So, we’ve discussed the WHY. Now, let’s talk a bit about the HOW. There are…
Venturing out into the wilderness by yourself is full of potential disaster and false assumptions: “Oh, I’m just going up the incline; Oh, I’ll be all right; Oh, I’m not going to get hurt”. Just a small stumble over an exposed spike or a trip over a root can turn a short outing into a full Search and Rescue operation. It’s best to go prepared to cope with this by bringing along your own first aid kit (and being careful).
First Aid Supplies ought to be a very personal choice. Your first thought ought to be “What am I most likely to need in the way of first aid?” Start with a commercial kit but read the contents carefully. Does it contain what I need? Does it contain the pain killers that work best for me? Is there another medicine I might need due to personal medical conditions? Do I have a knee or ankle that is weak and might need support? Do I bleed easily and might need a clotting cloth? After assessing these areas, make sure the kit you carry is customized for your personal needs. Most first-responders will look to your kit for items to address your needs.
In addition to personal needs, you should also consider the size of group that you are going with. You should feel confident when going out that your basic needs are covered and that a companion is also carrying their personal needs. That compounds your capabilities. A larger group of 4-8 people requires that more than just their basic individual needs are considered. Each additional person increases your chances of having an incident that might require first aid. Slings, bandages, support items and splints should be considered as well as antibiotic creams and pain suppressors. Likely you are not a doctor, so you should not try to tell someone to take a pill, even the over-the-counter type. BUT you can say that you have some if the victim would like to use them.
For more than 8 people, you should plan to include someone who is, at least, knowledgeable in Wilderness First Aid. Exposure to that kind of training means that you have a logical person to turn to in an emergency. If you don’t have such a person available, consider taking a course yourself. Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder training are great introductions to treating medical problems in the wilderness.
Supplies for groups of more than 8 should be extensive. Throw in the kitchen sink! “Sam” splints, ace bandages, creams and ointments, medical tools like tweezers and scissors, clotting cloths and various sizes of bandages. Regularly, check your kit for expiration dates and items beyond their useful life. Replace any used items after every trip
The First Aid Kit is something you hope you will never use. If the case arises where it is necessary, you will be very glad you brought it along.