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What do you need in your first aid kit?

It is useful to carry some items to help deal with minor injuries when climbing.  Emily Thompson, qualified Mountain Leader and Holme Valley Mountain Rescue team member, tells us what she would put in a first aid kit for a day out climbing or on the hill.  

Whether you’re heading out alone for a day hiking or climbing for the with friends, it’s sensible to have a good first aid kit with you – just in case. In all honesty, if you have a serious accident climbing, your first action is to call for help, from other climbers or hikers or from the emergency services.  Climbing inherently causes a range of smaller injuries for which it is sensible to be prepared.  Should you be unfortunate enough to have to deal with a more serious accident you need to have the skills and knowledge to deal with the situation.

For more serious accidents, be prepared to call for help. Search & Rescue helicopters help save and rescue climbers in serious situations., who are unable to rescue themselves.

For more serious accidents, be prepared to call for help. Search & Rescue helicopters help save and rescue climbers in serious situations, who are unable to rescue themselves.

If you’re out with a group of friends, it’s useful to have someone in the group with first aid training. If you’re a member of a club you can often get subsidised training.  Most outdoor centres and the BMC run regular first aid courses.  There isn’t such a thing as a standard climbing first aid kit, per se, however there are items that it makes sense to carry.

Basic first aid kit that I would take as an ordinary person going on a climbing or hillwalking day:

  • Plasters – various sizes
  • Micropore tape and zinc oxide tape – good for protecting fingers too
  • Wet wipes/ iodine for wound cleaning
  • Steri-strips for closing wider wounds
  • Dressing pads
  • Bandages and safety pins
  • Analgesia – paracetamol/ co-codamol
  • Anti-inflammatories – ibuprofen / aspirin
  • Vinyl gloves – for if you need to treat someone else
  • Midge relief and antihistamines
  • Tick tweezers
  • Shears for cutting fabric if needed
  • Resus face shield

As a Mountain Leader, my first aid kit might be slightly different.  If in doubt you can speak to a pharmacist at your local pharmacy before your trip.

Contacting Emergency Services:

Make sure you have a charged mobile phone kept somewhere safe, so in an emergency you have the means to call emergency services. It’s also a good idea to register your mobile to the SMS text service, as even when you can’t pick up a signal to make a call, you can sometimes still send a text message. Registering your phone couldn’t be easier simply text ‘Register’ to 999, you will then get a reply and instructions on what to do next.

In an emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for Police, then Mountain Rescue.

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