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Do You Own a First Aid Kit?

 Best First Aid Kit for you

Do you own and carry a First Aid Kit?

Are you carrying a First Aid Kit when you leave for an outdoor adventure?

The beginning of the new Fall season is always a good time to reset my “outdoor activity” programs. The long, hot summer is over and a new season is upon us.

The Fall season brings River Fishing, Hunting, and Photography into play. This also includes lots of Hiking, Backpacking, and Camping. The temperatures begin to fall and the days and nights become a lot cooler.

For me, every new season is a time to reassess and re-organize my “gear”. If you are like most outdoors people, you suffer from varying degrees of “gearhead syndrome”.

Fear not, there is hope for you and your illness.

While most outdoor activities are very gear specific, one item that should never be excluded is the First Aid Kit.

A Real Life Event!

A few days ago, I was River Fishing for Chinook and Coho Salmon on the Chilliwack/Vedder River. The day was warm and sunny and a real pleasure to be on the river. Surrounded by mountains that had just received a dusting of snow, it was hard to imagine a better way to spend this late summer day.

Sometimes, when I river-fish, I line-up with the group, along the bank, and trade fishing stories when the fishing is slow. Other times I like to wander up or down the river to study this season’s river topography. This method produced 1 Pink Salmon, however, they cannot be retained in this river, at this time, this season.

Further upstream, I managed to find a deep hole that was literally alive with these Pink Salmon fish. I could see 100’s of these Pink Salmon in this hole and try as I might there was no way these fish were going to bite. Five other fishermen stopped by and all left like me, with no tight lines!

The fact that these fish were not biting, and not being able to keep them anyway, soon had me on the move again. I love Hiking, and if there is no reason to sit or stand still, I am soon on my way. I like to cover lots of water and this is actually good steelhead training and preparation.

Half a mile of riverbed and riverbank walking brought me to an enthusiastic and very energized group of fishermen. As I made my way upstream, I saw a beautiful Coho and many large Chinooks that had recently been caught.

Eying the group, I quickly spotted my friend Don, … a calm, patient, and easy to talk to “kind-of-guy”. Don was a little less relaxed than normal and I asked him why he didn’t seem to be his usual self?

He said, … “you just missed a very ugly accident”. Someone had just broken their eyeglasses with a fishhook that had dislodged itself from a big “Spring” Salmon. The tension on the line shot the hook straight into his eyeglasses and broke the eyeglasses.

This, unfortunately, left pieces of glass in his eye. This had happened only minutes before I arrived.

Warning!

While I have no statistics on this type of accident, (unset hook coming towards your face/eyes) I am hearing of more and more instances of this. These 10 to 20 pounds+ fish are quite strong and powerful, and feeling the bite and setting the hook, is an art that separates the good from the great.

This is not a fishing seminar but a warning about fishhooks coming towards your face and eyes. Leaning the rod slightly away to the left or right will give you a scare but usually miss your pumpkin!

ANOTHER good reason to wear SAFETY GLASSES!

Would you have known what to do?

Falls, tumbles, or a fishhook in your hand always gets a few chuckles, but this was much more serious. Nobody wants to see anyone lose an eye!

If you had been there, would you have known what to do?

Yes, I would have! … in reply to Don’s asking.

I am not a Medical Doctor and for this reason, I will not describe the required procedure in this blog. Further to the above, I would not comment on an injury from 2nd-hand knowledge. I trust you appreciate my position on this matter.

This is an excellent reason for anyone to want to learn First Aid.

Don was a bit surprised to hear that I had taken First Aid courses from St. John Ambulance.

What should you do first?

If you don’t own a First Aid Kit and have NOT taken a First Aid course, this must become a very high priority on your list.

What Type and Size of First Aid Kit should you carry?

The size and type of First Aid Kit are determined by the size of your group (number of people) and your distance to the nearest medical facility or hospital.

Do you need training in First Aid?

This is an easy question to answer. The answer is … of course you do!

No one is born “hardwired” for First Aid.

Imagine that the above incident had happened to one of your friends or a family member.

How important is First Aid training when it hits home?

Where can I get this training?

In Canada, where I live, St. John Ambulance offers excellent, professional training in First Aid throughout the year. There are always courses available.

St. John Ambulance has been providing for the health, safety, and quality of life of Canadians for over 125 years.

St. John Ambulance offers comprehensive, first aid and CPR training programs for the workplace, the home, and the community.

These courses are available in:

  • workplace
  • pre-hospital and healthcare
  • CPR and AED
  • Emergency First Aid
  • specialized industry
  • family, children, and youth
  • instructor development
  • Pet First Aid
  • and many others.

How much will this training cost?

Costs vary with different programs and levels of training. Contact your local chapter and inquire.

Do not procrastinate on this one. It could mean saving a life.

Time spent learning First Aid training is never wasted.

In Conclusion

A small First Aid Kit is preferred for short excursions and EDC on your person when Hiking, Fishing, Camping, or Hunting. Purchase a small and rugged pouch that is not too big so that you don’t leave it at home or in your vehicle.

Its contents can be modified to your needs and preferences. Cheap scissors and tweezers should always be upgraded. You don’t need 25 small bandages. Get superior quality Elastoplast-types. Same goes for pads and tape.

With time and training, you can build yourself a First Aid kit that you will be proud to show your friends.

Include a small manual and don’t forget to protect against water damage, and don’t forget to check it often to maintain your supplies in good order.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions about First Aid Kits and First Aid Training, please do not hesitate to leave them in the space below. I will do my best to answer them all in a timely manner.

