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.

Safety

Does the environment pose any risk to  the rescuer or the casualty? Consider the  mechanism of the injury

Stimulation

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

2.Burns

3.Knee and Ankle Injuries

4.Blisters

5.Dehydration

6.Shock

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.