A few days ago I took part in a Community First Aid course – partly to refresh my knowledge but also because I felt it would be good knowledge given I organise a few hikes with the Hong Kong MeetUp group.
The course was organised by First Aid International and it was a standard first aid course, combined with some specific tips for hikers. I found it very useful, especially as our instructor Jackie was really great – she was very patient in explaining the different steps, used different examples to highlight various situations in which we could find ourselves in and ensured that we did several role plays to familarise ourselves with the Recovery Position and CPR.
I’m not going to go into too much detail about the course (if you’ve never done a First Aid course you should do one yourself) but there were a few things that Jackie mentioned that I noted down for myself:
- 999 is the standard emergency number in Hong Kong, but if you can’t get through or don’t have a Hong Kong telephone connection, you can use 112 to call for help
- When you go out hiking, always remember the grid reference, so you can give this information to the ambulance or helicopter team
- In life-threatening situations, always call for an ambulance – don’t get into a taxi, you can easily get stuck in traffic
- You need to protect yourself first, if you are the first responder, so always remember to check the scene and use some plastic bag (if you don’t have gloves on you) before touching someone
- For the safe recovery position try and turn the person on to their left side – that’s better for pregnant women, people with heart problems etc.
- If someone has a nose bleed, pinch the nose and bend forward (many years ago I had learnt that you should bend backward, but that’s actually wrong)
- A heart attack is more likely to happen when someone is eating or has just eaten – the person goes pale and the pain does not go away for 10 mins. Make sure the person sits down, leaning forward – that person should not lie down
- In case of a stroke, you can lie the person down, turning the head onto the weak side
- For ankle and wrist injuries, use ice (where possible) but wrap it into fabric or a bag and cool the area. If you have to take off the shoe, put on a bandage quickly before you put the shoe back on. Don’t wait too long, otherwise you might not be able to get the shoe back on (due to the swelling). Remember not to bandage the toes/fingers and always check the blood circulation
- Fractures need to be immobilised above and below the joint, using almost anything – from magazines to sticks with t-shirts
- If there is a wound, clean it with water (not alcohol or anything else), dry and cover it
- Snake bites (which I fear the most) should be treated as follows: make sure the person rests and calms down, so the potential poison don’t circulates in the body. Make sure to keep the bitten area underneath the heart and try to immobilise the leg/arm. Apply a compression bandage, cover bitten area plus the area below and above. Try not to walk – get to a hospital asap