I don’t like to imagine myself leaning over my boyfriend asking him what day it is, what his middle name is, and if he recalls what happened in the minutes prior. None of us does.
But best way to face the possibility that at some point in our adventures a companion will get hurt is to be prepared. The first step is to get an education in wilderness medicine, be it a wilderness first-aid course or a wilderness EMT course. The next step is repetition. Familiarity breeds calm, competent reactions in stressful moments.
If a wilderness medicine course is not in the cards for you in the near future or if it’s been a while since your last class, do some research online before your next adventure. The Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS (WMI) has a number of resources on hand for refreshing the medical mind, including scenarios and case studies online. Taking the time to study these will make all the difference should you find yourself in that dreaded aforementioned moment.
WMI also recently released two educational videos with a wealth of information based on the WMI curriculum. These are the first in a new “how to” series produced by NOLS and are based on a scenario in which a patient falls from a tree (a “five-tree” route). The two WMI instructors who respond walk viewers through the steps of identifying injuries. The scene is a winter environment, so warming techniques are also covered.
The second clip takes viewers through a focused spine assessment to determine if it is necessary to continue spine immobilization.