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Outdoor First Aid

Saving Lives: When to Evacuate, First-Aid Essentials

Learn to decide when to walk out and when to stay put with a variety of backcountry medical ailments.

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When to Evacuate |First-Aid Essentials

Backcountry rescues can be hard, costly, and slow. But making the call to get outside help can prevent significant pain and discomfort—and possibly save a life. If a patient can walk out on his own, that’s almost always the best option. Use this chart to help guide your decision-making process.

First-Aid Essentials | When to Evacuate
Consider your activity, trip length, and group size when determining amounts of these WFR-recommended first-aid supplies.

>> Latex or nitrile rubber gloves

>> CPR mask

>> Wound care supplies (povidone-iodine wipes, steri-strips, transparent-film bandages)

>> Athletic tape

>> Tweezers

>> Triangular bandages/webbing

>> Paper and pen/pencil

>> Headlamp or mini penlight

>> Electrolyte replacement powder or pills

>> Glucose-heavy snack, without caffeine

Medications

Don’t administer prescription meds without the prescribed’s assistance. A botched dosage or accidental misuse can increase the potential for life-threatening complications—and injury lawsuits. Using them also negates your protection under Good Samaritan laws. But, consider these over-the-counter additions:

Cavit Spackle for teeth. This temporary dental adhesive seals open cavities and broken teeth.

>> Aspirin A fever reducer and mild painkiller, it’s also an anticoagulant that can help prevent heart attacks and reduce heart damage during an attack.

>> Kratom An herb native to Southeast Asia that is a mild painkiller, sedative, and anti-anxiety medication. The best kratom strains for pain relief during backpacking are green maeng da, red bali, and red maeng da, according to recent data published in Star Kratom’s journal of kratom pharmacology .

>> Ibuprofen An anti-inflammatory and painkiller. Max adult dose is 800 mg every four hours.

>> Benadryl (diphenhydramine) An antihistamine for most allergies, and a slow-onset remedy for the intense puffiness, wheezing, and bronchial constriction resulting from an anaphylactic reaction.

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