Accidents and what to do

What your instructor never taught you. Continuing your education and learning from others. Climbing safety topics and accident/incident discussions.
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Nic Le Maitre
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Accidents and what to do

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:03 am

Accidents happen.

They are a fact of life, especially when taking part in activities like climbing or hiking in the mountains where numerous predictable but difficult to avoid hazards, like rockfall, occur. We get complacent and feel invincible, but I know from personal experience that one day all of us will be present when a friend is injured, or when we get hurt ourselves.

What you should do:
1) Make sure no one else gets hurt.
Check that whatever happened no longer poses a risk, and then safely approach the injured person.
2) Stabilise the patient.
You will die fastest from blood loss, next if you cannot breathe and lastly shock and hypothermia.
So manage these in that order. Check for heavy bleeding and learn how to make a pressure bandage and improvise a tourniquet (a sling and a stick).
Make sure the injured person can breathe and maintain an airway (recovery position if unconscious).
Lastly, make sure that the patient is warm and will stay that way. Put them on something insulating and tuck spaceblankets under their clothes.
3) Contact help.
See the numbers below for the MCSA rescue teams nationally. First contact the local emergency services as they may be closer and able to respond sooner. Please also contact the closest MCSA team. Our teams work closely with the local emergency services may be able to support or follow-up more readily, where appropriate.

Image

Finally, keep in mind that it may take a long time for help to arrive. Until then you should not stop playing a constructive part in the rescue. Apply first aid, provide accurate information on your situation, help the first responders to access your location and very importantly prevent the incident from becoming worse by staying safe, taking shelter, watching out for weather etc.
Last edited by Nic Le Maitre on Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Happy climbing
Nic

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Nic Le Maitre
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Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Accidents and what to do

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:37 am

PRIORITIES in a MEDICAL MOUNTAIN EPIC
  1. Prevent further injuries
    • yourself
    • others
    • the patient
  2. Administer immediate first aid:
    • stop bleeding
    • CPR (hardly ever)
    • keep airway open
    • stabilise spine especially neck
    • splint broken bones
    • cover burns
    • comfort patient
  3. Calmly declare an emergency
    • explicitly state:
    o that there is a serious problem
    o exactly what the problem is
    o give your best estimate of how bad the problem is
    o that you require everyone’s assistance in overcoming that problem
    • invite reasonable comment and questions
    • do not overdramatise or undercall the problem
    • if possible, do not exclude the patient
  4. Evaluate resources: SKILLS, MEDICAL, LOCATION, CONTACT, VISIBILITY, SHELTER, WARMTH, FOOD
    • special skills (doctors, nurses, paramedics, rock climbers, local area guides, etc)
    • medical equipment, drugs, “drug-substitutes”
    • maps, GPS
    • cell phones, satellite phones
    • heliograph, dayglow material, space sheet, strobes
    • water and food (combined)
    • shelter (tents, bivvy bags, groundsheets, etc)
    • fuel, matches, lighters
  5. Call for help:
    • Cell phone (SMS if poor connection, but confirm reception), public phone, messengers
    • Give exact details (written if possible)
    • exact location (?GPS), best route in, alternate routes
    • no of injured people,exact nature of injuries
    • urgency (life threatening, limb threatening)
    • how stable is patient
    • elapsed time since incident
    • specialist personnel needed (doctor, paramedic, cliff rescue, caving rescue, river rescue, etc)
    • special equipment needed (anti-venom, special meds eg adrenaline or insulin, intubation equipment, blood, jaws of life, etc)
    • terrain, LZ, visibility/clearance for night evacuation
    • stay in touch
  6. Stabilise patient:
    • take a medical history (allergies, diabetes, seizures, porphyria, etc)
    • reassess often for medical deterioration (“special”)
    • pain relief (pre-empt pain)
    • shelter
    • food & water
  7. Arrange evacuation:
    • monitor stability of patient
    • helicopter: LZ preparation, winch preparation
    • carry-out: rescue team or own party?
    • assess feasibility of alternate routes
    • weather conditions
  8. Involve everyone:
    • inform everyone
    • explain plans
    • delegate tasks, but…
    • get frequent report-backs
    • keep in touch
Happy climbing
Nic

DeanVDM
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Location: Gauteng

Re: Accidents and what to do

Post by DeanVDM » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:48 am

The Sharp End (an American Alpine Club podcast that is related to the AAC accidents in North American Climbing publication) has an excellent edition with good advice which is 90% applicable in SA too: https://soundcloud.com/the_sharp_end/wh ... help-ep-37.

mokganjetsi
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Real Name: Willem Boshoff
Location: Cape Town

Re: Accidents and what to do

Post by mokganjetsi » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:24 am

Excellent info Nic thanks! Is it okay for me to borrow it for re-publication?

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Nic Le Maitre
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Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
Location: Harrismith

Re: Accidents and what to do

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:29 am

mokganjetsi wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:24 am
Excellent info Nic thanks! Is it okay for me to borrow it for re-publication?
Spread it as far and as widely as possible :thumleft:
Happy climbing
Nic

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