You are out in the Black Mountains enjoying a day out with friends, you have just bagged the last peak of the day and heading back to civilisation and the pub on a high to toast your achievements of the day. You are 4km away from your car and your friend slips and falls landing awkwardly on his arm – it’s obvious it is broken and he is in a great deal of pain what do you do next……….
Unfortunately things can go wrong, normally when you least expect it to. Being prepared and having the skills to deal with these things, especially a medical emergency, when it happens is vitally important to me and Trigpoint Adventures. This is why I like to make sure that my skills in treating medical emergencies are regularly updated through attending a two day dedicated outdoor first aid course.
During the course we cover everything we can expect to encounter in the mountains including but not limited to:
- Unresponsive casualty
- Heart conditions
- Breaks and sprains
- Hypothermia and Hyperthermia
- Bites and stings
- Bleeding (internal and external)
- Defibrillator use
- Spinal injury
- Crush injury
- Breathing conditions
The course is split between theory and practicals including scenarios in order to put us through our paces. The scenarios in particular are really powerful tools to put into practice what we have covered.
The scenarios usually start with the casualty being given a brief in private on their condition, how it happened and how they should act. The first aider is then given a brief on the situation, like where you are, if you have phone signal and what you may or may not have seen.
The role play then begins, there is no ready, steady, go in real life! The casualty acts out their condition as briefed and the first aider has to treat the systems as seen. If you have a casualty who has no issues in play acting (which they normally don’t have an issue with) you get quickly sucked into thinking this is a real life scenario and you are fully concentrating in doing what you believe is right in preserving or stabilising the life of the casualty.
People may think that these scenarios can be stressful but I normally find that something triggers inside and you focus completely on the casualty in order to determine what has happened or what is wrong and to start the right course of action in a calm and collective manner. Somewhat similar to real life and therefore provides excellent practice and preparation.
As I am a Mountain Leader, I am required to be current with this qualification, however, I believe this is a vital skill for people heading up in the mountains with their family and friends and would encourage people who enjoy the great outdoors to attend a similar course.