American Partisan: First Aid in a Wilderness Setting

American Partisan has a two part article on wilderness first aid by former combat medic.

First Aid in a Wilderness Setting, Part I

Wilderness First Aid, Part II

After having a Positive Mental Attitude to survive, and once you’ve located Shelter, the next on the list of priorities is First Aid. This will likely be in a wilderness environment. Just so we can put a label on this, lets look at some definitions.

Wilderness is defined as “An uncultivated, and inhospitable region.”

First Aid is defined as “help given to a sick or injured person until full medical treatment is available.”

I’ll go a step further with defining this by saying wilderness, medically speaking, is an hour or more from the time the incident occurred, to treatment in a definitive care facility. Wilderness First Aid is also all about Improvising. We often can’t lug around an ALS ambulance with us or pack our gear with with the contents of a paramedic’s trauma bag. We can take minimal supplies and the rest is improvising. We can splint a leg fracture or configure a c-collar with a sleeping pad. We can use a bandana as a trauma dressing.

In a wilderness medical setting as well as the urban setting, we can categorize our patient as either Medical or Trauma. A medical patient in my experience as a former Combat Medic and Wilderness EMT seems to be more subjective, which means they tell you what’s wrong with them more than you can see it objectively. With trauma, it’s the opposite. A person who crashes their mountain bike on a trail and has an open fracture to an arm is pretty self-explanatory.

S-A-B-A

S-A-B-A stands for “Self-Aid / Buddy-Aid”. Self-Aid sounds easy when we know how we feel and pretty much know we crashed a bike or twisted an ankle on the trail. Except for that, we might have to perform some functions with only one hand, reduced or no vision, and not being able to move around because of trauma to our bodies. I would emphasize to practice applying a dressing & bandage to yourself with the use of one arm or blindfolded. This can be done while sitting on the couch watching TV. Buddy Aid is being able to medically assist another person…