Before you go wading in to give first aid, consider your own safety



Before you dashing to the casualty to give first aid you must remember the overriding first principle of first aid; don't put yourself or others at risk.

Assess the situation and decide whether it is safe for you to even go close to the casualty, as you don’t want to suffer the same fate as them. Whilst it is impossible to list a comprehensive list of situation here that you may encounter, below are some considerations and potential actions.


Immediate Considerations and Actions

Casualty has fallen from the same path as you

  • Ensure that you are rest of party take extra care and step away from the danger  
  • Can you get someone to call for help now?
  • How far have they fallen? Have they hit anything when falling?
  • Is it safe to descend to the casualty, and can you get back?
  • Can you attract the attention of others walkers to help?
  • Does anyone have any equipment that may help, such as a rope?


Casualty has been hit by a falling rock from above

  • Are there any further rocks about to fall? Have someone watch out and be ready to shout
  • If there is an suggestion of a more sustained rock-fall (more common in winter and spring) stay aside until you are comfortable with the situation


Casualty has fallen into a river or stream whilst crossing and has been moved by the current

  • Don’t go [literally] wading in after them as they quite possibly slipped on something, you could do the same
  • Can you reach them with a fallen branch, or walking pole? Can they grab it?
  • If it’s safe and you are comfortable entering the water, do so and get out with the casualty as quickly as possible
  • There is a real danger of hypothermia, and you must seek immediate shelter and dry clothes


Casualty has been struck by lightning

  • Lightning can strike in the same place!
  • Remove yourself and others from anything that could attract electricity; walking poles & ice axes being the obvious ones
  • Approach casualty and check for response. Requirement for CPR is a real possibility


Casualty has been burnt by stove

  • Can you safely turn off the stove? If not, can you kick it away?


Casualty has been scolded by water from a flask

  • Move the flask away before trying to treat casualty


Casualty is bleeding

  • Put some latex gloves on


These are just example situations, but you should be able to see the thought process behind first assessing danger.