Paul

I am an avid outdoors enthusiast, and I spend most of my free time in the great outdoors. The mountains and rivers, ... and everything in between ... is always calling me. Nature is my sanctuary.

12 Comments

  1. Brrr, your story made me shudder. Initially, such an accident seems unlikely but it’s interesting that you have heard it more and more as you have gone fishing. This is why having a decent first aid kit is so important when we go outdoors to remote places. When I go skiing, my first aid pack is essential but I must confess that it is so long since I had any training, I’m sure I would learn something new. And I’m sure that there is much new information out there to take on board. Thanks for your article, it’s made me think ahead of the next trip that I take.

    • Great on you, Oliver. 

      We all get too complacent at various times in our lives. It’s “harsh”, to realize that it often takes “tough medicine” to bring us back to reality. 

      It is as easy as taking a 1-day-course” to bring you back to the real world. Force yourself to spend  1- day on First Aid Training! You will never regret it! 

      Paul

  2. Oh yes First Aid Kits are essential whenever you are getting out of the house and into the wilderness, or anywhere else with a potential for injury for that matter! A couple of buddies and I went for a sunrise hike a few weeks ago, and with minimal light I tripped and sliced my hand on a sharp rock at the top of the mountain. Unfortunately nobody had a first aid kit so I had to manage all the way back down the mountain with a make-shift tee shirt turned gauze pad. Learned that lesson the hard way. Thanks for sharing your story and all of the great info!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Connor. 

      We all seem to like learning our lessons the hard way. As you have probably read, a good First Aid Kit can be purchased quite inexpensively and can weigh in the 1-2 pound range. 

      This is certainly not a “hospital-a-box”, however, they can contain a lot of emergency supplies that can get you through many bad situations. 

      Next on the list, is to take a First Aid Course. 

      Another piece of equipment to carry in your day pack is a headlamp, but that’s probably also on your list by now! 

      Happy Trails and Stay Safe.

      Paul

  3. Wow, what a crazy story. Definitely, haven’t heard that one before.

    Your site is good and is definitely educational. Also, a somber reminder that I definitely need to acquire a first aid kit, especially with all the natural disasters coming on.

    I appreciated the fact that you provided information on where to get this important training and all the information about the first aid kits.

    • Thanks Matt, for stopping by to read my blog. 

      Like you, I had never heard about this until I started fishing “hardcore”. However, from talking to a lot of seasoned fishermen, it has happened before and will most likely happen again. 

      Thanks for your positive comments. I am also very pleased to hear that you will be getting a First Aid Kit. There are many “day courses” that can be taken on weekends so there is no valid reason to not do so. 

      Do yourself and your family a favor. Get a kit and take the course. 

      Paul

  4. Fantastic and informative article. The injury you had described regarding your friend is the very example of a “freak” accident and goes to show that we need to be prepared for anything that may arise, especially in the great outdoors where access to medical facilities are far and wide. I agree that a First Aid kit is a definite must-have within your gear. I’m a firm believer that anything can and will happen, and you’ll thank yourself for being prepared – and may even save a life.

    • Well said, Christina. 

      Tragedy and mishap do not follow any specific timetable. Sometimes they can be avoided and other times they are way beyond our powers to control. 

      Being prepared will never go out of style and is always very useful. First Aid and Training are always important, however, when your out in the wilderness and far from any type of help, this factor goes up, exponentially. 

      I trust that you own a First Aid Kit and have sufficient training to use it well. 

      Paul

  5. What a freak accident, having your glasses shattered by a fishhook. It’s great advice to carry a first aid kit when you are hiking, camping, fishing, really anywhere enjoying the outdoors. We camp a lot, and that is honestly one thing we lack, is a good first aid kit. I really appreciate the reminder! We have some bandaids, etc, but not a full blown first aid kit. I guess that is better than nothing, but that is something that we need to beef up. If you are in a remote area and are not prepared, you could be in trouble. That scrape could become infected and get much worse. We also have a dog that is always with us. What types of items should be included for pets?

    • Good Day, Steve and Kris.

      Accidents are for the most part “freaky” events. 

      They always occur when we are not ready or prepared. No one plans an accident except a research lab. The range of accidents that can and do happen would blow your mind. 

      For instance, this fishhook accident that happened a few days ago on the river was the last thing that I would have expected to encounter on my fishing trip. 

      This is the number 1 reason to carry a First Aid Kit and to learn how to use it. St. John Ambulance actually has a First Aid Course for pets. To answer your question on pets, most cuts, scrapes, and broken bones can be treated like human injuries. 

      Basic First Aid is to stabilize the patient and seek professional help.

      Do yourself a favor, … purchase a First Aid Kit and take a First Aid Course!

      Paul

  6. It goes to show accidents can happen anywhere!
    I am usually prepared with band aids in my handbag along with hand sanitizer. Recently because I cut my left pinky while preparing food I remembered to put a first aid kit in the car. It’s only a small plastic one with some basic items that I got at the local drug store. I am hoping to build it up and be more prepared and be ready for emergencies. 🙂

    • Yes, Dinh, accidents can and do happen very quickly. It’s always nice to be prepared. Preparation is just a state of mind and very easy to achieve. I like your idea very much.

      Building a kit on your own from scratch is a very sensible exercise. Many of these items are probably in your medicine cabinet right now. Gathering them all together in a small plastic case is an excellent beginning.

      First Aid training is always a great idea for young scouts as well. Good Luck and stay safe.

      Paul

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