Tag Archives: outdoor first aid

Outdoor activities with young people – quiz

We’ve just launched our new forest schools outdoor first aid course specifically focused on those working with young people in the outdoors.  So this quiz focuses on a few scenarios to get you thinking about first aid and field safety planning for outdoor activities with young people – for all you first aiders, outdoor instructors and parents – get swotting up…

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Question 1

You are running a forest schools session when an 8 year old trips and falls, putting his arm into a fire.  There are no obvious blisters but the arm is red and clearly very sore – what do you do?

Answer

The simple and easy treatment for burns is cold water, cold water, cold water.  Ideally you want to get it under a running tap and keep running cool water over it until is stops hurting. If you are in the woods and not immediately by a tap, tipping water over it and catching the water in a bucket and then repeating can be a good way of keeping water running over the area with a limited supply.  Does it need to go to hospital?  Obviously if in any doubt, get checked out, but as a rough guide a blister the size of your hand should be checked out, a superficial burn (red, with no blister) should go to hospital if it is the area of five hand palms (of the casualty!).

Question 2

You are running a rock climbing session with a group of teenagers.  One of the students knocks a loose rock about the size of an apple from the crag.  It hits another student in the head. She was wearing a helmet and is conscious and insists she is fine.  Half an hour later one of their friends tells you they’ve been feeling sick and dizzy though the student herself insists to you she feels fine.  What do you do?

Answer

The simple rule with head injuries is better safe than sorry.  Any change in conscious level, related to a bang on the hand should be checked out in hospital.  In this case, it says the student was conscious, but with symptoms deteriorating (feeling sick and dizzy after the event) this is cause for concern and certainly a reason to get it checked out.

Obviously aside from the medical issue there is the matter of how you handle the fact that the student is saying they are fine.  This comes down to soft skills which can be every bit as important as the first aid skills in getting across gently but firmly the potential risks and the need to be checked out.

There are also the practical considerations which will depend on the circumstances of the age of the students, the number of staff or other responsible people available etc.  These factors will determine how you handle the logistics of getting that person to the hospital whilst ensuring the safety of other participants.

If its time for you to update your risk managementwater safetyfield safety or outdoor first aid skills then just get in touch.

Gabon themed field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

We are busy packing and preparing for one of our team to head off to Gabon for ten days of first aid trainingrisk 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…

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

 

Question 1

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?

Answer

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.

Question 2

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?

Answer

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”.

If its time for you to update your risk management,  field safety or outdoor first aid skills then just get in touch.

The Wild Network and more evidence of the importance of wildtime

Our Training Manager Dom Hall spent two days last week as a member of Nature’s Marketing Department!

The Wild Network is a growing group of people concerned about the loss of access we all (but especially kids) have to the great outdoors and their increasingly disappearing connection to nature.  It was really inspiring to see nearly 100 people coming together, giving up their time and skills to try to broaden this access and give more people this opportunity.

We’ve always been passionate about using outdoor first aid,  field safety and outdoor skills training not as a barrier, but an enabler of outdoor activities, to give instructors, teachers and parents the confidence to get out in the outdoors and enjoy its many benefits. So we were delighted that Dom could represent us at the Wild Network event where nearly 100 people from schools, outdoor educators and technical specialists came together to address challenges focused on getting people outdoors.

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So please have a look at the work of the Wild Network, and also it seemed apt to share another article published recently in the Guardian emphasising how important time outdoors is.

First Aid Quiz time… ready, steady… GO

It is really important to keep your outdoor first aid and field safety skills up to speed, so stop what you are doing, strained your brain back to your last training course and see if you can answer these…

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Question 1

If you read our last newsletter – this should be an easy one!

You are out skiing.  Your friend falls at speed and immediately following the incident is confused and dizzy.  A few minutes later they are feeling fine and insist they are OK and continue skiing for the rest of the day.  At dinner that evening they feel sick and leave the table.  When you go to find them they say they have been sick but are feeling OK now and just want to go to bed.  What would you do?

Answer

The simple rule is any change in conscious level, following a head injury should go to hospital to be checked by a professional.  In particular now that symptoms have got worse rather than better we would be further concerned and should monitor them very carefully and if at all possible get them checked by a doctor.  It could be a concussion or a compression – one will generally get better, the other could get worse and even be fatal – so play it safe and get them checked.  If you would like more of a recap, check out our blog on dealing with head injuries.

Question 2

You are organising a geography fieldwork trip for a group of 30 undergraduates to the Low Tatras Mountains in Slovakia.  You are preparing a risk assessment – what would be your top five considerations…

Answer

OK – lots of potential for debate in coming up with a top five but we’ve gone with:

1 – Transport – probably has to come in any top five, sadly road traffic collisions account for most of the serious incidents which occur on overseas trips

2 – Downtime – management of what the students do when not in the program of study is a tricky business which needs some thinking about!

3 – Slips and falls in a mountainous environment – here we have both the common and relatively non-severe twists, sprains and breaks, and of course more serious falls from height.

4 – Weather – any factor which is as changeable and sometime unpredictable as the weather can be a major hazards.

