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Bored Carp
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Let this be a warning to all of my favorite riding companions - I have experienced a weird spring - it might be bad luck to ride with me.

For some reason, I have had adverse situations come up on a ton of my recent rides and I have had to participate in dealing with them each time.

The bonking people were easy - just get some food and salt into the bonkee, and they are typically ok in a matter of minutes. The hard part is convincing them that the reason they are sick/slow/grumpy is food-related. I am now getting paranoid about the food and rather comical in my bonk-vigilance. Might have to just let people suffer more often.

The heat exhaustion was a bit tougher. I participated in a scary incident earlier this season, and ended up on the trail alone with a vomiting person. We had no available shade, and I realized I was pretty uninformed about what to do with a person at this stage - walk out, sit in the sun for hours in a remote area with no cell service? I spend a lot of time thinking about how to avoid these problems, but not about how to deal with them. Luckily we were able to walk out slowly and they recovered quickly with some food water and shade.

Most recently, a person in a group I was riding with broke their leg in several places at the top of the trail. We had to get down, and it was good that we had a lot of people to work with - some of us took an extra bike and two of us had the person sit on their bike and we used it as improvised wheelchair. The injured person was in charge of braking and we just balanced them as we walked down trail. The injured person was able to support the broken leg with an improvised armor splint and by using their other foot to keep the supporting pedal elevated. We did successfully get off the trail.

So what do YOU do out on the trail in an emergency, when you can't just cell-phone your way out of trouble? How have you improvised rescue? Have any of you (non-medical personnel) taken wilderness first aid classes? Were they helpful? Anything else to add?
 

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Sounds like your group has been using common sense when dealing with emergencies. Keep looking at everything around you that you can use as first aid gear. Splints can be made from sturdy sticks and shoelaces. Like you said armor can make a splint as well. Even those of us in ems for a living have to improvise. Rescue operations don't typically work like they do in textbooks.

Best thing you could have done for heat exhaustion is get the affected person out of sun and rest as best as possible. Fluids are a must, but don't over do it. Room temperature is better than ice cold.

It's been said a few times on this board - drink before you feel thirsty to avoid dehydration and other heat related emergencies. When you stop sweating and start to get muscle cramps you're in danger.
 

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Dr Gadget is IN
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Recently, on a ride I missed out on - one rider had a front end wash-out and broke his leg. The spot was 4WD accessible, so it was possible to get the rider out to where an ambulance could take over. A splint was "field improvised" from yucca stalks and all sorts of wrapping - but here's something I just picked up on from the "do you carry 1st aid kit" thread:

http://www.sammedical.com/sam_splint.html

"The SAM® SPLINT is built from a thin core of aluminum alloy, sandwiched between two layers of closed-cell foam. The SAM® Splint is extremely pliable. Bent into any of three simple curves, it becomes extremely strong and supportive for any fractured or injured limb."

A roll up splint. Cool. I'll be adding this to my kit and spreading the word locally. $13 at campmor.
 

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emtnate said:
Best thing you could have done for heat exhaustion is get the affected person out of sun and rest as best as possible. Fluids are a must, but don't over do it. Room temperature is better than ice cold.

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Not exactly true about the ice water. The key is cooling them down asap. If you are fortunate enough to have ice in your camelbak have them drink it, spray them with it, whatever, just cool them down asap. You are trying to prevent organ cooking.

here's a snippet:
Victims of heat stroke must receive immediate treatment to avoid permanent organ damage. First and foremost, cool the victim. Get the victim to a shady area, remove clothing, apply cool or tepid water to the skin (for example you may spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose), fan the victim to promote sweating and evaporation, place ice packs under armpits and groins. Monitor body temperature with a thermometer and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102 degrees. Always notify emergency services (911) immediately. If their arrival is delayed, they can give you further instructions for treatment of the victim.
 

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(enter witty phrase here)
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Impy said:
Not exactly true about the ice water. The key is cooling them down asap. If you are fortunate enough to have ice in your camelbak have them drink it, spray them with it, whatever, just cool them down asap. You are trying to prevent organ cooking.
Another good reason to use a camelbak. I usually fill mine, whether I think I'll need all the water or not. Never know when someone else may need it as well.

Once I went riding (alone) with the onset of the flu. I felt fine when I left. About 2mi in I got weak, dizzy, and almost blacked out. Felt like I was on fire and couldn't cool off. I poured about 1/2 my camelbak over my head, then slowly rode out. By the time I got to my car, I was feeling light headed again. Poured the rest of the water over my head. Got home and checked my temp. and realized I was running a fever.
 

