Kayaking is an assumed risk sport and as many of you know, the odd bump and scrape are not unusual. In the last year Regents Canoe Club has also had to contend with a couple of more serious injuries – rare occurrences to be sure – but as they say: accidents can (and do) happen.
So it was with this in mind that a few of us signed up to complete/refresh our Wilderness First Aid certificates. While it is unlikely that when kayaking in the UK any of us will attempt to, say, re-set a dislocated shoulder by the side of a river, the importance of wilderness first aid is knowing what to do when help is not close to hand. One also needs to have an up-to-date certificate should you want to get your coaching qualifications.
Based at the Freightliner’s City Farm just off the Holloway Road (who knew there was a farm in Islington! Great café by the way) we spent two days work-shopping a series of scenarios which involved a lot of slightly awkward role-play. But practice makes perfect!
As with kayaking, the rescuer’s safety must come first. There is no point helping someone else if you are going to put yourself in danger. Initial assessment of the victim should follow DRAB: Danger (assess the situation), Response (is the victim responsive?), Airways (are they breathing?), Breathing (if they are not breathing, start resuscitation).
Then your priorities become the 4Bs: breathing, bleeding, bones and burns – in that order. There is no point stemming bleeding if the patient isn’t breathing (unless the bleeding is catastrophic, in which case, it’s really your call). And CPR can easily be carried out to the song Staying Alive by the Bee Gees should you find yourself unsure of the correct tempo.
We had a chance to experiment with dressing wounds, and Mogie’s deft hand with a bandage managed to transform me into the Bride of First Aid (see photo).
Meanwhile Olga – being the smallest person in our group – made an excellent and lightweight victim to practice evacuations on, using a buoyancy aid to protect her “fractured pelvis”. In our outdoor workshop we managed to package her up quite nicely with a couple of bivvie bags and a throw line, though I think she was less than sure of Mogie’s ultimate intentions (see photo).
Despite getting quite squeamish at various photographs of serious injuries, now that we have been taught the basics, the hope is that we will never have to use them. But it is good to know the club takes its safety seriously and helps to train up its members so we can all have a better time on the water.
Huge thanks to Clarissa for sorting and booking, Claire Lancaster for organising (plus supplying the tea and biscuits) and Ryan’s step-dad, Kevin Mann of Overland Training, for the training despite the cold weather and a few technical glitches. There are worse ways you can spend a weekend!
Get money back when you train and learn new skills
At Regents we provide training subsidies for members who undertake certain training courses that make the club stronger and/or safer. This includes a 20% subsidy for first aid training, for members who actively contribute to the club. Find out more at: www.regentscanoeclub.co.uk/training