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mybackpackingblog
04-14-2011, 10:11
ok...Here is one I am very passionate about. I am an Emergency Medical Responder (almost equal to an EMT) (Not by trade, just something I wanted to learn) and I am a Certified First Aid/CPR/AED Instructor...Soon to be an Instructor in Wilderness First Aid.

Question one: Do you carry a first aid kit? If so, is it smart to leave things out that you may need for the sake of being Ultra Light?

Question two: Do you know how to use what is in the kit?

Question three: Have you had any formal training?

Question four: Could you save a life on the trail?

Storm
04-14-2011, 10:55
I carry a small first aid kit with pretty much just the basics. Some bandaids, antiseptic, mole skin, a small roll of tape. I have taken first aid and cpr. My thoughts are that if something very serious happens it will be prudent to get to medical attention off the trail. I also carry duct tape and paracord so it would be pretty easy to improvise splints.

cavediver256
04-14-2011, 10:56
I have thought about this same question for quite some time, and I have come to the conclusion that I carry the typical band-aids, one SAM splint, duct tape, and usually a few Motrin, but a full blown first aid kit (as far as I am concerned) would be way too involved and way too damn heavy !!!

There has been one occasion I wished I had brought an extra 20lbs worth of first aid equipment, and a box of narcotics, but even with all the treatment I could have provided on the side of that mountain, there was still 2 miles of trail between where we were and the ambulance at Neel's Gap. I don't think this young lady's husband and I could have carried her out without causing more damage/pain than already had been done.

I think the key is realizing that while capable of rendering care in the field, without transportation immediately available, you are limited as to what you can EFFECTIVELY do. I try to keep my first aid kit simple, practical and small.

garlic08
04-14-2011, 10:56
I'm a retired firefighter and First Responder. Could I save a life on the trail? That depends. I can do my best to secure the scene from other hazards, prevent further injuries to the patient and others on scene, open an airway, stop bleeding, perform rescue breathing, and do my best to arrange transport. I know from painful experience that a heart attack in the wilderness is probably going to defeat my best efforts.

Your effectiveness in an emergency is more a matter of training and cool-headedness, not your first aid kit.

It sounds like you're carrying the kit to help others. You've probably been taught that one of the things to do if you encounter a medical emergency is to rifle the patient's pack. Look in his/her first aid kit and use it first. You learn his/her medical needs and save your own kit.

One of the times I was asked to evaluate another hiker's pack for weight savings, I found a very heavy first aid kit, two or three pounds worth. It had epi pens, among other things. When I asked him what he was allergic too, he said, "Nothing, it's in case someone else needs it." When I asked him if it was fairly likely a severely allergic hiker would be carrying his or her own epi pens, he got a look of realization and put the pens away.

My kit weighs only a few ounces and contains tweezers, needle and thread, athletic tape, a few bandaids, a small tube of Neosporin. My bandanna is my dressing material and my duct tape could help make a splint. I have never needed any meds on the trail, not even pain relief, so I don't carry any. Anyone who normally needs those things should carry them.

mybackpackingblog
04-14-2011, 10:59
I carry a small first aid kit with pretty much just the basics. Some bandaids, antiseptic, mole skin, a small roll of tape. I have taken first aid and cpr. My thoughts are that if something very serious happens it will be prudent to get to medical attention off the trail. I also carry duct tape and paracord so it would be pretty easy to improvise splints.

10-4..."off the trail"...could be a long ways in some situations as you know. I just don't ever want to be caught in a situation where I wish I could have done this or that and it resulting in something horrible. Off course...there are some things you just can't fix on the trail...:)...Like say....a bear biting your trail mates head off...yeah..that would need some high level attention than what I could give...haha...

cavediver256
04-14-2011, 11:06
10-4..."off the trail"...could be a long ways in some situations as you know. I just don't ever want to be caught in a situation where I wish I could have done this or that and it resulting in something horrible. Off course...there are some things you just can't fix on the trail...:)...Like say....a bear biting your trail mates head off...yeah..that would need some high level attention than what I could give...haha...

By your nature (I can tell that by your training) you are going to always feel you could have/should have done more. Above all else, remember to do no harm, and what ever you do, don't become a second victim trying to render aid to someone else.

mybackpackingblog
04-14-2011, 11:08
By your nature (I can tell that by your training) you are going to always feel you could have/should have done more. Above all else, remember to do no harm, and what ever you do, don't become a second victim trying to render aid to someone else.

