Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Make Like A Boy Scout

...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.


Unknown said...

thank you for sharing- and the rant! (though my cell phone rants revolve around a breakdown in relational communication; I esp. learned this in Europe two summers ago when we didn't have Euro cells, how did people used to FIND each other in a foreign city... by making PLANS and sticking to them!) Sorry, lost my composure for a moment there :)

But I've taken your emergency preparedness to heart, scout's honor!


Dreaming said...

Everyone should read your post. Preparedness is a life saver.

GunDiva said...

Bill told me to point out the the fanny pack I'm wearing in my header picture is where my first aid kit is. The only drawback to riding bareback is that there's no place to tie stuff on (horn bags, saddle bags, etc), so it's gotta go on us.

Shirley said...

Hope your mom is okay. I'm one of those people who can assess a situation and make snap judgments instead of panicking. And change a tire... and do first aid... but then, I belong to the older generation who learned to fend for themselves long before cell phones were even dreamed of.

Rachel said...

Such a good reminder (I go to First Aid refresher in a couple of weeks and I've been gunning to get to it).

Was impressed by how they made do. But let's be honest here... they don't make a splint or wrap or pill for the sheer levelheadedness and pain threshold your mom has.

That is quite simply amazing.