First Aid Kits/Emergency Medical Plans
One frequently-asked question is whether individuals with multiple disabilities can benefit from an outdoor experience. The answer is yes. There are many state parks and forests that are excellent for individuals of any ability to visit. The only thing that might change is the amount of assistance required to insure safety at all times. The degree of assistance should directly reflect the remoteness of the environment, the outdoor experience of the individual with a disability, as well as the severity of the disability.
As we start to travel deeper and deeper into the backcountry, the risk of witnessing or falling to injury increases. Injuries such as cuts, minor burns, sprained ankles, and even broken bones are examples of what can happen to backcountry travelers. Every person who enters the backcountry should have a first aid kit. There is no substitute for proper training in first aid as well as backcountry survival skills. There are many organizations that offer such courses, including local colleges, YMCAs, volunteer ambulance organizations, and local outdoor education stores like EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) and AAI (American Alpine Institute).
The following lists of items to include in a first aid kit should be used as a basic guide only. You also need to take into account individual needs and abilities:
- Rubber gloves
- Cloth tape
- ACE bandage
- Full size SAM splint
- Irrigation device
- Any personal medication
- Water purification tablets
When planning a trip into the backcountry, the planner should have an emergency action plan. The emergency action plan should be placed into the first aid kit or in another area that is easily located. An emergency action plan is specific directions on how to handle any given emergency. Emergency action plans (EAPs) should have all relevant information, including but not limited to:
- Location of hike
- Expected length of hike
- Doctors numbers
- Location of nearest road, phone, river, etc.
- All relevant medical information of everyone in the group.
With the increased number of people entering our parks, forests, and backcountry, the need for environmental conservation is greatly needed. As we enter the backcountry, there are some things we can do to help limit the impact we place on the environment:
- Leave it the way you found it.
- Pack out what you pack in (don't leave your trash for the birds).
- Use only fallen wood to start fires.
- Stay on established trails and paths.
- Camp no less than 100 feet from a water source or trail.
- Bury all human waste at least six inches to maximize decomposition.
- Use established camping sites when possible.
|Tent in outdoor setting|
There are many benefits to gain for individual with disabilities from outdoor experiences. Some of these benefits include:
- Participation in an adventure activity
- Increased cardiovascular endurance
- Increased mobility skills
- Improved self-confidence and self-efficacy
- Improvement in sensory awareness.