Handling Emergencies While Camping
Every camper and hiker looks forward to a trip filled with good times and adventure. The very last thing anyone wants to cope with is a serious injury or mishap when you’re out in the wilds miles from anywhere. Any desire for the solitude of the open spaces quickly disappears when you realize you have an emergency on hand and help is miles and miles away. But rather than stick to well-trodden areas or go nowhere, a little planning ahead and good common sense thinking about what could go wrong could be a real lifesaver. Let’s find out more about different emergency situations and ways to handle them on your campsite.
One of the most basic safety rules of camping and hiking is that share your plans with someone you can rely on to inform the appropriate authorities if you fail to check in at agreed times. It’s useful to share your whole itinerary so that if they need to, they can find you in the event of an emergency.
Keep Quick Remedies And Medications Handy
While leaving for camping journeys you should always carry extra doses of your daily medications in case of unexpected delays due to unfavorable weather, security conditions or any unforeseen circumstance that means your journey could take longer.
In such cases, it is often impossible to get access to your prescribed medications easily. It makes sense to keep quick remedies handy in case you get short of medicines or lose them. You should always carry a fully stocked first aid kit and keep it where you can access it in a hurry.
Take Your Medical Issues Seriously
Always take your medical issues seriously and never neglect them. Inform your mates and camping group members about your medical issues prior to leaving and brief them how they can help or what they are expected to do in case of an emergency. In return, be there to help others if someone else in your group has some medical issues.
Get Acquainted With Emergency Room
Whenever you land on any camping site look around for emergency services available there. Get hold of the route to the nearest medical center and also look for alternative routes too. This way you don’t have to rush around here and there in case of an emergency and be able to access required services immediately. Having prior information about the available resources and where they save you and your group from panicking which often worsens the situation.
Carry Along Your Phone
Often campers don’t want to carry along their phones with them as it’s the time they want to truly disconnect with the world. But this is not a great idea. You should always carry along your phone for emergencies even if you choose to keep it powered off.
Phones are must have in case of emergencies and your best source to inform others if you are in need of help or are in danger. Carry your phone along with a charger and spare batteries to ensure they are there ready to call for rescue in case of some emergency.
Some experts believe you should carry an emergency radio to deal with serious situations, but you should at least be carrying a cellular phone. Cellular phones allow you to access some emergency numbers even if you are not receiving signals from your local service providers and enable you to seek help.
If you are planning your trip to remote areas where chances are you will be out of the service area using satellite phones are your best bet. Satellite phones also come with GPS trackers that enable your reliable check in person back home to track you. They also have pre-programmed messages that are sent automatically to allocated people once you reach a set destination.
Always carry emergency contact numbers with you on paper so that you hand them to others in case of an emergency. Saving these numbers in your phone is a benefit as long as someone else can access them if you are, unfortunately, out of the game.
Treating Hypothermia And Hyperthermia
Hypothermia and hyperthermia have to be expected when you are on high elevations and can be extremely dangerous. Be well prepared to deal with any temperature irregularity. Always keep a regular check of your body temperature while on elevations with unfavorable climatic conditions. A thermometer is a must in your first kit for camping.
Hypothermia is the condition when body temperature decreases down 35-degree Celsius. Look out for the plausible causes and try to eliminate the risk factors like wet clothing. Provide the sufferer with hot beverages so the body temperature may rise gradually. But if these first aid tips don’t work and their temperature keeps on dropping call for assistance from the nearest medical camp or emergency room.
Hyperthermia is the condition when body temperature increases to a dangerous level. The chances of heat stroke and heat stress are at a maximum in this condition. Take the sufferer immediately away from direct sun exposure. An air-conditioned cabin is the best, but if it is not available, take the person in some shaded area. Remove all the hot clothes and give the person plenty of water and cool down arms, forehead and behind the neck with wet cloths. Call the emergency service or nearby medical camp for assistance.
First Aid At Camping Site
You need to come prepared to ensure you manage things well when something goes wrong on a camping expedition. The sooner you react, the higher the chances of you surviving a dangerous situation. First aid at camping site can certainly go a long way in preventing serious health problems.
First Aid For Heat-Induced Conditions
- Heat-induced conditions are more likely to occur in summer camping trips when the climatic conditions are very hot. It can be very dangerous and may lead to heat stress and heat stroke. It is essential to detect the condition as early as possible. Look out for any camper suffering from dizziness, moist skin and nausea and check his body temperature instantly.
