As any instructor will tell you the most dangerous part of any outdoor adventure is travelling to the venue. This is true but that does not mean we can ignore the possibility of having to deal effectively with an accident. And of course we do take it seriously, with all Craggers’ volunteers having current first aid qualifications. These range from basic first aid through to Appointed Person, the five day First Aid at Work, Paediatric First Aid etc.
Five of our volunteers have gone further by doing wilderness first aid, arguably more relevant to deal with the ‘worst case scenarios’ that a group like ours may encounter.
Normal urban first aid courses are based on the premise that you are never more than one hour away from ‘definitive medical care’ this is a condition we can not guarantee on many Craggers expeditions where we are out in the wilds possibly in areas without mobile phone coverage.
The wilderness first aid course was delivered by the absolutely brilliant Muir Walker Medics Co-op. The 16 hour course is designed for anyone who travels, lives or works in a remote geographical location more than one hour from definitive medical care. The course fulfils the necessary requirements of both the MLT Mountain and Walking Group Leader awards and the British Canoe Union coaching schemes. It is used by various DoE regions for those training for the BELA and associated NGB awards and includes paediatric protocols for those leading young people. Muir Walker Medics’ instructors are qualified as professional trainers and deliver courses with a practical perspective gained from their background in emergency care - from here in the UK to Aid Work overseas.
We learned how to recognise and treat a wide variety of the illnesses and injuries that can arise in the outdoors. We were able to practice skills such as assessing a casualty, bandaging wounds, splinting fractures, reducing dislocations, and making and carrying improvised stretchers.
This year two of us went further by doing the Remote Care course. The intensive 20 hour, course covers detailed management of both medical conditions and trauma in remote settings. We got the chance to practice advanced skills such as spinal immobilisation & IV canulation, and learn through scenario based training, including night exercises.
Some highlights of the course included: A Basic Wilderness First Aid recap, managing emergencies in remote locations, IV canulation and drips, genitourinary problems,protracted casualty monitoring, splinting & spinal immobilisation, travel health & medication, oxygen therapy, night time scenario training, physical & environmental hazards, eye injuries, working with rescue helicopters, expedition dangers, expedition medical kits, IM injections and improving the odds of survival.
We both learned an enormous amount and feel much better able to cope with an emergency anywhere in the world.
I must thank Joe and Amy from Muir Walker Medics for delivering such brilliant courses.