The Importance of First Aid and Medical Training on the Trail.
Author Justin Sturgill is an active outdoors enthusiast and experienced first responder. Follow him and his families adventures at @misplaced_overland. Let’s dive into how important overland first aid is on the trail.
As a medical first responder for years I have taken all kinds of classes on medical scenerios that could or could not happen in the field. Some have proven to be useful and others, thankfully have been filed away in the back of my mind hopfully never to be heard from again. As I found myself preparing for another adventure in the northern part of lower Michigan I decided I should spend a few miniutes going through and restocking my first aid kit, I keep in the Tundra. I’m not going to bore you with a list of all the things I keep in my bag but if you’re interested a quick Google search would reveal lots of information on the subject.
What I am going to tell you is that it is in your best interest to spend some time on the subject even if you don’t think its that important because I’m about to tell you how just having the basics helps in a BIG way. My wife and I arrived at camp with the New Holland Overland Group seeming to be the last to arrive for the evining which lately is our anthem. We grabbed a spot among the trees and began the quick task of setting up camp. The moon was bright and the temperature was very mild for February making the job very easy. As I knelt down to pound in the last stake for the tent I felt a trickle down my nose. Before I could react I noticed a dark spot in the snow below me and then another and another and then Niagara! I have fought nose bleeds before but nothing like this. I used every known method from my arsenal, all the gauze, trauma pads and even an ice pack had been used to try and slow it down still nothing. The stream of blood had went from one side to both sides to gaging me on its way down my throat. (Gross I know.) After some discussion and borrowing a jeep from a friend and fellow overlander who just happens to also be an EMT we set out for the nearest hospital which was about 45 minutes away.
Upon ariving at the, emergency room we were quickly checked in and placed into our own little room awaiting the doctors grand enterence. After some time and our normal hospital interview I was seen and asked to try and expel all of the hard earned clotting I had achieved into the waist basket. After this little task the docter was able to clean me up with a bit of nasal sanitizer that tasted like swamp water and burned like no other, this coupled with a nasal plug brought the whole thing to a screeching hault. Start to finish I had been bleeding for about 2 hours. As we left the emergency room, and began our journey back towards camp I couldn’t help but be thankful for so many things. For starters friendships that had only just started a few months ago, without them the task of making it out of the woods to the hospital would have proved to be difficult. My wife who has the patience and skills to drive and navigate the trail back to civilization with little to no help from her partner in crime, and that little first aid kit so carfully packed just days before the trip. Man I’m glad I had that thing, although not necessarily life threating it did help me realize just how fast our situation can change and having the right tools when we need them can get us healthy and back doing what we love.
Make sure to learn from Justin’s advice, have a plan, have some training and be prepared in an overland first aid event.
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Photo courtesy of @luke_brasseaux
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