The Outward Bound Wilderness First-Aid Handbook


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The Handbook covers most of the medical emergencies one must be prepared to face while recreating off the beaten path. For example: Your mountain biking partner crashes and is sitting in the trail with blood on his face from a scalp wound. What do you do? "Your first instinct is to wipe the blood away and help him up. This is a perfectly natural reaction, but it’s dead wrong. Stabilize his neck until you are certain there is no spine injury or other major body system problem, then worry about the laceration." Or: You’re caught in an electrical storm while backpacking. Now what? "In the field, the best tactic is to squat with your feet together as low as you can, ideally on your foam pad or backpack, which will help insulate you from ground current…Theoretically, there is a safety zone on the ground about 45 degrees out from the top of a tall object." Covering general emergency medical procedures as well as specific symptoms and accidents–everything from avalanches to snakebites to hypothermia–the Handbook is well-organized, thorough, and practical. But like any useful first-aid guide, it also discusses proper preventative measures and responsible outdoors behavior.


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