The first and foremost rule when experiencing an accident or when being injured is not to panick. Considering that you might be at a remote location where the nearest settlement is at a few days distance, a place with no medical facilities like hospitals or ambulances, you have to overcome feelings of desertedness and regain your nerves. Panicking won't bring you anywhere. Once you managed to keep a cool head, continue to practice what you have learned at first aid courses. Below are guidelines of what needs to be done following an accident or an injury resulting from the accidents.
Avoid the risk of additional accidents: If you risk your own live while trying to help someone, what good comes out of this for both parties? This is a mistake frequently done by people, having unnecessary accidents themselves while carelessly approaching a person in danger. You might end up falling down while attempting to jump over a viaduct at night, or cause chain accidents because you carelessly jumped out of the car in order to help....Mountain climbers, for example, know that they might end up under the same avalanche or rocks as their partners whom they try to rescue. The same fate awaits the rescuer when trying to rescue someone about to drown. If the rescuer is not tied to the land with a rope or does not have at least a bit of wood to climb on, s/he might drown from exhaustion. Always take into consideration that you yourself might be affected when helping someone poisened from gas, or you might even be subjected to an electricity current when touching someone lying on the ground. Proffesional rescuing organisations recognize the importance of carrying equipment necessary to save their own lives, and of uninterrupted communication with the base.
Call for help: Sometimes a cellular phone, a radio, or a third person might offer you the peace of mind you need on your rescue operation, knowing that help will arrive eventually. Make use of anything that can assist you in calling for help and do not attempt play the lone hero. Bear in mind that more people means a more effective rescue and better transport of the casualty. If you are still keen on rescuing the casualty all by yourself you might soon discover that this is an extremely exhausting job leaving you breathless within 10-15 minutes.
the conditions correctly: If you manage to reach the casualty, race against
the time will be crucial. You need to decide the aid necessary and apply within
seconds the procedures you have read on these pages for minutes.
Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation has to be applied immediately, for example, for a
person whose heart stopped beating and who is no longer breathing. A wrong
assessment, i. e., the person is still breathing and his heart beats fine, and
you will end up killing the person.
the casualty thoroughly and find out where the problem is by using all of your
senses (well, you may exclude taste). You can apply some emergency procedures,
like bandaging, to the person while examining. If the casualty is conscious,
converse with him and let him tell you what the problem might be. After all, its
his body, he will know the pain better than you. Moreover, ask him to move some
parts of his body like the arm or the leg, this will help you to determine
whether the spine is damaged or not. This is valuable information if there is a
necessity to carry the injured person. Place your hand on the forehead while
conversing. This way you will prevent any more damage to the spine, the neck, or
the brain when the person makes involuntary moves. If the casualty is conscious
but does not understand what you mean, mutters illogical sentences, or has a
drunken speech this might be the result of brain damage. Pinch his earlobes to
measure his reaction against pain stimulants. If there is no reaction to pain,
you have a difficult job in front of you.
the pupils of the casualty by directing a source of light toward his eyes, do
not forget to place your hand on his forehead to avoid involuntary moves. To do
this open the eyelids with your thumb and forefinger of the hand placed on the
forehead of the casualty. If you do not have light, open and close the lids to
observe the reaction of the pupils toward light. A healthy person's pupils
become smaller when exposed to light, just like the diaphrame of a photographing
machine. If there is damage to the brain the pupils do not react, except in
extraordinary incidents like the use of morphin (where pupils become smaller)
and athropine (where pupils become wider). In situations like these, the eyes
might not mirror the soul but they certainly mirror the workings of the brain.
When measuring the reaction of the casualty during basic cardio-pulmonary
resuscitation, observe whether the pupils are starting to react to light and
whether the pulse has come back.
While doing everything explained above you also need to examine the rhythm of the pulse by placing three fingers on the side of the neck and to watch for signs of breathing by placing the ear close to the casualty's nose. Start to apply cardio-pulmonary resuscitation only if there is no chest movement hinting that the casualty is not breathing, if the skin has started to turn purple (the skin colour of a normal human being is pink white; however, it may prove difficult to judge changes in color on dark-skinned people. In this case, determine any change by looking at the mucous membranes of the inner part of the lips), if you can get no pulse, if the casualty's body is still warm, and if his pupils react a bit.
Ensure that breathing continues: Check if there are any objects in the airway, the mouth or nose obstructing breathing. If the answer is yes, get rid of the object. Remember to pay attention to your fingers while they are in the mouth of a casualty, since he might involuntarily bite when unconscious. Use a pencils to control biting. After the cleaning process is finished, pull the chin forward with the neck supported with soft clothes in case there might be a neck injury. Try to check for neck injuries by slightly feeling with your fingers. If you cannot any clothes try a bag filled with sand or soil. If you are not sure about abnormalities, compare the organ you consider as damaged with the same organ in your body. This might help to assess the injuries more correctly.
