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  1. #1
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    What to do in case of serious injury?

    I started riding last summer, and took off for winter because i only like to ride in the warm temps. But i started off taking it real easy, nothing serious. Then as i got better, i decided to try the hardest (and just about ONLY) trick around. The STEPS. its just afew big boulders stair stepping down, and i totally wiped out, but turned out ok in afew minutes. I shouldnt have tried it on my bike (crap) when ive seen older riders on much better rigs not even think about going down..

    But it got me to thinking. I always ride alone.. and i know its gonna happen one of these days. What do i do when i take a nasty spill and I can no longer ride out/drive home.

    For instance, what would i do if i broke my leg? Or other serious injury. I often carry gauze and banadages and antiseptic, but I was just thinking what would i do if those werent enough and i could move without serious harm?


    Idk.. any general advice? call 911? call other number??? just hoping i dont get stuck in a tight spot some day

  2. #2
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    Well, assuming you are conscious; call 911. If you are knocked out, well that is a good example why you should ride popular trails, or ride with a group. How far away from civilization do you ride? For example, both of the parks I frequently ride in are within a 10-15 minute drive to a hospital. But, I am lucky enough that I have not been so seriously hurt that I could not walk out without help.

    If you're bleeding badly, put pressure on it. Most of the time, this stops the bleeding, if not you'll need to apply pressure to a pressure point or make a tourniquet.

    A broken femur can hold enough blood to cause shock without any external bleeding. Movement could make the bleeding worse and you might not make it out of the woods if you're on your own.

    It really depends on the severity of the injury and how far away from civilization you are. You may find a wilderness first aid course worthwhile.

    If you're outside of cell service, you should definitely not be alone.

  3. #3
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    I just started last month myself. I ride alone too and at times when there's really no one around at all. My 2cents would be, tell and even show your closest loved one where you tend to ride most at. Let them know how long you may be gone. I personally drove my wife to the trail heads so she and other EMT's can start to look. And I always tell her about how long I should be gone. I make sure my cell phone is fully charged. And in case your completely out of it the EMT's will find your loved ones numbers under "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) in you phone book. I saw that on some world wide email going everywhere. Best of luck.

  4. #4
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    I tell someone where I am going , and I also leave a Trail map of the route I am taking . If your going into remote areas a personal beacon is not a bad idea . A wilderness survival course can be handy also , as well as a Red Cross Emergency First Aid course .

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS
    I tell someone where I am going , and I also leave a Trail map of the route I am taking . If your going into remote areas a personal beacon is not a bad idea . A wilderness survival course can be handy also , as well as a Red Cross Emergency First Aid course .
    When I'm riding alone, I give my wife a copy of a map with the trails highlighted that I plan to ride (including arrows in the direction I plan to go). Then I let her know how long I plan on being out. She calls if it gets close to my time limit and she hasn't heard from me.
    Since I don't like writing, I don't have a blog to pimp. This space for rent.

  6. #6
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    If riding alone wear a very big helmet, you can't do anything but bleed if unconscious.
    I don't ride on my own, the internet always has people to go biking with, you don't have to know them, just need someone to keep you breathing when you head-but that tree. =-)

    Take a proper first aid course.

    I have only had to use mine a few times, but when you need the info, YOU NEEED IT!!

    The worst injury doesn't sound that bad,
    lost control on a grassy path slipped at low speed and headbutted some grass, massive KO.

    The second is far more spectacular on paper.
    friend locks front wheel and lands on a spike, this goes straight through, tears out the back, and shatters the pelvis into 4 pieces.

    now ask yourself this question, do you know what to do, seriously. (every second it takes to answer more blood is pouring from your friend who will die without assistance.)

    Now you have the second worse injury, imagine how bad that KO was.


    Sorry for the slight sidetrack there, but if one person takes a first aid course, it's worth spreading the fear.
    Last edited by CaveGiant; 03-01-2010 at 06:22 PM.

  7. #7
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    Forgot one other top tip.
    Carry a couple of trauma bandages with you.
    Most people carry plasters in a first aid kit, if the wound is 10" across a plaster doesn't do ****.
    If someone is bleeding out fast you will thank yourself. though to be fair a metallica t-shirt did the job until the helicopter got there.

  8. #8
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    One other thing that I have learned, is when you're with a group, it seems like the person with the most medical training is the one who gets hurt. With my group, if it is not me, than it's a guy who works in orthopedic surgery, or another guy's son who is a PA in an ER.

  9. #9
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    Be prepared, and be lucky!

    I ride alone quite often, and have for about 20 years. My worst injury, about 17 years ago - in the time before cell phones I wasn't even that new to mtbing, but I took a nasty digger, broke my collar bone, and had a nice concussion. I was too loopy to think straight for quite awhile. I just sat there for some time. Luckily, some kid showed up at some point, and then helped me to the trailhead (again luckily it wasn't very far), and then, by sheer chance - my friend showed up at the TH just in time to take me to the hospital. I sat in the waiting room forever.... until I started puking everywhere, then they took me straight back.

    Moral of the story - ride within your limits, if you can help it!! wear a helmet and take a first aid kit! always! take a whistle! Let somebody know where you're going and a time frame. ride with a buddy. take a cell phone. a wilderness first aid class would be awesome, but educate yourself on some basics first aid stuff.

    BUT MOST OF ALL.....

    Be lucky. S#!* happens to the best of 'em.

  10. #10
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    Carry quikClot Sport

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mumbles
    Carry quikClot Sport
    That looks like some great stuff. I'd never heard of it. thanks.