5 – Wolves and bears – interesting one, the chances of a wolf or bear attack is really pretty slim, but clearly the consequences could be great so that’s snuck it into our top 5!

Hope you found our field safety and outdoor first aid quiz useful. If its time for you to update your risk management,  field safety or outdoor first aid skills then just get in touch.

The key signs and symptoms of head injuries

Amid the thrills and spills of the winter olympics there was a timely reminder of the importance of wearing a helmet when skiing and snowboarding.  Sarka Pancochova from the Czech Republic fell while taking her first jump, landing on her head with so much force that her helmet was cracked in two. Thanks to the helmet, she walked away, but from an outdoor first aid point of view we thought it might be timely to refresh everyone’s memory on what to look out for in case of a bang on the head...

Massive snowboard crash but helmet saves head injuries

Massive snowboard crash but helmet saves head injuries

Remember – head injuries can be more serious than they first seem:

If there is damage inside the skull, the external symptoms may be minimal at first, so stick to the golden rule – any change in conscious level, associated with a bang to the head – get checked out at the hospital…

What to look out for:

Key symptoms, include:

  • Headaches, dizziness and nausea
  • Unequal pupils
  • Balance or visual disturbance
  • Memory loss
  • Fluid coming from ears or nose
  • Changes in mood / behaviour

Remember

These symptoms can be subtle and may develop over time, so you may see none of them intially.  Monitoring is therefore the crucial thing – and if in doubt, get checked out.

Other important symptoms are shown is this table along with important do’s and don’ts courtesy on the Headway charity.

further symptoms of head injuries

 

If you experience any of the symptoms above in the days following a head injury you should seek medical attention.

Dos and Don’ts

  • DO make sure you stay within reach of a telephone and medical help in the next few days
  • DO have plenty of rest and avoid stressful situations
  • DO show this factsheet to a friend or family member who can keep an eye on your condition
  • DO take painkillers such as paracetamol for headaches
  • DON’T stay at home alone for 48 hours after leaving hospital
  • DON’T drink alcohol until you feel better
  • DON’T take aspirin or sleeping tablets without consulting a doctor
  • DON’T return to work until you feel ready
  • DON’T play any contact sport for at least three weeks without consulting your doctor
  • DON’T return to driving until you feel you have recovered. If in doubt consult your doctor.

The Headway charity provides hugely valuable resources and information on head injuries including more on the effects of brain injury, and a collection of further resources on recognising sport concussion injuries.

This article can only cover the basics – it is no substitute for attending a full training course to learn how to carry out effective first aid and is obviously no substitute for seeing a medical professional in the case of a head injury – remember, if in doubt, get checked out.

If you would like to update your risk management,  field safety or outdoor first aid skills then just get in touch.

Jobs in the outdoors – top tips

On many of our courses, we are asked, “how do I get jobs in the outdoors which use my outdoor skills”.  So here Zoe Allen, guest blogger for Training Expertise, a writer and human resource specialist gives three top ideas for those looking for a career change into the outdoor sector:

So you have got a tight grasp on the concept of risk management, risk reduction, first aid, and field safety. You contemplate if it would be a good move to start pursuing new trails using these valuable skills, but you haven’t found the path just yet. Do not fret – there are a number of options for you to take…

Paramedic

More than just loud sirens, fast rides, and stretchers; paramedics are vital members of the medical workforce. Aside from implementing basic first aid solutions, they are responsible for performing clinical procedures as well as administering drugs. The most dedicated, focused, and adept will be successful paramedics.

Outdoor activities will be a terrific base for developing future skills as a paramedic. Outdoor first aid is definitely a must-learn. The Health Professions Council (HPC) regulates the paramedic selection process, said How2Become. Moreover, they ensure that only the most dedicated and proficient are accepted through a series of assessments that measure commitment and competence.

Liverpool John Moores University lecturer John Ambrose recommends getting a degree in paramedic science. He said that although there are many things to learn in the university, there are skills that cannot be taught such as grace under pressure and sympathy. Taking extra-curricular courses in outdoor first aid, wilderness first aid, and emergency management is a wise move should one choose this career path.

work and train in the outdoors

work and train in the outdoors

Mountain Guide

Those with a passion for trekking and mountaineering will find this career path the perfect job. Along with extensive knowledge in risk management techniques and group leadership, mountain guides have deep knowledge about nature and the environment. Only those with a vast amount of experience under their belts may become professional mountain guides. It can be a long haul thought, a diploma is awarded to a successful trainee only after four to five years of dedicated education.

The British Mountain Guides (BMG) assesses and trains future mountain guides in many forms such as mountaineering, trekking, skiing, or classic climbing. According to their official website, they primarily promote safety and good practice along with enjoyment in climbing. “The requirements for joining the BMG training scheme are that you should have completed approximately 50 routes of E1/5b, a similar amount of British Winter routes at Grade IV/V,” mentions the BMG. 

