With the days getting warmer and the May long weekend quickly approaching, many of us are getting ready to enjoy some fun activities, like a trip to the cottage, hikes, or the first camping trip of the season. While it’s a great time of year to get outside, it’s also when we see many traumatic injuries take place.
Actively preventing injury is always the main objective, but being ready to respond when an incident occurs is the next best option. It helps to be prepared by carrying a first aid kit with a few essential items. We often think about packing disinfectant and ice packs, but did you know large bleeding incidents (which could be caused by a fall or using home improvement tools, for example) benefit from some specific items. A person can bleed to death in as little as 5 minutes, so it’s important to be equipped with the tools necessary to control critical bleeding before help arrives.
What to pack:
- Gloves. A few pairs of gloves provide a great barrier between you and the individual you’re helping.
- Gauze. A great material to use when applying pressure or packing a bleeding wound.
- Extra clothes or t-shirts. If you run out of gauze, an extra t-shirt or two can be used to pack a bleeding wound or apply pressure.
- A high quality tourniquet, such as the Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT). This is perhaps the most important item to include. A tourniquet can be extremely effective at stopping a life-threatening bleed and can be on for many hours until help arrives. Sunnybrook highly recommends receiving formal training in how to apply a tourniquet before adding one to your first aid kit. You can take training by registering for a STOP THE BLEED® course. A CAT Gen7 Tourniquet can be purchased when registering for our course or during class.
- A permanent marker. This can be used to mark the time of tourniquet application, which is handy if you are in a rural area where it might take longer to get help.
- A whistle. Use this to signal for help and assist first responders in locating you.
Remember, if you’re in rural or remote areas where cell coverage or WIFI is unavailable, emergency calls can only be made through a satellite phone. Check to see if your cell phone has the capability to make a satellite call. Always be sure to tell someone where you’re going and your planned schedule.
Sunnybrook wishes you a safe and happy long weekend!