That's good advice my friend...that's one of the first things I teach people...scene safety, do no additional harm and you are #1...don't become a victim...

mybackpackingblog
04-14-2011, 11:14
I'm a retired firefighter and First Responder. Could I save a life on the trail? That depends. I can do my best to secure the scene from other hazards, prevent further injuries to the patient and others on scene, open an airway, stop bleeding, perform rescue breathing, and do my best to arrange transport. I know from painful experience that a heart attack in the wilderness is probably going to defeat my best efforts.

Your effectiveness in an emergency is more a matter of training and cool-headedness, not your first aid kit.

It sounds like you're carrying the kit to help others. You've probably been taught that one of the things to do if you encounter a medical emergency is to rifle the patient's pack. Look in his/her first aid kit and use it first. You learn his/her medical needs and save your own kit.

One of the times I was asked to evaluate another hiker's pack for weight savings, I found a very heavy first aid kit, two or three pounds worth. It had epi pens, among other things. When I asked him what he was allergic too, he said, "Nothing, it's in case someone else needs it." When I asked him if it was fairly likely a severely allergic hiker would be carrying his or her own epi pens, he got a look of realization and put the pens away.

My kit weighs only a few ounces and contains tweezers, needle and thread, athletic tape, a few bandaids, a small tube of Neosporin. My bandanna is my dressing material and my duct tape could help make a splint. I have never needed any meds on the trail, not even pain relief, so I don't carry any. Anyone who normally needs those things should carry them.

Yeah, I'm not gonna depend on what is in someone else BP to help them...really...there is nothing "life saving" in my pack...the most life saving things I have are my hands and like you said, a bandana...and maybe some stick...breathing and blood...the rest can wait...

Spokes
04-14-2011, 11:17
...

Question one: Do you carry a first aid kit? If so, is it smart to leave things out that you may need for the sake of being Ultra Light?

Question two: Do you know how to use what is in the kit?

Question three: Have you had any formal training?

Question four: Could you save a life on the trail?

1- Yes, in a ziplock bag. "May need" is not feasible. Planning for every contingency requires carrying med supplies in a a tackle box and lugging an oxygen tank with mask.

2- Yes. Apply ointment/antiseptic, peel and stick wound covering, or swallow Vitamin I.

3- Yes.

4. That depends on a number of variables.

mybackpackingblog
04-14-2011, 11:19
In Short...garlic08 said it right...skills will always outway what little bit you have in your bag...but...you do need to know how to USE what is in your bag...sure, most of the stuff is common sense first aid gear....but what about the...what if's? What if someone falls and is impaled somehow...you know...there are all kinds of what if's...I just thought it would be an interesting thread...btw...I use to carry a Military Field Soldiers Medic kit...it came is a pouch that was about 4" x 6" x 6"...can't remember the weight...lets' just say, I don't carry it anymore....being able to adapt and use the the things that surround you and all of your gear is your best bet...

mybackpackingblog
04-14-2011, 11:21
1- Yes, in a ziplock bag. "May need" is not feasible. Planning for every contingency requires carrying med supplies in a a tackle box and lugging an oxygen tank with mask.

2- Yes. Apply ointment/antiseptic, peel and stick wound covering, or swallow Vitamin I.

3- Yes.

4. That depends on a number of variables.

10-4...I keep mine in a ziplock bag as well...dito on the rest...

Jim Adams
04-14-2011, 17:39
training is the important part...you can make do with alot of things as first aid supplies.
Unless you are naked, you are wearing tons of bandages, the woods are full of splints. Learn how to control bleeding and 50% of you problems are solved. Most life threatening problems that you MIGHT have to deal with involve keeping an airway open and efficient.
Learn first aid and you will be far more prepared than the person who has a first aid kit and no training.
my kit: duct tape, ibuprophen, immodium and a 14g IV catheter....eveything else can be adapted.

geek

Reid
04-14-2011, 17:48
I use to not carry much first aid until I cut myself last year while splitting fire wood. I carry just enough to clean and protect a wound of that nature. I actually thought about whether or not I knew enough to save a life the other day. I am looking to take a class just for the peace of mind. I am more concerned about a hunting accident than anything and while that may involve guns and there's really not much you can do in that situation besides get them to a hospital I would still like to have a basic knowledge of cpr, first aid, etc. etc. I don't think I could identify a heart attack from a heat stroke at the moment. I would hate to be in a situation like that and not be able to make good descions.