International Teacher

Teaching might not be the first thing that comes to mind when we hear the words ‘outdoor’ and ‘risk management’. However, these skills that are typically meant for exterior professionals fit perfectly with this job. Environment specific courses are especially designed for individuals to experience and appreciate the nature the world has to offer, in safety. Therefore, a career in teaching abroad would definitely benefit from these skills. Volunteers who teach children in the most remote of locations and unfamiliar landscapes, researchers in the academe that scour the deepest of jungles, teachers of depressed communities – all of them are admirable career paths that are supplemented by training.

Becoming an overseas teacher requires a degree in the specialization one desires. The only other requirement is the ability to fluently speak English. “International schools are looking for proven performers who can hit the ground running and are capable of managing their own classroom independently,” explained Forrest Broman, President of The International Education.

These are only three careers among many where risk reduction, disaster management, first aid, and other outdoor related skills flourish. Are you up for the challenge of these off the beaten paths? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Zoe Allen is a writer and human resource specialist. As part of her continuing education, she currently researches on the recent trends in the job market. Catch her on Twitter.

If you’d like to learn more about its time for you to update your risk management,  field safety or outdoor first aid skills then just get in touch.

Field Safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Happy New Year to everyone.  We hope you have had a wonderful holiday and are looking forward to the adventures 2014 will bring. And what better way to welcome 2014, and to fill those difficult first few hours back in the office than to swot up on your outdoor first aid and field safety skills, to get you prepared for the 2014 field seasons. 

Field safety and outdoor first aid quiz

Quiz question 1:

You are the first on the scene of a rock fall in the mountains.  You are an hour’s fast walk from the nearest road and have no phone reception.  You have the following casualties… what would you do?

Casualty 1 – Unconscious, fast shallow breathing, pale, cold and clammy
Casualty 2 – Alert, screaming of pelvic pain
Casualty 3 – Confused and slurred speech, small bleed from head
Casualty 4 – Conscious, panicking and broken right arm.

Answer:

Firstly make sure it is safe for you to approach and shout for help, just in case anyone is nearby.

Then deal with the casualties in order of priority:

Casualty 1 – (Unconscious, fast shallow breathing, pale, cold and clammy) – is the most immediately serious – showing signs of shock – carry out basic AVPU, Airway, Breathing checks and ensure a Stable, Open, Draining Airway

Casualty 2 – Needs to be kept still, in case of a broken pelvis, they need to be reassured and monitored (perhaps by casualty 4!)

Casualty 3 – Is OK in the short term but needs the cut treating, and monitoring for signs of a compression injury.

Casualty 4 is probably going to be busy monitoring casualties 1 to 3 whilst you go and get help!

If you would like to update your skills check out our outdoor first aid and expedition first aid courses.

Quiz question 2:

You are part of a team of four researchers working in the Musandam Penisular in the north of Oman.  You have planned to work in pairs in the field collecting field sign of Arabian leopards.  You are told that there is reasonable mobile phone reception in the area.  What are the key elements of your safety and emergency plans…

Answer:

With such small teams, communications and emergency management back up plans are crucial.  Should one team member become unwell or have an accident their partner is left in a very difficult situation.  Therefore testing the mobile phone coverage and ensuring each pair has their phones, with fully charged batteries will be part of the daily routine.  However you can’t always rely on these things so a simple back up plan of informing each other, and ideally an additional trusted person such as an in-country agent, of exactly the route planned each day and cut off times for return.

Expedition training and preparation is also important to ensure that all team members are aware of any specific hazards and can manage a first aid or other emergency.

Finally dynamic risk assessment is crucial – what if it turns out the terrain is far worse, or the mobile reception far more patchy… then we may have to rethink the plan, for example getting the whole team to work together.

Flexibility is the key and a constant eye on whether or not the existing safety measures are sufficient.

If its time for you to update your risk management,  field safety or outdoor first aid skills then just get in touch.

First aid in Africa

Jon has recently spent a week in Kenya supporting a program by the Irish charity, Friends of Londiani, to develop first aid skills in remote parts of Kenya:

‘My week with Friends of Londiani was busy and rewarding.  Friends of Londiani are an NGO who provide health training programmes for the communities in and around the Londiani district in NW Kenya.

Supporting remote first aid in Kenya

Wilderness first aid in Africa

We’ve been working with them over the past few years to develop their own Wilderness first aid training programme to train the local volunteer Community Health Workers in basic first aid skills to help them in their roles.  Ultimately, the aim is for those workers to go in turn and train the communities in basic first aid as an essential life skill. We have been delighted to support and help develop this long term, sustainable plan to cascade training.

The week in Kenya represented the next step in that work, supporting the charity staff, to develop new Kenyan trainers and then together running a bespoke Wilderness First Aid course for 30 Community Health Workers.

It was a successful and fulfilling week, paving the way for further initiatives in other communities both in and outside of Kenya.’

If you would like to know more about our work in Kenya, or our field safetyrisk management and outdoor first aid training in the UK, don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your plans.

First aid training and CPR saves lives – it is official

Really interesting study shows the value of more people being trained in first aid skills.

Goes to emphasize what we have always taught – that the more people who have the basic skills and confidence to deliver CPR, the greater the chances of survival… read the full story of the results they found after an extensive campaign in Denmark, courtesy of USA today.