Let's Go Camping !

Safety Tips and practical advice on how to pack that vital first aid kit when out camping.

                   First thing first, take lessons

     There are a lot of classes available that provide first aid lessons. There is a basic EMT or emergency medical technician course that one could take. However, for those who do not have much time, short lessons are available. The American Red Cross provides such courses.

     Check your local community. Basic first aid lessons are generally inexpensive yet valuable once learned. 

     Children could also be given basic first aid information. When camping with children, be sure they are familiar with your first aid kit. Show them the items inside the first aid kit and when and how to use them.

     A child who knows or has a basic idea of first aid will panic less if an injury or a slight emergency situation occurs.

          First aid kit: what to pack and how

To better understand your first aid kit, get a manual. The American Red Cross provides a good one.

     Also, a small Swiss Army knife is a very useful tool to take along.

     Take along an emergency blanket.  Be aware that a blanket made of wool could get wet and develop a slight odor. You can get emergency blankets that don't weigh much and can easily be packed.   

A razor blade can also be included - great for removing splinters.  

    Pack a magnifying glass. Use it for close-up examination of plant and insect life - maybe even to start a fire if you run out of matches. Be sure to use waterproof matches.
    Mirrors are useful especially when signaling for help. Of course, it would be better if you do not need to have a reason to use it other than for vanity.
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      A thermometer is another item that could be taken on a camping trip. It'll be a big help in deciding how to dress when you get up in the morning.

     A cold pack can be used to prevent any exhaustion that is caused by heat. It could also be used to treat burns, sprains, bruises, swelling, toothaches and headaches.

     A water packet – the sterilized kind – usually containing about four ounces of water is an efficient and useful item used for drinking ot cleaning a wound. Water packets have a long shelf life - sometimes as long as five years.

     For wounds, a medical tape should also be includeed. Also, try to pack in threads and a needle. Gloves, safety pin, scissors, eye dressing, band aid as well as a wrap bandage that is elastic.

     For any injuries, pack a triangular bandage and gauze pads.

     A roll of gauze, along with antiseptic wipes, a lip balm (to protect the lips from the sun), and Neosporin (for kids with small wounds)

     For adults, a pain reliever like Tylenol should also be available. For children, a non-aspirin tablet should be available. A Decongestant like Dimetapp is a good medicine to bring. Antihistamines are a great option for adults. For a hot camping trip, don't forget to pack salt tablets.

                            Keep in touch even when camping out

     Set boundaries and follow them

     Camping, especially if there are kids around, could be quite a complicated activity. To make it less complex and safe, try to set some boundaries in and around the campsite. Advise campers, especially kid campers, what things they should do and not do with or without an adult; supervision. An effective method is requiring kids to always be with a buddy. This could be an assigned partner where one could check in on each other on where the other’s location is, or update the rest of the group of any location changes.

     Familiarize everyone with the surroundings

     Upon arriving in the camp, make sure that you and your campers immediately become familiar with the surroundings. Try to take note of any noticeable landmarks.
A large tree perhaps, yet make sure these landmarks are locatable in relation to the campsite.

Whistle, whistle, whistle -
Give each camper, especially children campers, their very own whistle. Establish a code for specific situations that everyone could easily follow and heed. For example, a whistle blown two times could be established to mean “help.” Whistles that are blown three times could mean “I am here.”

     Color your world - Or at least, have campers carry trash bags that are colored brightly. Once lost, these bags could be used as a device to signal to the others your location. Also, the bags could be used during an emergency like when it's cold outside and someone need temporary shelter. Simply cut a slit at the bag’s top and slide it over their heads. Believe it or not, this plastic bag could serve as an effective albeit temporary protection that could keep a kid camper alive through the night.

     Choose a camp that provides high-tech communication. There are camp sites that provide campers the same amenities one would usually find in civilization. Email facilities, fax as well as phone equipments are available.

     This type of camp is perfect for those who might want to be in touch with their business or personal affairs while at the camping grounds. This type of camp strikes a balance between the rugged outdoors and the comfort and convenience of modern technology.

     Make use of high-tech communication tools -

     Cell phones and hand held (walkie-talkie) radios.
     Laser Range finders are now just as handy as radios. Though they were once large and difficult to actually use, today’s finders are light, user-friendly and extremely accurate.

     Global positioning system. Personal, easy to carry units are  available.

     Night vision goggles. The movies are not the only place this equipment could be seen and used. These devices are now readily available, very easy to use, light weight, compact and handy.

     All in all, staying in touch while camping out may be a bit difficult if you have no idea how to go about it. To be able to avoid this, prepare beforehand the equipment and rules for your family camping experience.

     Camping should be fun. Ample preparation adds to the enjoyment, lessens the stress, and assures the safest and most fun filled family camping experience.

                              Remember Your Basic A, B, C's
A is for ALWAYS tell somebody where you're going and when you'll be back. Before you hit the trail, check in at the ranger station or park office. That way, if they see a strange car parked in the lot after closing, they will send out a search party.

  B is for BE prepared. This is more than the Boy Scout motto; it is the recipe for survival. That means know where you're going - i.e., look at a map - and have some idea about what to expect when you get there.

  C is for CARRY a survival kit. It doesn't matter if you are going for a day hike along the Hillsborough River or flying to a field station in the middle of Venezuelan rainforest, pack some emergency gear in case things get ugly.       

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