Reid
04-14-2011, 17:49
I've been reading books about natural remidies and medicines found in the woods but it doesnt seem plausible at this point especially since you can buy proper first aid kits.

protargol
04-14-2011, 18:49
One thing I'd like to point out, I just got my CPR recertification and since CPR is usually only able to prolong someone's life, it's not likely to be useful to save someone's life if advanced medical treatment is far away. Rarely does a person regain consciousness from compressions and rescue breaths alone. A wilderness first aid class seems much more useful.

I personally just have Boy Scout training :)

mybackpackingblog
04-14-2011, 18:59
One thing I'd like to point out, I just got my CPR recertification and since CPR is usually only able to prolong someone's life, it's not likely to be useful to save someone's life if advanced medical treatment is far away. Rarely does a person regain consciousness from compressions and rescue breaths alone. A wilderness first aid class seems much more useful.

I personally just have Boy Scout training :)

You are right...heart attack, etc. very likely on the trail...even it you are able to resus., how long before ALS (Advance Life Support) shows up?

Yes, Wilderness First Aid is awesome...find a local Red Cross...They offer it...it teaches you how to use your surroundings to stablize limbs, etc....evacuate...etc.

All I am try to say really...is...don't ever have to regret not knowing what do in an emergency situation with what you do have with you.

BadAndy
04-14-2011, 19:10
I am a career paramedic with additional training in tactical medicine but no specific wilderness training. Personally, I carry a very basic first aid kit with a simple assortment of bandaging supplies, antiseptic, and ibuprofen more or less.

What will kill you quickly on the trail? Serious bleeding. Other than that, no other realistic or common traumatic injuries that you can get from hiking will kill you in the immediate furture. We need to focus on providing quality first aid, with our limited capabilites and getting proper help notified as soon as possible to effect an efficient rescue. A well packed load of appropriate shelter, clothing, food, and water will save many more lives than a tricked out first aid kit.

Acute medical emergencies, well, unfortunately in that environemnt you're pretty much SOL unles you have a chronic condition and have packed the contingencies (Epi Pen, Inhaler, glucose, ...)

I think it always pays to keep it simple and stick to the basics.

garlic08
04-14-2011, 20:11
... A well packed load of appropriate shelter, clothing, food, and water will save many more lives than a tricked out first aid kit...I think it always pays to keep it simple and stick to the basics.

Excellent points and well said.

mybackpackingblog
04-14-2011, 20:55
Excellent points and well said.


10-4...I agree completely...but you would also agree that if you don't know how to utilize those "basics"...your SOL as well...

BadAndy
04-14-2011, 21:43
10-4...I agree completely...but you would also agree that if you don't know how to utilize those "basics"...your SOL as well...

Oh absolutely, fundemental knowledge and preparation are paramount

Papa D
04-14-2011, 21:58
When I first became an EMT and later a WFR, I carried a big kit - - one day I realized that, smartened up, and pared it WAY down.

I still carry a pretty decent jump bag in the car, but for backpacking, I carry a zip lock with a pair of gloves, a roll of coaches tape and a tiny supply of meds -- asprin, vitamin I, tiny bit of iodine - (maybe an Epi Pen and Benadryl in warm months) - - it all fits in a quart ziplock sized pouch - you can chop up up someone's clothing for bandaging, improvise splints with things you find and have and generally make do with these things plus maybe your pocket knife- about the only medical condition you can really treat in the field is a MI and that requires one asprin and then a bunch of rescuers.

I see a lot of people with those big pre-made "Adventure Medical Kits" that know nothing about wilderness medicine. Those kits are just super expensive "packaging" for stuff you can pick up at any pharmacy - they are a real racket. If you want to carry a little kit, for goodness sake, make it up yourself.

I'd say that knowledge and the ability to assess a situation - Patient Assessment is, without a doubt, THE most important skill that you should learn - it alone is MUCH better than a bunch carrying a load of STUFF in a colorful bag.

Papa D
04-14-2011, 22:10
Oh - forgot to answer the "save the life question" - I might have saved a life - not sure - pulled a kid out of a creek in Pisgah Forest in early March in the snow - he was past mildly hypothermic - had stopped shivering, only pain responsive at first (not verbal) - not coherent - - dried him up good, put him in a bag with 2 hot water bottles, slowly re-warmed him - didn't want to hike out - 5-6 miles - stayed up with him (in shifts) all night -- added warm hydration and later warm oatmeal - ok in morning to walk out - not really sure if we saved his life or not - I say it's likely - didn't use anything from my first aid kit for that one, that's true. Another time, provided honey to a diabetic kid - blood sugar really low - maybe, who knows.

