Wilderness First Aid Tips

This is the first of a mini series of articles designed to tackle first aid questions and problems that might crop up on the Bibbulmun Track. Of course, mostly things don’t go wrong, and we don’t want them to, but it’s best to be prepared. Which is exactly where we will start: with the 6 Ps.

 

Tip 1: Remember the 6 Ps

In over 30 years of outdoor activities in many parts of the world I’ve had relatively few experiences where I’ve had to put on my medical hat—and almost all of them have been in another group I’ve come across, rather than my own. Perhaps some of it was luck, but mostly it was adhering to the 6 Ps: prior preparation and planning prevents poor performance.

In our modern age of instant knowledge, we have perhaps forgotten some skills take time to learn—reading a map in the rain, interpreting weather patterns and packing the correct gear aren’t things that can be perfected by watching one You Tube tutorial.

For sure, the Bibbulmun Track isn’t Everest but you will avoid problems by planning properly. Think of your outdoor activities as an apprenticeship; start out simply and build up, where possible find experienced people who you can learn from. Even if you do have all the skills, get local knowledge. The Bibbulmun Track Foundation website is the obvious place to start, and attending the workshops held by the BTF is another.

Here is the framework I use - it can be used for everything from a road trip to Karijini to skiing across Greenland. Admittedly some of the headings can be left blank as you plan your Bibbulmun Track walk, but you’ll want to have something pencilled in under most of them.

Logistics: routes, regulations, transport, food and fuel, equipment, training needs, and budget.

Here is the framework I use - it can be used for everything from a road trip to Karijini to skiing across Greenland. Admittedly some of the headings can be left blank as you plan your Bibbulmun Track walk, but you’ll want to have something pencilled in under most of them.

Logistics: routes, regulations, transport, food and fuel, equipment, training needs, and budget.

Health and Medical: risk assessment, pre-travel screening, medical kits, team selection, vaccinations / anti-malarials and hygiene.

If the mention of risk assessment made you flinch - have a quick flick through Dom Hall’s  ">Risk Management for Adventure and discover why dynamic risk assessment should become part of your outdoor activities.  

 

 

 

 

Edi Albert is a doctor with the RFDS based in the Kimberley, a senior lecturer in remote and polar medicine at the University of Tasmania and runs courses in expedition and wilderness medicine. Over the last 30 years his love of the outdoors has taken him all over the world either to work or play, or better still, both. He can be contacted on edi.albert@hotmail.com.