Jules and I went on a 2 day first aid course with Wilderness Medical Training, a company specialising in training people who are travelling to remote areas where access to medical help is limited.
The last first aid course I did was a 5 day “intensive” First Aid at Work course, which predominantly involved learning how to call an ambulance, fill out an accident form, and keep your patient comfortable until the ambulance arrived in 7 minutes.
The highlight was when we were dealing with burns and a little old lady on the course (who paints faces at children’s parties for a living) put the level of tuition into perspective by using being scolded when you spill some tea on your chest as an example. Fortunately another person on the course was a retired sniper and he trumped her example with a story of watching soldiers he knew being burned alive in a tank and nobody being able to help them because of enemy fire.
Having done various first aid courses in the past, I was expecting the normal CPR, recovery position etc, but this one went way beyond that, from popping a dislocated shoulder back into place, to treating a collapsed lung. We were also told what antibiotics we would need for things like diarrhoea.
Throughout the course we were shown examples of injuries and how to treat them. The photo above was one of the tamer, although more memorable ones and is an example of what happens to you if you get too close to a polar bear – something we will pay careful attention to when we’re in the Sahara. In this instance prevention is better than cure and the solution is similar to coming across a shark while diving - out swim / out run the person you are with.