There is nothing better than being away from it all camping with your friends. The shared moments are often the memories that stay with us for a lifetime. However, to assure ourselves that our time outdoors will stay positive, and fun we have to commit a certain amount of effort to be prepared.
CPR and first aid certification is a simple way to equip ourselves with a skill set that is usually plenty for any mishap we may come across. Knowing the “how to” however isn’t enough. We also need to pack up and keep a solid first aid kit with us at all times. The split second of being able to react with a prepare response is often the difference between winning and losing out there, so here are a few things that I do to make sure I at least have the basics covered and I’m prepared for that unplanned, unwanted emergency.
The American Heart Association has several courses to not only get certified in CPR and first aid, but expand on that knowledge just in case you want to take things a bit further. Their two year certification is nationally accepted and always in line with the latest knowledge and procedures, and recommended guidelines in the field.
When it comes to a first aid kit I have found a lot of them are filled with stuff that isn’t bad necessarily, just not specific to the type of outdoors adventuring I like to do. Although anything is better than nothing, I like to build a solid kit myself, or stick with brands that are created by medical professionals that are also avid outdoors people. Just search the internet for first aid kits for the outdoors and several options come up.
If you’re going to build a first aid kit there are a few things you should know. Build your kit according to the type of activity you are doing, and the activities you may participate in along the way. Keep in mind things like group size, the risks involved, the length of the trip, and even how much ground you’ll be covering potentially away from any help.
If someone on the trip has any special need, pack prepared. Even a bee sting can be deadly for someone who is allergic. I also think it’s important to have a small secondary kit, specifically for you. You can’t help anyone if you aren’t good yourself, and you surely can’t help someone else if you have used all of the supplies on fixing you.
Every kit can be slightly different because of activity, climate, and terrain, but here are a few things that every kit should have.
Scissors, medical tape, a razor blade and/or a good knife, tweezers, a small mirror, heat blanket, bug spray, hand sanitizer, and anything else you think will be useful for administering first aid. Bandages are a must. From small to large have plenty, especially if you are vehicle based. I would consider splints, and elastic type wraps in this category as well.
When it comes to medication, it gets a little tricky sometimes. It’s important to stay as general as possible. Ibuprofen, Benadryl, rehydration salts are good to have. Antacid tablets, and even antidiarrhea pills might be a good choice. Whatever you do, do not forget sun screen, antibiotic ointment, fragment free lotion, cortizone, and some type of specific burn dressing. Now, some of these creams may be redundant, but it’s better to be more prepared than get caught short if possible. Lastly, pack up a snake bite and bee sting kit, along with a plan for tick removal.
Remember, these are my recommendations for the basics. Every kit should be specifically thought out and built appropriately. You may want to keep some type of informational guidelines for administering first aid handy too. It’s nice to have incase you need a reference, someone less knowledgeable needs a guide, or you simply want to take a peek at it to get your mind right in an emergency.
It may seem like a lot, but remember, the best way to be carefree out there is to be prepared for anything out of the norm that may be thrown at you.