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Bored Carp
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
All good info. What do you do if there is no shade and no emergency service? At what point is it better to sit still in the sun vs. attempt to get off the trail? We had to choose between resting and getting to a less exposed area, and for us, walking out was the good choice (the rider was better off than they seemed initially) but when is it the wrong choice? In our location, rescue would have taken several hours.

Anyone have a favorite first aid kit? Impy, what is in YOUR kit?
 

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I have taken a few wilderness survival courses in college and in boy scouts. I always think it's better to be prepared. Was a lifeguard for quite a while in boy scouts as well. I think more people should be prepared for emergencies in the outdoors. I always have an emergency kit in my car and in my hiking pack and a smaller version in my camelbak
 

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Impy, the biggest problem with consuming ice water is it can "shock" the body into thinking it is in hypothermia, and make the victim shiver. This will increase heat in the body causing further damage to the organs. There's also a big difference between heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat stroke. Heat stroke is the most severe and is an acute medical emergency requiring ems and ER visit. Ice packs in the groin and armpits will help some. Placing them on the flanks also be effective. Your kidneys are close to your skin with a very large blood flow. Good way to cool or warm people. You don't want to cool them too fast for the reasons I gave above.

As far as the OP, mild hyperthermia with no ability to call for help and no shade. I would try to shade the victim as much as possible and give them fluids with electrolytes. You want to do as much as you can to aid the body's natural cooling methods. ( Sweating ) In your situation it is hard to give good advice. It all depends on how ill the person is feeling how much activity they can handle before making it much much worse. Like you said, rescue could take hours, and that could be too late. If the muscles are cramping up you are moving to the 2nd stage of hyperthermia. Watch the person's perspiration, if you're still sweating that's a good sign.

I think the best idea for anyone spending time in the backcountry is to take a wilderness first aid course. It'll be a wealth of knowledge and you'll learn all sorts of ways to improvise care.

+1 on the sam splints. wonderful invention. They are reusable after proper disinfecting too. I have one in my personal first aid kit, and we stock them on the ambulance too.
 

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Loser
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I recently came upon a fellow rider with a separated shoulder, there was another rider already there with EMS on the way. I rode out to the parking lot to meet them (they ended up going to a different lot!).

In any event I felt clueless about what to do. About all we did was give him an ibuprofen and tried to keep him comfortable (as comfortable as you can be with a separated shoulder). When the EMS guys got there they put the injured guy right into a basket and drove him to the hospital. At the hospital it took them 45 minutes of wrangling to get his shoulder back in. So I guess the morale of the story is that its probably better to leave a separated shoulder alone - the EMS guys told us you can do way more damage getting a shoulder in if you don't do it right - depending on how its separated.

John
 

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Chuky, don't forget my der hanger ripping itself in half....at least we were so close to the trailhead that day :D.

Anyway, more on topic, sometimes it doesn't matter what you carry with you, because there really isn't anything you can do. I discovered this the hard way on Friday. http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=422847

Even a basic first aid class can be really useful, though the ones with some sort of explicit wilderness focus are really nice because they get into improvisation and rely less heavily on "Call 911", because often times, there is no 911.
 

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Because of those first aid classes, many of the new guys that join our fire deparment still call out "you - call 911" when practicing CPR. Always makes me chuckle and I have to remind them that they are 911 now.
 

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Big Willie
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If you ride with a camel back stuff a twin bed sheet in there, it takes up very little space. It can come in handy for carrying someone out of a remote area, (that is if your with a group or other riders come up on your accident to help out).
 

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For finding a first aid kit, I don't think there is anything good on the market. The more you spend, the bigger and heavier it gets but not necessarily the better or more complete. I personally put together my own survival kit which I carry for biking, skiing, hiking...

I started with a basic first aid kit and then modified to make my own:
case: I found an OR case which is pretty solid and has a lot of organizing compartments
Breaks/strains: I got a cheap sam like splint that is only the aluminum mesh but no weight of the foam.
Cuts: bandaids, butterfly strips, gauze. individual packets of anti-septic cream. I've looked into sutures and cleaning stuff but really only need for deep backcountry.
Other illness: cold medecine (dayquil etc) immodium, ibuprophen, tylenol, tweezers
Water: I always carry water purification tablets. Only used once. A group of about 10 of us all ran out of water. No one got sick later due to using my whole bottle of water tabs for all of us.
Other stuff: knife, whistle, matches (hurricane), compass, headlamp with batteries, sun screen. first aid book, blister kit.

For the first aid kits, they like to but big bulky boxes of bee sting relief and other wierd things you don't really need but are bulky and heavy.
 

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Bored Carp
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

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That kit is much better than most I have seen. With that, you just need to adjust for what you're doing.
 
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