Monthly Archives: February 2013

Water Safety – a dynamic environment

Whether on expedition, fieldwork or outdoor programmes,  water safety usually features in some form or another. They constantly change and potentially pose the greatest risk to any activity in the outdoors – they are a key element in field safety!

A well managed and supervised activity near water by well trained leaders and staff is key to good safety practice. Elements of water safety management include considering the following:

  • Location – remoteness and access
  • People – background, experience, fitness, behaviour
  • Environment – climate and weather, moving, still, lake, beach, sea
  • Activity – working near, on or in water, working in groups or on own

The emphasis on good management and access to trained staff and leaders is demonstrated in UK based drowning statistics. 86% of all drownings in the UK occur in outdoor, open water environments where there is little or no access to help or rescue services. Only 3% of drownings occur in a swimming pool where it is well managed and supervised.

The RLSS National Water Safety Management Programme has been designed to address this very problem by providing a pragmatic, principle based training programme for people working near open water in the outdoors. We are an RLSS Centre and now run this course. Our next course will be on 13-14 April 2013. To book please get in touch with the office or see our website.

Controlling Major Bleeding – Saving Lives in outdoor first aid

Blood loss caused by traumatic injury is the 2nd leading cause of death in civilian incidents. Yet there are a number of relatively easy and quick actions the lay person or first aider can do to prevent further blood loss and increase chance of surviving.

It is a key element in good first aid training courses and is especially important for those working in remote areas or needing to do outdoor first aidOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA.

This short article aims to summarise the main options available…

In life-threatening bleeds the sole aim is to prevent further blood loss. You cannot replace lost blood outside of a hospital setting! Your options are:

Direct Pressure – simple but effective – use your (or their) hands, clothing, towels, anything absorbent and apply with as much pressure as required directly over the wound.

Elevation – again simple but effective – raise the affected part above the level of the heart.

Indirect Pressure – there are certain points on the upper arm and in the groin which allow you to apply pressure to arteries to stop further blood flowing into the limb and therefore lost out of the wound. Easy to do but needs some training.

Tourniquets – in urban settings these are generally not needed because of the proximity to professional help. In remote settings they can save someone’s life. Our understanding of their usefulness in a pre-hospital setting is much greater as a result of recent conflicts in the Middle East. Studies show that a tourniquet can be applied to a limb for up to 2 hours (and in many cases more!) with minimal damage to the tissue. Training is highly recommended before considering this option.

Which methods you use will depend on the circumstance BUT the main thing is to act fast and stop any further loss of blood in life-threatening bleeding.

Learn more about managing wilderness first aid situations on our outdoor first aid course.

MIDAS and the maze of minibus training

Do you or your staff need to drive minibuses?

Many people end up in the position of having to drive a Minibus without having had any further driver training since passing their driving test.

Often people are unclear if they are qualified, nervous of the size of the vehicle, worried that they might hit something, or not be able to manoeuvre it or squeeze into parking spaces.

Unusual minibus hazard

The solution –  The MiDAS training and assessment scheme was originally developed by Hampshire County Council and is now administered nationally through the Community Transport Association UK.  It is a nationally recognised and accredited  training and assessment scheme giving the standard to which all minibus drivers should drive.

We run the MiDAS scheme and can provide both classroom based and practical driver training at your school, company, college or university. Each driver will spend time behind the wheel,  improving their existing skill levels and gaining confidence with these larger vehicles.  Developing safer driving practices and reducing those little knocks and bumps that cost time and money to be fixed.

Staff that passed their car driving test after Jan 1997 will not have a D1 category licence and would need to take the DSA Minibus test at a relevant Driving Test Centre locally. They will also not have category E allowing them to tow larger trailers. Contact us for more information and course availability.