Book Review: Outdoor First Aid by Katherine Wills

Nobody wants to ever have to use any first aid, least of all on your friends or colleagues when outdoors. However the fact is that in a remote setting like the side of a mountain or even a crag within sight of the road, we are far enough away from a ambulance and crew that those initially minutes are even more precious than in an urban setting. That golden hour of what we can do to stabilise a casualty as we wait for mountain rescue to turn up are vital.

Personally I would like all my friends and climbing partners to be trained in first aid. As most of the people I climb with are instructors, this usually means that should the worse happen to me or my friends then help is at hand. None of us set out to have an accident but sadly they can happen to anyone, regardless of ability or experience.

As such I was really excited to get one of the first copies of Outdoor First Aid by Kath, a good friend of mine who has been working hard on this book for the last 6 years. It was partly my fault she started as I was writing ‘How to Climb Harder‘ and she asked me about the process and Pesda Press. Two days later she ran in Paul Gannon, who was writing Rock Trails Snowdonia. Kath too signed up with Pesda Press.

Over that time I have help by providing a few images and have tried to keep in contact with her progress. As such I know just how thoroughly Kath has researched this book, as the majority of first aid advice has been aimed at Urban setting and not remote. In doing so she has contacted the resus council for advice in remote protocols. As in an urban setting we are told to continue until help arrives, whilst in a remote setting this might be impossible as it maybe hours until we see outside help.

Kath also got advice from one of the UK’s leading doctors on Lyme’s Desease, Frostbite and from many mountain rescue experts and A&E consultants. These A&E consultants are primarily from areas who receive trauma victims from outdoor accidents of a wide variety. As such this book isn’t just current but probably cutting edge on advice.

Well illustrated and written, it is in my mind the new bible of first aid for people who engage in any form of outdoor pursuit where the setting is anything beyond 5 minutes from a road. Whilst this book is no replacement for a first aid course, of which Kath runs REC (Rescue and Emergency Care) Courses that are aimed specifically to outdoor users and are almost industry standard with outdoor instructors. What this book is a aide memoir for you in the three year gap between each course.

I guess, if you are a climber, mountaineer, hillwalker, Kayaker, Mountain Biker, Horse rider, Paraglider or have any other outdoor passion then this is the book is absolutely essential reading.

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