- Move the affected camper immediately from the direct sun exposure and take him to some shaded or cool area. If there is no natural shade available create one with what you have available.
- Remove all the warm clothes from the body and let as much air as possible to pass through to cool the skin. Also, let the sufferer drink plenty of water and offer some juices or other cold fluids.
- Call the emergency personnel immediately.
Treatment Of Minor Wounds
- Always disinfect our own hands by washing or with sanitizers or put on medical gloves before treating any wound to inhibit any further bacterial growth.
- First work on stopping the bleeding. For this purpose, elevate the wound if possible and firmly press gauze onto the wound. keep it there for several minutes to arrest the bleeding and allow for clotting and then wash thoroughly with clean water.
- Now dry the wound with surgical gauze and then cover it with a sterilized bandage.
- If bleeding does not stop or if the cut is deep enough that muscle tissues are exposed then head to the emergency medical care unit.
- Remember if a foreign object is embedded in the wound it must be removed as soon as possible the help of the medical personnel and cannot be done with mere first aid kit. In this instance cover and support the wound and seek immediate medical assistance.
First Aid For Broken Bones And Spine Injuries
- The risk of spinal and bone injuries is highest during rock climbing, bouldering, and hiking. In case of any fall or jerk evaluate the person for any back or spinal injuries first.
- Spinal and bone injuries are painful can be easily evaluated even with the absence of any visible symptoms. But if there is any bend or curve in the spinal bone or any bruising in the backbone area it denotes possible serious injury and needs careful handling.
- Movement in the case of spinal injuries or broken bones worsens the situation. Don’t attempt to change their position and ask him to remain immobilized as much as possible. Call for emergency medical assistance.
- While waiting for the medical assistance ask the injured camper to stay immobile and also ensure he can breathe properly. Try to comfort or soothe him while not moving any part of his body.
First Aid For A Head Injury
Head injuries are very complex and need careful monitoring. If any camper falls down and bumps his head or in case of any other hard blow on the head rush for emergency assistance as soon as possible.
- Bleeding from the nose or ear are symptoms of some serious injuries and should never be ignored. Unconsciousness or confused mental state for even the shortest interval after the brain injury is very dangerous.
- In case of bleeding from the head, try to stop the bleeding with the help of sterilized gauze. Keep the camper awake and seated upright till he or she gets medical treatment.
- If the camper stops breathing then perform CPR, 2 breaths for 30 compressions.
Some Complex Emergency Situations
While you’re going to experience some minor issues when camping, you’re less likely to experience something as dangerous as a flash flood, but you just cannot rule out the possibility of experiencing one such complex emergency situation. Find out what to do when you’re up against the unexpected.
Flash floods are one of the most deadly emergency situations that you can encounter during your camping and the only way to be safe is to be warned of their likelihood ahead of time. Once you are in its way it is really difficult to rescue yourself and get out of its path. The intensity is overpowering and flows unavoidable. It’s better to be proactive and camp on higher spots where chances of you being in the path of the flash flood are minimum.
Being struck by lightning is another potential emergency situation for campers particularly for those who choose to camp in open fields. The chances of staying safe during a direct overhead lightning storm are rare in you don’t take proper precautions.
Always look out for warnings of a lightning storm and be vigilant. Look for the way it is heading and move towards the lower ground in the opposite direction.
Always avoid taking shelter under the tallest trees and stay away from the metal tent poles. Also, stay away from the bodies of water as there are higher chances of direct strikes.
While moving towards the lower areas squat into a ball to keep low to the ground, cover your head and roll down your body.
Tornadoes are another natural emergency situation which can have a disastrous impact on the well being of your group. It can blow you and your camp away in a matter of seconds.
The best tip to staying safe is to minimize your size and leave behind as much as you can. Break down your camps and hide in a hole or burrow and compact yourself as small as possible. Curling up in ditches and depressions are usually your only way out from the tornado storm although admittedly they are hard to access during the storm.
No matter what kind of natural disaster you may encounter during your camping journey the only way to be safe is to be proactive and vigilant and take a step ahead of its onset be it flash flood, lightning, tornadoes, or any other catastrophic event.