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George Little: Prepare for the worst

January 19, 2013 at 10:43 AM

The State Journal-Register

We all like to like to think that we can get out the messes we get ourselves into — especially those involving misadventures outdoors when things don’t go as we plan.

Most of us don’t back up our self-assurance with an ounce of prevention. We go out alone without telling anyone where we are. Maybe we don’t even know where we are, exactly, if we had to send somebody down a country road in search of us.

Our first aid kit is somewhere under the workbench. That’s as far as we got when we intended to put it in the truck.

Worse yet, do you do what I often do? Shut your cell phone off, or leave it in the truck because you don’t want to be bothered with it.

Any one of those things is a recipe for disaster if you get hurt and can’t get help yourself to safety.

A recent issue of Field and Stream magazine lists the three most common injuries to hunters that require an emergency room visit. Half of all injuries are cuts. Improper knife handling while dressing game or just walking around with one on our belts puts us in more at risk than anything else. Burns and broken bones round out the top three.

In all cases, they say the best first aid option is a cell phone. Call for help before you do anything else. If you don’t want to be bothered with it ringing or beeping while you’re in the field, ask any 8-year-old how to shut off the noises. Have them write it down, because you’re going to want to reverse the process when you get home.

This year, when you get tired of “Lonesome Dove” reruns, spend a little of your winter down time doing something that can help you survive if things go sideways. Stop relying on what you think you know and enroll in a first aid course. Instruction isn’t hard to find and some of the courses may be free.

Take your partner with you. This value added benefit could be huge if one of you needs to help. Both of you can learn something that will stand you in good stead if you need to stop the bleeding, treat a burn or follow the best course of action when one of you hits the ground too hard and ends up with a broken bone.

Like anything else, you can look up first aid procedures online, but if you make a commitment to actually go somewhere for instruction, you may be more likely to do it and to get some hands-on practice.

Then, get out your first aid kit and look through it. If the latch is rusted shut, go get a new one.

The odds are you will be preparing for something that will never happen. But, getting caught short once could be all it takes.

Contact George Little at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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