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How When Why << Back
FIRST AID FIRST

You're all packed up and ready to go. Escaping for a weekend, a week, or (if you are lucky) even longer.

Being a keen 4WD owner, you've probably gone to great pains to ensure that you are carrying sufficient recovery gear, in case you get stuck, and the basic spare parts for the vehicle. If you are a regular back-country driver you will most likely have studied up on how to make your own emergency repairs. You should have the skills to (at least) change a blocked filter, replace a radiator hose and make temporary repairs sufficient to get you back to civilization.

But what if the thing that breaks is not a part of your vehicle? What if it's a part of you?

It is a sad fact of life that while many motorists will spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars making their vehicles perform better, they have absolutely no idea how to handle a mishap that could occur to a passenger, or to themselves.

It is only commonsense that if first aid education is important for the average motorist, then it is obviously extremely important for those who venture off the beaten track. Sure, you may have a good first aid kit on board, but if you or one of your passengers breaks a leg, collar-bone or whatever, could you make the best of the situation? Unfortunately, a truthful answer, from the large majority of 4WD owners, would be, "No".

The seriousness of an accident or illness can be multiplied many times if it occurs on a little used track or at an isolated campsite, where those in attendance have no idea how to help.  Most 4WD clubs insist that every vehicle on a trip carries a comprehensive first aid kit and some conduct first aid lectures as part of their 4WD training program.

A few 4WD clubs make membership conditional on completing a recognized first aid course. When you think about it, that's a damn good idea. Such a covenant on membership would not only benefit the members, it would also set an example to all other motoring organizations, and contribute to the responsible status of the club in the community.

by Ray Barker

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