Down and Out: How to evacuate an injured man
By: Keith McCafferty
To move, or not to move? That is the question a hunter or fisherman faces when a companion becomes injured beyond the reach of the road. Finding the answer depends upon three factors:
(1) the nature of the injury;
(2) the distance to safety; and
(3) the number of people available to help.
As a rule, victims who have minor injuries to the upper extremities or a minor leg injury ought to be able to hobble out with some help. If the injury is serious, the wisest course is to send a reliable member of the party for help while at least one person remains to care for the victim. Never leave someone alone who is disoriented or unconscious.
Equally critical, do not attempt to transport anyone who has chest, spine, abdominal, or head injuries unless waiting for a rescue party will be of greater risk than moving the victim. That's a judgment call you may have to make without having any medical training, and on it may rest the life or death of a friend or brother. It's a damned good reason to sign up for a crash course in wilderness medicine, such as the weekend classes offered by the National Outdoor Leadership School (800-710-6657; nols.edu).