28 June 2009

Side Note: In Case of Emergency

I've been thinking a lot about safety on the mountain recently. My walking group has been lucky ~ we have never had any incidents, accidents or injuries whilst out walking. Of course, we are careful and use our common sense. For example, we (almost) always :
  • take plenty of water to drink ~ and snacks to eat
  • wear sun hats and plenty of sunscreen (very important in summer!)
  • pack extra layers and waterproof gear (important in all seasons)
  • check the weather report beforehand for expected conditions
  • plan our routes in advance, have a map with us, and stick to paths
  • take charged cellphones, with emergency numbers saved
  • walk in a group, at the pace of our slowest walker
That said, I reckon I could ~ and should ~ do more to be prepared for the worst. A friend had to be rescued off the mountain recently after sustaining serious injuries from a mountain-biking accident (get well soon, Renee!). I've read about climbers being injured or needing rescue several times in the last few months and have also heard of an increase in snake-bites. While walking isn't a particularly high-risk activity, I know an accident could happen at any time.

With this in mind I am focusing on putting together a more comprehensive emergency first aid kit and resolving to carrying it with me at all times. This is going to include the following:
  • headlamp, emergency whistle, space blanket
  • selection of plasters, gauze dressings, and elastic bandages
  • wrist and ankle supports, moleskin for blisters
  • protective gloves, moist towelettes, alcohol swabs
  • painkillers: paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin
  • antiseptic ointment, antihistamine
  • Rehydrate sachets
  • cotton swabs, safety pins, tweezers, tissues
  • a page with all my personal info, medial details, emergency contacts and phone numbers for mountain rescue and other emergency services
One can buy first-aid kits, but I like the idea of putting together my own, possibly a full one for my backpack which I take on longer walks, and a second smaller one for the waist-pack I take on short walks. Also, it wouldn't hurt to re-learn some basic first aid. And I will find my pepper spray and keep it handy.

If you have any thoughts on safety I would love to hear them.
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1 comment:

namibsands said...

Hi Helen - I recently came across your blog while trying to find information about the Littlewort Trail in the Newlands Forest, which my husband and I have been exploring lately. I really like your list of things to include in a first aid kit - although we've LUCKILY not had any need for such things, I've always thought that there is no harm in being prepared JUST IN CASE. ;-) I think I shall use your list as a basis for putting together such a kit. So thank you!