Jim Adams
04-14-2011, 22:15
When I first became an EMT and later a WFR, I carried a big kit - - one day I realized that, smartened up, and pared it WAY down.

I still carry a pretty decent jump bag in the car, but for backpacking, I carry a zip lock with a pair of gloves, a roll of coaches tape and a tiny supply of meds -- asprin, vitamin I, tiny bit of iodine - (maybe an Epi Pen and Benadryl in warm months) - - it all fits in a quart ziplock sized pouch - you can chop up up someone's clothing for bandaging, improvise splints with things you find and have and generally make do with these things plus maybe your pocket knife- about the only medical condition you can really treat in the field is a MI and that requires one asprin and then a bunch of rescuers.

I see a lot of people with those big pre-made "Adventure Medical Kits" that know nothing about wilderness medicine. Those kits are just super expensive "packaging" for stuff you can pick up at any pharmacy - they are a real racket. If you want to carry a little kit, for goodness sake, make it up yourself.

I'd say that knowledge and the ability to assess a situation - Patient Assessment is, without a doubt, THE most important skill that you should learn - it alone is MUCH better than a bunch carrying a load of STUFF in a colorful bag.

Assessment is everything. Bandages and splints can be adapted. CPR is the last chance for any cardiac arrest. Basically if you need more than a bandaid, you need an ambulance.
BTW, I also carry nitro [email protected] 58 yeqrs old I have it just in case.:D

geek

LDog
04-14-2011, 22:20
Question one: Do you carry a first aid kit? If so, is it smart to leave things out that you may need for the sake of being Ultra Light? I'm a Ski Patroller, and the pack I carry weighs just under 4 pounds. There is no way I'm gonna pack all that on a long hike.

On the trail, I carry a baggy with some bandaids, a couple of dressings, tape, a roll of gauze, antibiotic ointment, basic stuff for blisters, a pair of nitrile gloves, ibuprophen, aspirin, benzadrine, Imodium A D, and Tums. Mary and I each have extra large bandanas that could be used for bandages, slings, etc. I'm considering a CPR microshield, but I'm leaving my oral airways, sam splint and big dressings at home. Material for bandages, splints, stabilization and transportation can be improvised with stuff in packs and in the woods.

I carry more than some, but I feel my kit addresses most common scenarios.

Question two: Do you know how to use what is in the kit? Yes.

Question three: Have you had any formal training? I'm certified in Outdoor Emergancy Care, and in Mountain Travel and Rescue. Basic first reponder stuff tailored to the outdoors, w/ two-person pro CPR, and additional training in backcountry issues, search and rescue, land nav, extraction and transportation.

Question four: Could you save a life on the trail? Well, I have the knowledge, skills and stuff to do so, but as others have suggested, there are scenarios that require a quick hand-off to advanced care, and that just may not happen out there.

Northern Lights
04-14-2011, 23:46
ok...Here is one I am very passionate about. I am an Emergency Medical Responder (almost equal to an EMT) (Not by trade, just something I wanted to learn) and I am a Certified First Aid/CPR/AED Instructor...Soon to be an Instructor in Wilderness First Aid.

Question one: Do you carry a first aid kit? If so, is it smart to leave things out that you may need for the sake of being Ultra Light?

Question two: Do you know how to use what is in the kit?

Question three: Have you had any formal training?

Question four: Could you save a life on the trail?

Yes, I choose to carry a bit of extra weight just in case. I have just enough to safely give mouth to mouth. And something to provide support in case of a break. I never seem to get injured anything worse than bruises. But you never know, someone may need what I have in my first aid kit.

Northern Lights
04-14-2011, 23:47
oh yes and I have to have my CPR and first aid for work, I've only ever had to use it once thankfully.

double d
04-15-2011, 02:24
I'm taking the Wilderness First Aid class at the GMC's HQ this summer. Can't wait for the training, looking forward to it.

JaxHiker
04-15-2011, 11:24
I'm taking the Wilderness First Aid class at the GMC's HQ this summer. Can't wait for the training, looking forward to it.

I've been wanting to take WFA for a loooong time. Maybe one of these days.