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First Aid Basics for Wilderness Survival

Learn some first aid basics from NYC Outward Bound instructor Marko Yurachek in this wilderness survival skills video from Howcast.


The things that may happen to you in a back country, most commonly are cuts, and athletic injuries, like, sprains. So I happen to have a little gash here, a little flap. With something that's like a cut, that's not bleeding very much, if you pack a very simple First Aid kit, and I'm not a real fan of carrying a huge kit, all you have to do is apply direct pressure to a cut. So direct pressure will stop bleeding and hold it there. So if I hold that flap of skin down, I'm holding it with my thumb, holding it for a few minutes, it'll stop and the skin will adhere back to the rest of your body.

If you have injuries that are athletic injuries, like, you twist your knee, you twist your ankle, there are a lot of great things that you can use in the environment to take care of those injuries. They have an Ace bandage that works really well. I don't have an Ace bandage in my kit, but you want to, RICE an athletic injury, which is rest it, ice it, or cool it down, compress it and elevate it.

Elevation is easy. Resting is easy. Not really. A lot of people want to keep walking on it. That just causes more injury. Cooling it down. You can cool it down with mud. You can cool it down with sphagnum moss, which grows all around here. So you can pack it with moss, you can wrap it with a t-shirt that gives you compression, that gives you coolness, and that will take care of a sprain, or strain, or something like that.

So with a cut you want direct pressure, and then you want to clean your injury. In my kit I carry band-aids, some larger band-aids, some big gauze pads. I carry duct tape. Inside of here is safety pins. I also carry some hand warmers.

One of the other things that I carry in my First Aid kit is a mirror. A mirror works great for signaling. And this all goes in my emergency kit by the way. So I can signal with this. But it also allows me to search for dangerous animals, aka, ticks in places that I might not normally be able to see. So this is an important piece of First Aid equipment that also allows you to take things out of your eye.

So if you get something in your eye, that's another common injury, you get a stick or a piece of trash in your eye, allows you to look into your eye and wipe it out. I just happen to have a little mask if I'm doing CPR or rescue breathing. I have a iodine wipes, again, band-aids.

Band-aids can be used as steri-strips to close big wounds. Oftentimes I will carry something that's like a Pepto and a pain-killer in my First Aid kit, that if you do have something that's stomach or a medical condition you have something to take care of that.

So athletic injuries and cuts and stuff are the most often things you'll get. In addition to that, you may get blisters, and somewhere in here, I believe I have some moleskin. Moleskin is great to put over blisters. There's actually better stuff out there now that's gel packs that you can put over blisters that work really well.

So these simple items are what I carry with me. That, and improvisation will allow you to take care of almost all your back country injuries.

One thing that also works really well in combination with your First Aid kit is iodine tablets so you can make an iodine solution, irrigate your wound. Have some iodine wipes in there.

So this is a really simple, really lightweight First Aid kit that you can carry with you. All this fits into about half this bag and weighs a pound or so. So it's really light, really easy, and really useful to carry with you in the back country.

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