5cm (wound cleaning/ wound pad)
- 10 Band aids (small lacerations, blisters etc)
- 5 Large Primapore dressings(cover small wounds)
- 5 Small Primapore dressings(cover small wounds)
- Wound closures(bring edges in on lacerations – improving healing)
- 3M Nexcare – Waterproof First Aid Tape- expensive but worth it!( better to prevent blisters before they happen – at the first sign)
- Small bottle Optrex or irrigation saline(irrigating eyes..- smoke, dust..)
- Small tube of Crystaderm (Hydrogen peroxide antiseptic)
- Foil Blanket (gold absorbs heat -, silver reflects heat)
- Pain relief ( like Paracetamol tablets)
- Antihistamine (New Zealand = Loratidine – no sedative affect)
- Loperamide tablets (treatment of diarrhoea)
- Arnica cream(anti inflammatory – amazing stuff.. to painful to move today, virtually better overnight)
- Tube of Burn Gel (use after water cooling or in place of water if none available – cover with glad wrap dressing.
- Small scissors,(or your knife) needle, tweezers. (stick the last two in a cork)
- 1 meter of Glad wrap(plastic wrap) folded in plastic bag (cover burns after cold water cooling)
- Small First aid manual ( if its not second nature:-) ( there are now cpr and first aid apps. available)
- Some lateral thinking – look at your gear and the environment to help out with problems
Why is there no Tourniquet,(TK) in this list?
Historically Tourniquets are most often used for the wrong things, and not applied tight enough to be effective any way by the public. (my personal experience as a medic)
They should only be used on limbs and only,
When it is impossible to control the bleeding by isolating the source and applying focused direct pressure through a wound pad on that exact place. (the tips of your fingers is best.)
When considering using a Tourniquet, you must be prepared for that person to loose that limb.
A correctly applied Tourniquet is used in a life threatening situation where direct pressure has failed, and will be extremely painful for an injured person. Once it has been applied note the time and never remove the Tourniquet for any reason.
What is the glad wrap for burns?
Always get all burns under cold running water as quickly as possible, the quicker the better it heals. Hold under running water for 20 minutes.( people are normally making fire and cooking near water in the outdoors) Once cooling is complete, wrapping with glad wrap keeps the wound nice and clean.
I have only done a first aid course, what if i make the wrong decision?
If you are in doubt of what to do… remember your basic Airway, Breathing, Circulation, stop bleeding, and call for help.
Only some fully serviced back country huts in New Zealand have a Warden stationed at them, and only during the peak walking seasons ( mostly only the Great Walks)
The emergency telephone number for New Zealand is 111, but don’t depend on having mobile phone / cellular phone signal in the New Zealand outdoors
Carrying a mountain radio or Personal Locator Beacon is a better option.
What about snakes, bears, and spiders?
This is New Zealand.. they sent all the dangerous animals to Australia, you only have to look out for other humans. (some look like bears, some are just hunters)