Access Special Backpacker.com Features, Register Now!

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: Evacuate or Wait for Rescue?

Your buddy just slid down a steep scree and broke his leg. Should you go for help–or haul him out? It's a tough call. The answer depends on several factors. Here's how to decide.

Your buddy just slid down a steep scree slope and broke his leg. Should you go for help–or haul him out? It’s a tough call. The answer depends on several factors. Here’s how to decide.

How bad is it? Patients with life-threatening injuries should usually stay put and wait for trained medical professionals; those with less serious injuries can walk or be carried out. If the patient can handle it, walking out is the best option.

How far is the trailhead? One fit hiker can move a lot faster than a group carrying a litter. If you’re deep in the wilderness, a messenger might bring back help before you could carry the patient out.

Can the rescuer(s) handle it? You’ll need strength, stamina, and skill to navigate the terrain with an injured person in tow.

What’s the weather like? Stay put if severe weather puts the rescuers in danger of getting lost or injuring themselves.

Is there imminent danger? Even severely injured patients might need to be moved if the current location is unsafe–e.g., lightning is striking or you’re on an unstable slope.

Page 1 of 212

Leave a Reply