Learn to Save a Life in the Backcountry

Take a Wilderness First Responder course, but master these three skills now

First aid kit

First aid kit via Shutterstock     Photo: Maxx-Studio

If you spend a lot of time in the wilds, you should book an eight-day wilderness first responder course with NOLS ($650). In the meantime, according to Buck Tilton, author of Wilderness First Responder: A Text for the Recognition, Treatment and Prevention of Wilderness Injuries, these are the three skills you need to learn now:

Basic Wound Care
1) Apply direct pressure until bleeding stops.
2) Clean the wound vigorously.
3) If needed, close it up with Steri Strips.
4) Monitor for infection.

Distinguish Serious Abdomen Pain from a Tummy Ache
Evacuate if pain accompanies any of these:
1) Pain has persisted for more than 12 hours
2) If symptoms of shock are present
3) Entire abdomen is rigid
4) There are no gurgling sounds
5) there is blood in the stool or vomit
6) They have a temperature of 102 or higher
7) The pain is very sharp in the right lower quadrant, where the appendix lies
8) If vomiting and/or diarrhea has persisted for more than 24 hours
9) If the patient could be pregnant

Splint an Injury
1) Stabilize the injury with padding and rigid elements (like sticks), including the joints above and below a bone, or the bones above and below a joint. Bandage tightly enough to immobilize, but not so tight as to cut off circulation, sensation, or motion.

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