With summer right around the corner, staying safe while participating in outdoor activities is important. LenzSafety conducted a 10-hour Wilderness First Aid Training for the U.S. Forest Service and Local Mountaineering Organization, providing resources and education equipping their employees to provide aid in the event of an injury or emergency occurring in the wilderness. Even if you don’t work for an outdoor organization, having common knowledge of Below are some of our best tips for staying safe and providing care for common ailments that occur while in the great outdoors..
Wilderness Safety Techniques
The training focused on aspects of techniques that could help keep patients in remote locations alive until help arrives. In some situations this could be as little as a few hours, or up to multiple days. During our training, we teach first responders the “Fast or Slow” strategy depending on the patient’s needs. In the event of a potentially life-threatening injury, first responders are trained to provide fast, effective treatment shortly after the injury takes place to prevent further injury and help keep the patient alive. If a non-life-threatening injury, participants are equipped with techniques to help stabilize the injury until help arrives.
First Aid for Hiking Injuries
Injuries from hiking falls are among the most common needs for First Aid in the wilderness. Our Wilderness Safety Training teaches participants how to evaluate the injury to assess the severity, and how to appropriately provide care and treatment. For caregivers, it is important to thoroughly assess the injury to understand what damage may have occurred and to give needed treatment and support. Providing the right care for injuries soon after they happen is an essential part of First Aid, and is what can help determine how well the patient recovers from the incident.
Common ailments that occur from falls include fractures, neurological damage, and spinal injury. These conditions may require that you leave the patient in order to seek advanced medical care. During our training, we teach first responders how to place the patient in the proper recovery position to keep them safe and comfortable until additional help arrives.
Helping Patients Recover from Dehydration or Sodium Deficiency
While outside in warm climates, hikers run a higher risk of becoming dehydrated or experiencing sodium deficiency. Heat exhaustion is also a possibility in these types of conditions.
Sodium deficiency occurs when sodium is flushed out of the circulatory system. Sodium deficiency and heat exhaustion have similar symptoms including cramping, nausea, feeling lethargic or dizzy and profuse sweating. However, it is important to note that sodium deficiency could potentially be more life-threatening. During our wilderness safety training, we teach participants how to tell the difference between sodium deficiency and heat exhaustion to provide proper care for the patient. For example, we teach participants to look to the urine of the patient for signs of sodium deficiency or heat exhaustion. If the urine is cloudy and yellow that is a sign of dehydration or heat exhaustion. Conversely, if the urine is clear or more water-like, that may be a sign of sodium deficiency.
Helping Patients with Hypothermia
A common ailment requiring aid in cold, wet climates is hypothermia, which happens when the body is unable to generate heat. When an individual is experiencing hypothermia the body needs to be re-warmed by an outside source such as a heavy blanket once their wet clothing has been removed It is also important to keep the patient insulated from the cold ground until additional help can arrive. To prevent hypothermia, make sure you’re wearing appropriate rain gear, using warming devices (such as hand warmers), and having a dry change of clothes on hand in the event your clothing gets soaked.
For more Wilderness Safety support, contact LenzSafety to bring the course to your organization.