No One Plans To Get Hurt

So you call yourself “outdoorsy”? Me too!

Let me guess:

• You love to play outdoors and you likely have several stories of adventures you have been on. But that is just your beginning!
• You are just starting out on your pursuit of being “outdoorsy” but you’ve at least got your feet wet and you can’t wait for your next adventure.
• You can’t get far enough away from your urban, busy life to find solitude that recharges your soul.
• You find ways to go faster, further, and higher than most people and you are almost always far outside city limits. In fact – you actually don’t really know where you are!
• You have a gear stock many of your friends wouldn’t know what to do with and you have a wish-list for more.
• You don’t mind weather changes – it takes an angry storm to force you back inside.

Me too!

I tend not to beat around the bush. But I have to call you out on this one…

You are not prepared for the day shit hits the fan.

Defend your lack of preparedness all you want. I’d expect nothing less! I am guilty of it too!

Defences aside – hear me out! Think honestly about what has the potential to go wrong on your next adventure and ask yourself if you are equipped and mentally prepared to deal with that. Stop pretending it won’t happen. There is no doubt in my mind that you can handle the everyday small things like small wounds, bug bites, and aches/pains of your activity. That is not really what I’m referring to though…

• Are you prepared to overnight with your friend who tripped and fell, hitting their head so hard they are unconscious and deteriorating?
• Are you prepared to wait hours for EMS because someone in your group was crushed by a fallen tree in the storm that blew in?
• Does your friend know what to do when you break your leg in two places after stepping in a hole on your day hike and unfortunately you both don’t really know where you are in this massive national park you were visiting today? Oh and you just brought a jacket and a small water bottle?
• Are your friends prepared for the day this new ATV you brought rolls over you and pins you underneath in a few inches of water?
• Are you prepared to manage massive open wounds and extreme blood loss on several people in your group because you came between a sow and her cubs? Do you even know what a tourniquet is? If you say your belt will work you might as well watch the blood pool on the ground instead.
• Have you even considered the logistics of trying to get to your camp on the river while your group does CPR on someone who collapsed? I’ve never actually seen an ambulance on the river bank before – have you?
• Are you capable of spending hours nursing your child who just fell in the bonfire pit at this remote campground you found?
• Do you even know how to make a sling for a dislocated arm? Your friend might appreciate it because it’s a long ride back on the skidoos to the truck.
• You packed light, carrying in only the climbing gear you needed and a few snacks. Except now your friend is laying on the rocks below with a fractured leg and is starting to shiver. Are you prepared to nurse your friend for hours before deciding to run back to cell service to make a rescue call?
• Are you prepared for the day your canoe or paddleboard capsizes and you’re left wet and cold on the banks of a lake with no working cell phone?

I could go on with hundreds of other examples but I’m hoping you are seeing my point.

I don’t make this shit up.

I will be the first to admit that I would struggle through a serious backcountry emergency too. I’m likely out with someone I love and that always adds a new element of stress. I likely have reduced my pack down because we were just going for the day and I likely only have enough clothing to keep myself warm if the weather turns cold, let alone someone else. But what I am confident in is my ability to read someone when they are hurt. I understand the processes they will go through and can anticipate each step along the way. I am confident in my ability to assess your condition without being distracted by the situation and at least formulate a plan prioritizing your health and our exit strategy. I know for sure I have several means of communication and at the very least can read a map if I have to. I certainly don’t believe EMS will just magically appear when I need them the most. I may not be the best at tying knots but I know when to forget it and make camp because we aren’t leaving any time soon. I know what “tool” to use to manage your injury without question and I know it’s going to hurt you while I attempt to make it better. I know I can’t diagnose your problem officially, and I can’t confirm with Google anyway, but I do know I can provide the best nursing care possible while I figure out a way to get you out of here. And I know more than anything that EVERYTHING I learnt before going on this trip, which has now become THE WORST TRIP EVER, was invaluable time spent for this one fateful day you needed me to pull it all together.

Back 40 Wilderness First Aid is our way to connect with other “outdoorsy” Saskatchewan people who could use a little guidance on what to do when faced with their worst trip ever. We can’t promise you it won’t happen. And we would certainly never encourage you to just stay home, indoors where it is safer. But we can promise you a training experience that will leave you feeling more prepared and more confident in your ability to manage through that fateful day you are hit with a sickening feeling – “I don’t know what to do!”.

No one plans to get hurt.