Living in the UAE, affords us easy access to all kinds of incred- ible outdoor activities. Be it off- roading, trekking, diving, mountain biking, kayaking, surfing, desert camping there is something for everyone.
With the pleasure, occasionally comes the pain of injury which I am sure many of you will have experienced.
One of challenges with outdoor sports is they are often undertaken in a ‘Wilder-ness’ type environment. Wilderness can be defined as a remote geographical location more than an hour from definitive medical care.
The key considerations when participating in these activities include the dramatic im- pact of the environment, changing weather conditions, extreme heat to extreme cold, rain, difficulty in navigating the terrain and limited communication links.
Prevention is always better than cure. Preparing an emergency action plan for your activity, including checking weather, notify-ing others such as family of your planned route, ensuring you have basic first aid equipment appropriate for your activity and a mechanism for calling or accessing emer- gency services will minimise the risks.
Despite the best laid plans, accidents hap- pen, its par for the course particularly with extreme sports.
Being prepared for any accident or emer-gency and having the confidence, as well as the competence, to deal with the situation is an absolute must. It is recommended that outdoor sport enthusiasts undertake an ap- proved First Aid course, to gain a compe- tent skill level.
To get you started you can use the A, B, C, D, E approach to First Aid, it is a simple and easy to remember structure that can lit- erally save a life, always treat what kills first.
Before using the A,B,C,D,E system, rescu-ers should always start with the 3 S’s. Safety, Stimulation, Shout for Help.
Does the environment pose any risk to the rescuer or the casualty? Consider the mechanism of the injury
Talk to the casualty, are they conscious? If they are conscious ask if they have any pain, illnesses, allergies.
Shout for Help
Call other members of the group to assist, and call emergencies if alone call emergen- cy services immediately
On completing the 3 S’s rapidly move on to the A, B, C, D, E assessment.
A – Airway
Can the casualty talk to you in full sen- tences? if they can the airway is clear. Listen for unusual noises such as gurgling, snor- ing, wheeze. Clear the airway as quickly as possible, usually by positioning them on their side if unconscious or sitting upright if conscious.
B – Breathing
Is the casualty breathing? Look at the chest for normal rise and fall with both sides mov- ing equally. Unequal movement can indicate a life threatening emergency.
Observe the colour of the skin, a bluish, grey tone often means poor oxygen levels.
If the casualty is not breathing you may need to assist them using rescue breaths
C – Circulation
Does the casualty have a pulse and is it regular and strong? Check by feeling at the wrist, or neck. If you can’t feel it you may have to compress the chest (CPR – cardio- pulmonary resuscitation)
Check for any signs of active bleeding you may have to apply pressure to the wound
to control bleeding and if it’s a limb injury consider elevating it, without causing pain. Are they showing signs of dehydration?
Give them water, even better an electrolyte drink
D – Disability
Consider the risk of neck and back injury avoid any movement.
Is the casualty conscious, and orientated? If they are unconscious their airway is at risk, manage as in Airway.
If they are conscious ask simple questions such as name, where they are, date to ascer- tain any potential injury to the brain.
Is there any sign of obvious fracture? If there is immobilise the limb to minimise movement.
E- Exposure / Environment
Check the casualty from head to toe, looking for bruising, rashes, swollen areas, paying particular attention to the abdomen where internal bleeding may have occurred. Check for burn, bite, sting marks and identify with casualty what may have caused them. Consider the temperature of the environment. Does the casualty need to be cooled / warmed?
Do you need to move the casualty? Plan how you can do this without causing injury to yourself or further injury to the casualty.
Most wilderness injuries and illnesses are relatively minor in nature with the 6 most common injuries being:
1.Wounds and infections
3.Knee and Ankle Injuries
However, if they are left untreated they can become significant. Using the A,B,C,D,E system to assess and reassess assists the rescuer to keep the casualty stable until definitive medical services take over care.
Since safety is of paramount importance for the adventure academy we will offer during May and indoor introduction to wilderness first aid. The introductions should give you some basic knowledge and should encourage you to do a proper and certified first aid course which is not only useful for the wilderness since accidents can happen anywhere.