...and be prepared!
Mom's accident yesterday drove home the point that you must be prepared for an emergency at any time. Being prepared doesn't mean just packing a cell phone and first aid kit.
Being prepared means knowing exactly what to do in an emergency. And that does not necessarily always include calling 9-1-1. It takes time for emergency responders to get to where you are - IF you have cell service and can direct them to your location.
*RANT* Cell phones have made us more dependent on other people, therefore less independent. If we get a flat tire, we no longer change it ourselves, we call AAA or someone to come fix it. If we break down on the side of the road, we don't even bother to see what the problem is, we just call a tow truck. That kind of thinking - that we can just call for help - has made us helpless.
*stepping off soapbox*
1. In an emergency, Do. Not. Panic.
2. Take stock of the situation, make a plan. It doesn't have to be elaborate, it can be as simple as, "let's take a look at that injury." The plan being to look at the injury and treat it. The next step would be to figure out how to get out of the back country. Do you send someone for help and wait for SAR to come find you? Do you load everyone back up on their horses and ride out? Have a plan in place, even if it's a half-assed thrown together one. Having a plan helps keep panic at bay.
3. Know how to use your first aid kit. Too many times, people buy one off the shelves, throw it in their saddlebags and never think of it again. You need to know what is in the kit and how to use everything in it. Take a first aid course. Keep current on it. Most first aid techniques and equipment can be applied to both humans and horses. If you're human fist aid certified, you will certainly know that if your horse is bleeding, direct pressure will stop the bleeding.
Most professionals will advise you to file a plan with somebody, letting them know exactly where you're going, how long you'll be gone, etc. It's a great idea. However, the way we ride - exploring - makes it hard to tell people exactly where we're going. We do let people know when to expect us back. If we're not back by that time, send someone a looking.
Thank God Bill was with Mom yesterday. They had a first aid kit. He knows what's in it and how to use it. He's up-to-date on his first aid skills. They were in a rugged area - no helicopter could have flown in, they had no cell phones with them (why would they, when there's no service), and it would have taken longer to send someone to the trail head, call for help and lead the responders back. Riding out was the most expedient option.
Had he (or the person they were riding with) panicked, it would have been a whole different ball game.