Leading Training Expertise Trainer Jon Parry was recently out putting his mountain biking outdoor first aid skills into practice so we thought we’d share his thoughts…
I was recently on the medic team for the downhill World Mountain Bike championship held in Fort William and was struck by how few serious injuries we had to deal with. Many of the cyclists came off their bike but through their conditioning and training they managed to limit their injuries to just grazes and cuts. There was the odd serious injury however e.g. a fractured shoulder, a potential spinal injury and a concussion and it was the difference between these serious and the not so serious casualties that caught my attention.
In all outdoor first aid and wilderness medical situations, just by slowly and calmly approaching the casualty you get a very clear sense of how bad they are. That extra minute or two is time not wasted as it provides you with an invaluable sense of the urgency, what you think has happened to the patient and whether it is safe for you to approach. You arrive at the patient better prepared for what you eventually need to do for them!
Applying this back to our outdoor first aid training it really drives home the emphasis on the ‘Danger’ assessment in the DRABCDE procedure which we apply to all first aid incidents. It’s the first thing we do and we always say don’t rush into an incident. Instead take time to assess what is going on and whether it is safe for you to approach.
Next time you’re approaching an incident just think ‘Danger’ assessment; what’s happened to the patient, is it safe to approach, is there anyone else we need to be worried about, absorb the urgency of the situation, decide a rough plan of action and then proceed. Better to be prepared than to get yourself into a dangerous situation!”