SAM splints are great becuase they are light, work…
Source: our wilderness first aid instructor let us use it
SAM splints are great becuase they are light, work in the outdoors, and are an essential part of your wilderness first aid kit. They have sizes from fingers to legs and are reusable.
- easy to mold to any break
- comfortable and light
- a little bulky in size for ultralight backpacking
- you need to disinfect after every use
Last weekend I participated in some Wilderness First Aid training with my www.insulindependence.org group in sunny San Diego. Now, I was looking forward to doing first aid training as much as anyone likes to get kicked in the nuts but, I know no matter how much it will be me needing the medical attention that I need to be fully trained as well.
Above you can see one of our most used items which is the sleeping pad or what I had known all my life as the shorty pad and it was widely used for leg injuries like you see Dino above with a broken leg.
Instead of a boring lecture class this actually is a great hands on class that really made me think about what I use in my personal first aid kit and how to use my everyday camping items as medical equipment when someone gets hurt in the backwoods. Above you can see me tying a sling on Dino and I felt really good that the sling I learned as an eleven-year-old scout is the same as a modern sling.
One thing you don't see in this picture is a "Sam's splint," which is basically a piece of aluminum sheet covered in a neoprene cushion. The Sam's splint molds perfectly to any wrist or arm break and it is light. Our counselor recommended us to have like three of these things but I will probably just get one for my first aid kit.
Same thing with these cravats that I am using to tie the arm sling. I have never used a cravat because back in the day when I was learning some first aid we just used bandanas which I keep in my first aid kit. Now I will switch from a traditional bandana to the modern cravat things, which are light but are large when opened and can be used for all sorts of issues.
One thing I had never done before is to make this warm bundle thing for someone suffering from hypothermia. The thing I learned as a kid was to get naked with the cold person in a sleeping bag to warm them up. Our counselor informs us that the two naked people in a sleeping bag endangers both people because when the cold person sucks out the heat from the warm person and both now are cold and could fall into a more severe situation.
The scary thing to cover are the head and neck injuries and we learned some neat ways to check for head and neck issues but not to damage the person any more. The counselor did a great job on not teaching the A,B,C's and 1,2,3's of first aid but how to identify, address, and fix any situation with the limited gear you have on an outdoor adventure.
Now I feel comfortable in any emergency first aid situation in the backwoods if the victim is not me. I would reccommend any person that camps to take a weekend camping with a wilderness first aid class. Who knows you might have to use it some day.