Twice in the past few decades, I have had to use the Heimlich maneuver to prevent someone from choking.
Once was on a lady in a fancy restaurant, and the second time was on my fishing buddy around a campfire in the Sierra Nevada. The Heimlich maneuver is but one of the potentially lifesaving things you can learn from the Red Cross basic first-aid course.
While the great outdoors is statistically far safer than almost any “civilized” environment you can imagine, oftentimes you are removed from hospitals, doctor’s offices and urgent care clinics. Bearing that in mind, it does pay to be prepared.
One of the most important things to remember is that first aid is temporary in nature and is intended to keep you or a loved one alive until you can get professional medical help.
That being said, here are a few tips that you might find helpful:
- Take a course in basic first aid.
- Assemble your own first aid kit that you keep in your vehicle, backpack, or boat.
- Carry emergency shelter, food, and medical supplies with you when you are afield.
Sometimes, my fishing buddies give me a hard time about the amount of stuff I carry in my fishing vest and accuse me of carrying a portable drug store with me.
Among the things I carry are a space blanket that takes up very little room in your vest and might just help keep you from freezing to death if you are trapped by a sudden snow storm.
I also carry a sterile suture kit to sew myself back together if I should accidentally cut myself. I learned that trick from some old hound dog hunters who had to occasionally sew their dogs together when they got torn open by an angry bear.
In an emergency, you can sew yourself together long enough to get to an E.R.
Another great product is a powder called “Bleedstop” that you can purchase at any drug store. Just a few weeks ago, my son slipped when carving a piece of wood and cut his hand pretty badly. We dusted the cut with bleed stop and wrapped his hand with gauze until; we could get him to the nearest E.R., where he got properly stitched up.
If you ever find yourself in snake country, be sure to carry a wonderful first aid product called “The Extractor.” It costs less than $20, and you can find it at any decent drug store. It creates tremendous suction and sucks out the snake venom through the fang holes where the snake bit you. It is small enough to fit in your shirt or coat pocket so that you will have it with you if you need it.
Other handy items are antibiotic ointment and small bottles of hand sanitizer. Preventing infections afield is a big deal and a few simple precautions can head of a boatload of trouble.
Once, I accidentally caught a 25 caliber ricochet in my gut. It burned like the fires of hell, but I managed to survive with no long-term effects. Heck, it’s a miracle I’ve survived this long, having some basic first aid training and carrying a few emergency supplies has enabled me to continue enjoying the great outdoors for a long time you might want to take a few simple precautions yourself.
Any way you slice it, the outdoors is still a heck of a lot safer than downtown Chicago or Detroit. Not only that, it’s a heck of a lot more fun, too.
Until next week,