How to Handle Emergency Situations on a Camping Trip

How to Handle Emergency Situations on a Camping Trip
Crisis situations during a camp out almost always require you to break camp and take the affected member of your group to seek medical treatment. You can better his odds of a speedy recovery by learning how to handle common emergency situations on a camping trip. In some cases, such as hypothermia or heat-related conditions, your ability to render first aid could make the difference between life and death.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Manage Mild Hypothermia

Things You’ll Need:
  • Thermometer
  • Multiple sets of clothes
  • Warm broth
  • Tarp
  • Cell phone
  • First aid kit
  • Bottled water
 
Step 1
Measure the camper's body temperature with the thermometer. If it falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, he may suffer from hypothermia.
Step 2
Identify the cause of the drop in body temperature. Hypothermia may be a risk during winter camping, when the ice of a frozen over lake may give way and the camper fell into the freezing water.
Step 3
Remove the camper's wet clothes and replace them with dry ones. Increase his body's core heat by encouraging him to drink warm broth.
Step 4
Abandon camp and head for a medical facility, if the hypothermia victim does not respond well and symptoms, such as confusion or slurred speech, remain or get worse.

Offer First Aid for Heat-Induced Conditions

Step 1
Evaluate a camper, who suffers from nausea, dizziness and moist skin. Summer camping heightens the dangers of heat exhaustion, heat stress or heat stroke. A member of your camping group may encounter this condition if he camps during high heat, spends a lot of time in the direct sun and is very active.
Step 2
Remove the affected camper from the direct sun and place him into a shaded area. If there is no shade readily available, create it with a tarp.
Step 3
Offer him water to drink, remove warm clothing and call for emergency medical personnel to meet you at the campsite. If this is not possible, take the camper to the nearest medical facility.

Treat Minor Wounds at the Campsite

Step 1
Wash your hands before treating the wound. Use hand sanitizer, if possible. This avoids introducing further bacteria into the wound.
Step 2
Put pressure on the affected area to stop the bleeding. Clean the wound with bottled water after the bleeding stops.
Step 3
Use sterile gauze from your first aid kit to pat the wound dry and cover it with a sterile bandage. If there is an object left in the wound and you cannot remove it, seek help from a medical facility.
Step 4
Abandon camp and head for help if the cut is so deep that it exposes muscle tissue or the bleeding cannot be stopped easily. This cut might require stitching.

First Aid for Broken Bones and Spine Injuries

Step 1
Evaluate a camper for spine injuries or broken bones after a fall. Spinal injuries may occur when the fall involves some height or the camper received a sharp impact to the back. These injuries may happen during rock climbing, bouldering or mountaineering.
Step 2
Check for a noticeable kink in the spine or bone and look for bruising above the backbone area. Even if there is no visible sign of injury, the area above the spine injury or break in the bone may be too painful to touch.
Step 3
Call for medical assistance right away and attempt to keep the camper in the position he fell. The goal is to keep him immobilized and avoid any potential worsening of the spinal injury or broken bone.
Step 4
Send another member of the camping party for help if you do not have cell phone reception. If you and your friend are the only ones camping, make him comfortable and ensure that he is breathing properly. Reiterate that he must not move and then you need to go for help.

First Aid for a Head Injury

Step 1
Call for medical assistance if a member of your camping party suffered a blow to the head or other head injury, and he bleeds from the ears or the nose, becomes confused or becomes unconscious for more than just a very short interval.
Step 2
Apply pressure to any head wound and attempt to stop the bleeding. If you suspect a fracture of the skull, merely place sterile gauze over the wound without pressing down. Keep the camper stable until help arrives.
Step 3
Perform CPR if the camper stops breathing.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Purchase a prepackaged wilderness survival first aid kit to avoid forgetting any crucial items.
 
Occasionally check expiration dates of first aid kit supplies; some ointments and pain relievers may expire and require replacing.

Article Written By Sylvia Cochran

Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.

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