We are busy packing and preparing for one of our team to head off to Gabon for ten days of first aid training, risk assessment and emergency management and remote worker support for a new project starting up out there. So since it’s been a while since our last refresher quiz – what better than a little Gabon themed quiz to top up your outdoor first aid and field safety skills…
You are managing a remote field camp in Gabon. One of your team takes a big fall whilst scrambling on a rocky outcrop, twenty minutes walk from the camp. They land on their front, they are unresponsive but you can detect breathing. You are on your own with no phone reception… what would you do?
The answer is… it depends! What it mainly depends on is are they now in a STABLE, OPEN, DRAINING AIRWAY position – if so, you could make them safe, protect from the elements and go to find help. However if they are not, you would have to adjust the position to ensure their airway and breathing is maintained whilst you are away. Move them as little as possible, support the head and neck – but you must make sure their airway will be maintained whilst you are away from them.
You are working in a remote field area of Gabon. On a trek deep into the forest you discover a river blocks your path into a target study site. What considerations would you make in deciding whether or not to cross the river?
Rivers can potentially be a serious hazard and sadly drowning does occur on overseas trips. Therefore we would need to make a number of careful assessments – all of which will be governed by the overall principle: “If in doubt – stay out”!
We;d have to recommend some more training such as our RLSS Water Safety Management Programme, but some considerations would be:
1 – How crucial is this particular site – we have to balance up risk and benefit – an element of risk management which is too often forgot
2 – Your own experience and knowledge of rivers and river crossings
3 – The speed and depth of the water
4 – The entry and exit points
5 – Any hazards in the water, currents, entrapment objects, animals, water borne disease…
6 – If it rains whilst I am on the other side – what will the river look like then…
The number of considerations and the knowledge and experience required to judge all these things takes us back to where we originally started… “If in doubt, stay out”.