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First Aid Articles


Pre-Trip Planning

The weather is improving, and we are already looking forward to some great paddling trips. It may not be glamorous, but have you considered your back up plans in case something goes wrong. My background includes 26 years of white water paddling, 9 years of sea kayaking, and 15 years as a paramedic. I’d like to share with you some of my experiences and knowledge, to help you better prepare for those incidents that crop up from time to time. My focus will be on healthcare.  

Incident Management

First of all, let’s consider safety. When we talk about safety, we’re thinking firstly of our own individual safety, secondly of the group safety and thirdly the safety of the casualty. Once the group is safe, they can start working as a team. On the sea, we may all turn our boats and paddle into the prevailing conditions to maintain our relative position to each other. Maintaining group control and communication is a group safety management strategy. We have acted as individuals to make the group as safe as possible. We are now able to help the patient.

Assessing a Casualty

In the previous edition, I provided my insights into Incident Management. I now want to focus on our ‘Medical Challenges’ in paddlesport and move the discussion on to ‘Assessing A Casualty’. This article is not a substitute for attending a First Aid Course but will hopefully remind you of the framework we use to make an assessment. It will also raise issues for you to consider because of the environment we operate in, whether that’s the sea or a river.

Moving People

So we’re outside, enjoying our sport when an incident happens. We then have some important decisions to make, and actions to carry out. How do we face up to the evolving challenges of our incident? How do we manage the incident through to resolution in the most careful and pragmatic way?

First Aid Kits

Here’s a list of what can be found in my first aid kit. Most of it goes into a small sandwich box, which then goes in a drybag so that none of the contents get water damaged which would render most of them useless. Remember to check your First Aid Kit before going on a trip.

Safety First - Road Traffic Collisions

Road Traffic Collisions (RTC’s) come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one characteristic in common. They all dangerous, dynamic places to be!


Name 10 common hazards found at the site of a vehicular collision? Answers at the end.


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