It’s a perfect day for flying, and it’s time to pack up the car and head for the flying field. Some flyers haphazardly throw their gear in the car and some have check lists. Whether you’re organized or not so organized, when you drive away you sometimes have that nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something.
For the majority, we forget one thing and never realize it until we desperately need it. What is it? A first aid kit.
Let’s face it, our hobby is filled with plenty of dangerous possibilities. Contact the AMA and ask how many claims are placed for injured fingers. And that is the tip of the first aid iceberg. With spinning props, hot engines, fuels, electricity, large flying objects and a multitude of sharp objects, then there is what lurks out in the fields waiting for us while searching for that downed aircraft. It’s amazing we survive this hobby!
Many clubs have a first aid kit mounted somewhere. Unfortunately, the kits are either old or are missing important items. They’re probably missing from the last injury and no one replaced them.
To start with, in my opinion, everyone should have some form of first aid training. You can have a special club meeting and have an American Red Cross first aid person come in and teach the basics. Someone, or group, in your club should be responsible for maintaining a club first aid kit, or why not carry a kit around with you. Put one in your car and you’ll always be prepared. If you have a health problem, you may want to let someone you’re flying with know about it. That way if you get in serious trouble they will know what to tell those helping you what to expect and how to help.
Simple first aid kits can be purchased at department stores or online, or you can simply put your own together in a fanny pack or a backpack. (Do they still make fanny packs?) If you decide to put your own together, here are some items you might want to include.
- sterile gauze – Multiple sizes
- adhesive tape
- band-aids in several sizes
- ABD dressing (Very large dressing for large wounds)
- Antiseptic Hand Cleanser
- elastic bandage
- antiseptic wipes
- antibiotic cream (triple-antibiotic ointment)
- sharp scissors
- safety pins
- disposable instant cold packs
- alcohol wipes or ethyl alcohol
- plastic gloves (at least 2 pairs)
- mouthpiece for administering CPR (can be obtained from your local Red Cross)
- your list of emergency phone numbers
- The physical address of your flying site
First aid kits can be as simple or as complex as you like and can start around $5.00. But if you’re going to carry elaborate safety equipment it’s a good idea to know how to use it. An emergency is no time to pull out a “how to” book. No matter what kind of first aid kit you have, put the kit on your list of items to pack for your flying trip. Better yet, just put one in your car and carry it with you at all time. As those scouts say “Be prepared”.
Bottom line, be careful at all times. Be aware of who and what are around you. Don’t carry on a conversation while trying to tune a running engine. When ever someone is flying, turn yourself to face the action. This way you’ll see it coming. When you’re out in the field searching for a crashed model, carry a stick and make a lot of noise. This will help keep the critters away. And most important, don’t fly alone. If something serious happens, you may not be able to help yourself.
After working many years in a level one trauma emergency room, I have seen people injured that had that same thought many of us have, “It won’t happen to me”. Believe me, it can happen to any one of us and at any time. Sometimes accidents can’t be avoided, but foolish mistakes can be.