Mustard Packets and Other Life Savers!

Last weekend was spent braving the wind and the cold at the Ledges Shelter in the Cuyahoga National Park, attempting to get the fire started in the fireplace and shivering as were presented with 16 hours of how to save and preserve life in the wilderness. The class was sponsored by the Keel Haulers Canoe Club and presented by Campaign Pay It Forward and Team River Runner with out instructor Charlie Duffy, the Safety & Risk Management Director for Team River Runner, an ACA L4 Safety & Rescue and L4 River Kayak Instructor. The 8 of us proved that you can learn in any environment, who needs fancy classrooms? The weather was not cooperative, with 40 mph hour winds gusting to 60 outside, we sat at picnic tables holding our pens in our gloved hands attempting to take a note or two on the presentations.

We were presented with the latest information in life saving scene and patient evaluation, with new methods of immediate treatment that updated for me, 40 year old information from my Army Medic days in the 70’s. I was surprised at the methods that were still current that I acquired in my youth. The class was geared towards emergencies on the river, or close to the river. You know those pesky falls on the muddy banks that claim many a kayaker attempting to reach their campsite after a long day of paddling. We went over preparing proper first aid kits for river paddling trips, with several innovations in equipment that I was not aware of but purchased on Amazon right there in the classroom.

The course was fast paced with A LOT of information jammed into our heads with several practical exercises with various types of patients presented to us. It is always nice for people with first aid interests to get together and share war stories. All the times you saw a friend with some object impaled into their body and what was done. All the times that you experienced paddling mates be overcome by heat exhaustion or hypothermia and how someone with some knowledge got them through it. How this or that piece of equipment, because of pre planning, was there when it was needed and someone’s life was saved. There were those stories that didn’t end so well when resources were not available, and mistakes were made. It proved over and over again, that having the right equipment, and current, training and skills can and will save lives.

We learned how to put dislocated shoulders back into place, which I was told was a common injury with white water kayakers. ( I knew there was a reason for staying on the flat water.) And then the mustard! For those pesky leg cramps when you are laying in your tent at night, or paddling down the river on your 5th hour in the 85 degree heat, eat a couple packs of mustard for immediate relief. Sounds a little bit like the water smells, a bit like fish, but on to Amazon I went to order 200 packets for my first aid kits.

Our session Sunday was glorious with 60 degrees, sunshine and a grill out for lunch. Many new friends were made. Lot’s of networking was accomplished. Cards were exchanged. We all went on our way back to our lives, with the knowledge that we could make a difference, in our homes and on our many adventures by helping to prevent and treat accidental pain, illness, and even death, and do it in areas that might take hours or even days to be evacuated from .

Helpful Links:

Team River Runner

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