Archive for January 2014

Controlling Severe Bleeding

Controlling Severe Bleeding

I have been working on a side project these last few weeks and thought that I would share some of the information that I have gathered regarding it.  It is arguably more geared towards the professional first responder, but it may interest and benefit many of you who are lay responders too.  After all, I am a strong advocate of the principle that, no matter one’s level of training, it is important to continually practice and learn so that one may keep one’s skills sharp and up to date.  Certainly, being prepared to protect oneself when an emergency arises, and to do the same for others, is a fundamentally important component of wilderness survival. Whether we are professional or lay trained, we all know that in a medical emergency uncontrolled bleeding is a clear life threat.  Sometimes, unlike in the photograph posted above (which I only chose to illustrate a […]

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First Aid Skill – How to remove a Ring

First Aid Skill - How to remove a Ring

Although removing a ring from a swollen finger may not appear like a relevant survival or first aid skill, it can actually be quite important.  After all, if even one of your hands starts to become increasingly useless due to swelling and pain, then the odds of you being able to protect yourself, or others, in a wilderness survival situation diminishes steadily.  So, while various removal techniques may not be glamorous enough to be featured on one of the popularly scripted “survival” shows, you may want to still consider listening up. The main issue is that there exists the real possibility of lasting damage to, or complete loss of, the finger due to the blockage of the blood flow to it.  This could occur due to some trauma where the finger, hand, arm, or even some other part of the body is injured, such that swelling is a common physical […]

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Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day

I thought that I would share with you an interesting idea that I just read while sitting on the couch at my EMS station.  It comes from a book that that I have been reading, Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience, by Laurence Gonzales.  In short, the book is about dealing with post-traumatic stress. Gonzales writes that when one is in the midst of a crisis, while it can seem that the pain and distress will go on forever, it isn’t true.  Rather, pleasure, laughter, even peace and happiness almost always follow. In fact, he suggests that the waiting time in between can be sped up by following three simple steps: Do something that you love. Do something for someone who needs you. And be with people who care about you. His paragraph really struck me.  It is something that I think that we can all agree is true, […]

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Equipment – Some Things are Just Worth the Price

Equipment - Some Things are Just Worth the Price

The Great Outdoors is a wonderful place to recreate physically and spiritually.  Even better, in many cases, you can do so without spending a dime.  Few other things in life are more wonderfully egalitarian.  However, “without spending a dime” is just a manner of speaking, of course.  Because for the most part, no matter, how economical we may want to be when we spend time engaged in some chosen activity under the sun or stars, the basic reality is that we must spend some amount of money.  It could be just to buy a simple pair of hiking boots, a hat, a fishing pole, or the fuel that we pump into our car’s tank.  How one chooses, then, to buy any apparently necessary items most likely depends on a number of criteria.  A good set of starting points most likely are the chosen activity, one’s skill level, degree of commitment, […]

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Some Course Evaluation Comments

Some Course Evaluation Comments

Back in November, True North ran a training program for Venture Outdoors, an outdoors non-profit based in Pittsburgh, for its staff and volunteer trip leaders.  The goal was to help prepare them to better handle emergencies during their various trips by giving them a real-world scenario to utilize their Wilderness First Aid (WFA) and CPR training. Earlier this week, I saw the evaluations that Venture Outdoors had received from its participants.  Here are just some of the questions and what the participants had to write: Did the provided training description match the activity? It went beyond what we thought it would be. How satisfied were you with the instructors? Inspiration. Top notch, very qualified, very organized. Excellent.  Have taken two other terrific classes with Erik before. How comfortable were you with the material BEFORE participating in this workshop? I thought that I knew what to expect until Erik threw us […]

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9-1-1 can Easily Track my Cell Phone, Right?

9-1-1 can Easily Track my Cell Phone, Right?

You are out on a hike with a friend when you finally must concede that you are lost.  Of course, you have been trying these last few hours to find the right trail, but the sun is beginning to set and it is starting to get cold.  The prospect, then, of being forced to spend the night in the dark woods has you now more scared than you might otherwise have thought.  But, wait, there is a ray of hope!  You have a cell phone.  You’ll just dial 9-1-1 and those EMS dispatchers will have a rescue team sent to your exact location in a jiffy.  Right? The reality is … Maybe. A recent series of studies conducted by Find Me 911 indicates that EMS dispatchers can only trace a mobile telephone’s location only around 33% to 50% of the time. I don’t know about you, but I find the prospect […]

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