Respiration (Expired Air
Resuscitation (EAR) or, more commonly known, Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation)
The procedure to follow for CPR is as follows: Never do this type of resuscitation on a soft surface. Always place the casualty on a hard, even surface. Tilt the head and lift the jaw. Check the airway, make sure it is open and unobstructed. Check for carotid (neck) pulse, if no pulse present kneel beside the casualty. Be sure you located the heart correctly. Place hands centrally over the heart, fingers entwined and lean over the casualty with arms straight and elbows locked. Commence 15 compressions with even pressure. Give two effective breaths, that is, breath 5 times into the airway of the casualty to achieve 2 effective breaths (see 'Artificial Respiration' above). Check the pulse always from the neck (the carotid pulse) to get a clearer pulse because this is the place where the main vein to the heart, the carotid arteri, is located. If there is pulse present stop resuscitation. If you continue the heart will stop at this point.
the event of external bleeding shock is very likely to follow. The casualty's
life depends on how much blood he is losing and how fast the loss occurs. A male
of 1.80 cm height and 80 kg weight can lose up to 6 litres of blood without
deteriorating into shock, whereas a female of 1.55 cm height and 50 weight can
lose only four kilos of blood after which she will surely deteriorate into a
shock condition. Early signs of shock after bleeding manifest themselves as
pale, cold and clammy-looking skin particularly at hands and feet.
pulse at this stage is rapid and shalow and rapid breathing. These are all signs
that oxygen levels have dropped due to decline in blood pressure. All organs
operate at an emergency level and provide blood to the heart and brain. This is
why the urin exit from the body will be little, mounting to an amount of a
teaspoonful. The urin has a light colour. If blood loss reaches 40% of the total
blood in the body, the following shock will be severe. Severe shock is sure to
affect vital organs of the body. The casualty responds to this state of shock by
displaying uneasy and irritable behaviour. As the vital functions weaken
hallucination sets in, but is quickly followed by a collapse into coma. The
first aid of a life threatening external bleeding should be to stop the
To stop the bleeding you need to follow these steps: Quickly check the wound for foreign matter and apply pressure to the wound. Apply a non-adherent dressing or, if you have one, a pad. Raise and support the injured part above the level of the heart if possible. Apply a firm roller bandage. If unable to stop the bleeding consider a constrictive bandage. Constrictive bandages are a measure of last resort, and should only be used in a life threatening situation where all else fails and there is no hope of help coming soon. If bleeding has finally stopped treat for shock. To do this position the casualty in a supine state with legs elevated. If unconscious, support the elevated legs. Since blood is drawn to the vital organs muscles are no longer able to maintain body temperature which progressively drops. A casualty in shock from excessive bleeding should be kept warm. Wrap anything you can find around the body, it might also help if a third person lies next to the casualty to provide warmth with his body temperature. Pain contributes to deterioration. Minimize the conditions that cause pain to the casualty. It is not possible to give fluids via veins. While still conscious, make sure the casualty drinks as much fluid as it is possible to prevent dehydration.
IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT FIRST AID IN THE WILD
all outdoor activities there is always the possibility of falling from high
places or getting hit by objects. The resulting injuries are mainly received to
the head, the neck, or extremity organs. If a major injury is suffered to the
skeleton system, it is wiser not to move the casualty. A preliminary check has
to be carried out, any bleeding stopped and fractures fixed firmly.
soon as you as the first aid provider suspect any head or neck injury wrap a
cloth or a towel around the neck prior to moving the casualty. In a natural
environment with no medical facilities, fill a nylon bag with soil, sand, or
water and place it under the head or neck for support. Head injuries are usually
accompanied by laceration cuts on the head and loss of tissue. These areas
should be sealed optimally with sterile pads. If no pads are present, use a
clean cloth instead. Take care to seal the wound completely as the most
important danger of wounds like these occuring in a natural environment is the
risk of tetanus. If you suspect an injury to the neck the casualty is strictly
not to be moved by one rescuer alone. If possible, leave the casualty until help
arrives and he can be moved by being lifted on all four sides. When fractures
are present keep in mind that the limb needs to be kept immobilised, this is why
you need to splint the limb. Do not attempt to fix the fracture yourself for you
cannot determine what type of fracture the limb has. Use branches or anything
solid and straight to splint the limb. You can, alternatively, use the aluminium
internal frames of your backpack to immobilise and camping materials to wrap the
You don't need medical training to determine most fractures, except perhaps complicated ones to the hips, spine or skull. You can always compare the limb you suspect has fractures with the ones in your body. Your job becomes a lot more easier when the casualty has not passed out and has sufficient consciousness to tell you where the pain is. If the casualty is unconscious everything will depend on your ability and knowledge. To discover a deformed bone, you need to carry out a detailed inspection. An inattentive inspection leads to great damage as the fracture will become an open one when the casualty is moved, and the bone will tear like a knife any limb and vein on its way out. This will also leave the fracture exposed to infections. If you attempt to move a casualty who has a broken leg, place a cotton or anything soft between both legs and wrap them both together. This procedure will alleviate the risk of damage to the healthy leg in case the fracture protrudes outside the leg. Do not forget to provide the casualty with ample pain killers prior moving. Dislocations are not as harfmful to the casualty as fractures. The ideal way to move a casualty with a dislocated bone is to carry him with as many people as is possible.