Accidents can happen, even on short trips along the trail. If an accident happens, here are some basic things to remember.

Scene Safety
Assess the scene. What happened & what caused the accident? Look around quickly to determine if the cause of the accident is something that could also cause harm to you. If so, find a safer location. If the scene is safe you can move toward the person needing assistance.

If you have taken CPR before, you know the importance of basic life support. Make sure the patient has an Airway, is Breathing, and has a pulse (Circulation). If not, call 911 or call out for help. If you have CPR training, begin care. Also, think about the cause of the accident. If it could have injured the patients’ neck or spine (like a high-speed fall, or collision with a vehicle) think about Disability, and try to keep the patient on their back and not move them.

Stay Calm
Do your best to stay calm and reassure the patient, who is likely scared and anxious. You may not know what is wrong, and cannot make any promises, but you can let them know you will help them. A calm and caring presence goes a long way.

LHT Art on the Trail Sarah Gilbert Curlis Lake

Photo courtesy of Sarah Gilbert

Help & Get Help
Even if you don’t have much medical training or carry a first aid kit, you can help. If the accident leaves a person seriously injured, you will likely have called 911 by now.  If the person has a minor injury (a bruise, a scrape, a twisted ankle), do your best to help them to a place they can get more help. For example, make sure they are with someone, and if not, help them get back to their car. If they need to call someone to come get them, wait with them until that person comes. Again, maybe you can’t help them directly, but you can manage the situation and get them to help.