By Brigham Madden-Cox
My job at MobileRVing is to write you into safety while you’re out in the wild or on the road. Getting into the great outdoors is certainly invigorating, but it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful; accidents can surprise even the most tentative of travelers.
That’s why this next update in my series of survival tips aims to present a couple of basic first aid techniques that will help you to save lives—maybe even your own—when preparation and information inevitably lose out to fickle Lady Luck.
Get Some Basic First Aid Training
First off, it would be grossly irresponsible for me to give you the impression that this guide is all that you need to be safe on your own or to become a master of advanced first aid. In most situations that require first aid you will always want to defer to the professionals if at all possible. Wounds may be easier to bind, airways easier to clear, but regardless you should contact an ambulance or get your “patient” to a hospital as soon as possible.
That being said, certification classes for basic first aid procedures are relatively easy to find and are a great to augment your knowledge and skills. Remember that procedures like the Heimlich maneuver, CPR, and basic bandaging are instrumental when it comes to keeping someone alive as you wait for assistance. Speaking of…
The Five Simple Heimlich Maneuver Steps
One of the most common medical emergencies that a layman can easily handle is choking. First aid for choking is outlined in the five simple steps of the Heimlich maneuver:
If you are alone and choking you can also perform the same procedure on yourself, though it will be more difficult to generate the requisite force.
- Quickly get behind the choking person.
- Bend them at about a 45-degree angle and wrap your arms around their waist.
- Press a fist on the person’s stomach, above the belly button.
- Cup the fist with your other hand and pull your hands up into their stomach as hard as possible.
- Repeat Step 4 until the lodged object is ejected and the airway cleared.
Mastering Proper CPR Technique
When it comes to CPR it is important to remember that “A” and “B” come before “C” in the alphabet. And no, I’m not sorry for being patronizing; I just stopped you from killing that guy that you’re trying to save. Before performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) you must first be sure that the person is not breathing, otherwise you could cause them further harm.
But what about “A”? Right. “A” stands for airway, which you need to make sure is clear before you can judge whether the person has the ability to breathe on their own or not. Got it? Good.
Even though it is one of the basics of first aid the directions for how to do CPR have actually changed even within the past ten years. First, stack both hands on the center of the unconscious person’s chest.
Next, thrust into their chest 30 times, being careful to meet a rhythm and to only compress their chest to one third of its depth.
Lift the chin and pinch the nostrils, then blow two breaths into the open mouth.
Continue “at the speed of approximately five repeats in two minutes, according to Better Health Channel's basic first aid article, until a professional can relieve you.
Handling a Few Types of Bleeding
If you’re anything like me, different types of wounds and different types of bleeding are probably the things that you want to know the most about. That being said, most wounds that produce a large quantity of blood are not manageable in the wilderness. First aid for blood loss will always have a final step of “seek medical attention,” unless it is a typical minor injury.
With minor bleeding, essentially all that you need to do is clean the wound of any dirt or detritus and be sure to redress it frequently. If you cannot clean it on your own, you must seek medical attention, as you will be at risk of an infection.
Out in the wild severe bleeding can only be managed, not sufficiently treated, so contacting an emergency dispatcher is paramount. While you wait you should raise any injured limbs above the heart, apply direct pressure to the wound, and dress it as thoroughly and tightly as possible. For wider wounds you will have to do your best to pull the separated edges together before bandaging. Do NOT extract any objects that caused the wound. Do NOT use a tourniquet.
If you suspect that someone may have internal bleeding (symptoms described here), it is crucial that you get him or her to a hospital as soon as possible. In the meantime you should do your best to warm them, prevent them from ingesting any food or liquids, and keep them as calm. If they are unconscious, or fall unconscious and stop breathing, perform CPR.
Click here for more information on any of these basic first aid techniques, or, better yet, enroll in a nearby first aid class to ensure that you are adequately prepared to manage outdoor accidents until professional help can arrive.
You might also like these related blog articles!
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- You Gonna Eat That? - Foraging Basics for Edible Plants & Berries
Photo Credit: Adventure First Aid @1staidacademy on Twitter