This quote is from the education programI’ve recently finished and is an excellent saying of how outdoor people should think. The course I’ve taken is called Wilderness Advanced First Aid, WAFA. The school, which goes under the name NOLS and stands for National Outdoor Leadership School, is located in USA and was founded 50 years ago. Me and my class were very lucky to get this opportunity to study this course – and also to have two inspiring teachers learning us how to take care of injured people. The course lasted for five days with hours in school from 8 am to 5 pm, and also night shifts on wednesday and thursday. On thursday we got to have scenarios with highschool students acting injured patients.
You never know what will happen in the wilderness
There are some indicators to have in mind if the persons neck needs to be immobilized and if you suspect there could be a neck- or back injury you need to immobilize the head immediately.
- Burning injury
The skin can be injured on different levels. Outdoor people usually burn their hands and feet because of sitting down when cooking their food in the outdoor kitchens. If the skin is injured you need to cool it down with lukewarm water at least 15 min to get deep down in the tissue. Remove rings and watches. All full-skin-injuries (all the way down to muscle tissue, skeleton and fat tissue) should be evacuated. Also if you’ve injured your face, neck, hands, feet, armpits and growings.
You can get blisters from friction, burning injuries and frostbites. One rule is to not puncture a blister because of the infection risk, but if you need to continue walking in your boots you’ll probably need to drain, wash and put tape (for example blistoban) on the blister. When you drain the blister the needle needs to be sterilized! The best way to avoid blisters is to check your feet regularly and if you get the smallest sense that your skin is getting warmer on a certain spot – take off your boots and cover with tape or something that takes away the friction.
This condition can be very serious and can go very fast. Hypothermia means that your body decreases in temperature and below 35 degrees you are in a mild stage of hypothermia. You’re shivering, your pulse increases to give more blood to your body, you can get frustrated and angry. Here you need to get your self activated/in movement, dry and more clothes, water and food.
Moderate hypothermia means you’ve reach another state of temperature drop in your body. Your body is now shivering without control and your state of mind is on a low level. You’re pale and passive. You’ll need the same treatment as on the ”mild stage” and also get in a ”warm package” – for example wrapped in warm clothes in a sled.
Serious hypothermia means you’re unconscious, no shivering, your heart is weak and you’ll probably need help with your breathing. This person have to be wrapped in warm clothes and in a ”warm-package” and evacuated immediately.