Time To Adapt Your First Aid Kit For Cold Weather
So the nights are ‘fair drawing in’, and aside from some spectacular sunsets this week, the passing of the autumnal equinox means that winter is well on the way.
Here is Scotland, we’re really starting to notice the lack of evening daylight, and the first frosts at sea level can’t be far away, with clear and crisp nights being prevalent in this week’s high pressure. So how does that affect our first aid treatments, and what things might we choose to add to our usual kit to make life a bit easier?
The most obvious thing that we are going to need to consider is the air temperature. Casualties especially, but rescuers and any bystanders too, get cold quickly during the winter months. And this drop in core temperature is potentially very dangerous.
So extra clothing, hats and gloves, in an outdoor first aiders kit can be supplemented with foil blankets, group shelters and other equipment. A sports first aider may consider extra foil blankets, and making sure that the first aid room at the club is warmed up before a match starts. While first aiders at work may consider extra foil, or fleece, blankets, depending on their situation.
In terms of treatment we may need to consider the warmth of the casualty as an increased priority, especially for the previously active casualty who isn’t wearing a lot of clothes. Giving them a foil blanket to wrap around themselves and preserve heat will go a long way to improving their state of mind too, so once you’ve carried out a primary survey, I’d get them wrapped up before continuing with a further more time consuming secondary survey. Insulating a casualty from the ground is also very important, and can be done in a number of ways. Have a think about how you might do that in your situation and let us know your ideas.
Some other pieces of kit that are going to really help in any outside setting are head torches, and food. It’s incredible how quickly time passes when an incident happens, and the night seems to draw in extremely quickly when you don’t have a light source, so a head torch can be a literal lifesaver
Food is also very important for keeping people warm. A body needs to burn fuel to generate heat so giving it some fuel will go a long way to helping maintain core temperature. High-energy carbohydrate bars are a good addition, they have a long sell by date, and give plenty of Kcals per bite.
Hopefully that gives you some ideas, as with any incident, it’s the planning before hand that has the most positive influence on the outcome. So use a warm sunny afternoon to check through your first aid kit and make sure you’re prepared for the cold weather ahead.