  12. #12
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    i wear dogtags with name, blood type and contact info....cheap and easy to order online..

    i also program the numbers of local fire/ranger/sheriff in my phone per area i ride.....you'll get a MUCH faster response than 911 (if you get reception)...

    plus all stated above...

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  13. #13
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    As a paramedic let me be the first to say that just about any first aid kit is not going to be really useful for anything but a minor cut or scrape. Even most first aid classes are pretty unrealistic at best. First aid classes generally teach people things that sometimes make a situation worse because they think they are being a hero when they aren't. As a paramedic what would make my job much easier is for the injured rider and whoever is with that rider to first of all remain as calm as possible. If you are talking and making sense then don't panic because chances are you probably aren't going to die and making a big scene and drama is just making it that much harder for me to get you to where you need to be.

    With that being said here are my tips.

    1 - As hard as it is sometimes, don't ride alone. If you are going to ride alone make sure its a relatively small trail and at a location where you won't go a long period of time finding you.

    2 - Take a cell phone and most importantly MAKE SURE YOU AT LEAST HAVE THE E911 LOCATION FEATURE TURNED ON! Its so frustrating when the dispatcher cannot find your location when you are calling from a cell phone. Most dispatch centers these days are equipped with the stuff to track your cell phone. If you have only the E911 location turned on the government or aliens aren't tracking you, only the dispatcher.

    3 - Give the dispatcher as much information on your location as possible. If there is a house really close to the trail head memorize the address to that house. Memorize landmarks that are close to the trail head and even at the location of part of the trail you are at. Memorize the road the the trail head is on and always carry a map with you so you know what general direction you are facing.

    4 - Stay calm.

    5 - Wear a helmet.

    6 - If you do suffer from an injury such as a broken bone with obvious deformity such as your arm, it may hurt like hell but try your best to walk to a location where the ambulance crew can find you. If you can walk, do it and I don't mean it hurts to bad to walk so I won't I mean if you are physically capable of walking, do it.

    7 - Stay calm.

    8 - Wear a helmet.

    9 - If you break your leg and are unable to walk, especially your femur or pelvis (both can be life threatening) then stay calm and stay where you are at. The faster the crew can get to you the better and its harder to find you if you are trying to move all around to find us.

    10 - If you are bleeding, stay calm (see the trend here). First and foremost put pressure on the wound even if its with your bare hand. Don't tie a shirt or anything around your limb as a tourniquet. If the wound is just oozing blood even if a good amount just put pressure on it and hold it there for awhile, its probably nothing major so don't worry. If you are bleeding and its very bright red and pulsing or squirting blood it could be arterial and much more serious. In this case put pressure, pressure, and more pressure to the wound and get help asap.

    11 - If you are impaled by an object such as a tree limb or something leave it in place until you get to the hospital. Pulling it out can do more damage than was done in the first place.

    12 - Wear a helmet to try to prevent it but if you are knocked out because of a head injury again, remain calm and call 911. Assume you broke your neck until proven otherwise EVEN IF YOU HAVE NO NECK PAIN. Lay perfectly still unless you are in harms way and remind anyone else that comes up to you not to move you.

    13 - I recommend everyone take a basic CPR class but if you haven't and you come across someone who is not breathing you can do mouth to mouth if you want but I would always carry a little face shield with you in your pocket to protect yourself. Most people who aren't breathing also vomit everywhere and you don't really want that in your mouth. Get as much information from the people with the victim as you can. Are they diabetic, have they had any other medical problems? Chances are is they will not be calm so you need to be the advocate to EMS and remain calm and give them as much information as you can. As far as cardiac arrest goes and if they are not breathing and pulseless the AHA now is starting to recommend no mouth to mouth, just continuous uninterrupted chest compressions at 100 beats per minute on an adult. While you are doing compressions sing the song in your head da da da da staying alive staying alive... sounds funny but that song is the perfect speed that your chest compressions should be.

    14 - Stay calm.

    15 - Wear a helmet.

    I am sure I will think of more and I will add them as I think of them. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask no matter what they are. I am relatively new to the job but I do have 5 years under my belt in the fire/ems service in both the field and in hospital.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM
    i wear dogtags with name, blood type and contact info....cheap and easy to order online..

    i also program the numbers of local fire/ranger/sheriff in my phone per area i ride.....you'll get a MUCH faster response than 911 (if you get reception)...
    Excellent advice especially with the dog tags and contact info for your closest family or friends. Most cell phones also now have whats called the ICE contacts. I allows you to list 3 of your contacts as emergency contacts and also give you space to put your medical history, etc. Very useful for EMS.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mumbles
    Carry quikClot Sport
    Waste of money for the average person. Chances are you will never come across a wound to where it is actually needed and in that case just hold tons of pressure like I said. Most trucks don't even carry it.

    Also what dadstoy said is great too. Always let your wife, mother, father, whoever know that you are going riding and where. Let them know on average how long you will be and keep them updated if you decide to stay longer. Its a good idea to take them to the trail like he said too so they can know where to pick you up if needed. Also know where all of the hospitals are near the trails you are riding.

  16. #16
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    you can just order dog tags? you don"t have to join anything or sign your life away anymore?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM
    i also program the numbers of local fire/ranger/sheriff in my phone per area i ride.....you'll get a MUCH faster response than 911 (if you get reception)...

    This is not true in my area. Some people still call the 7 digit number to the police or ambulance station, and we get the information needed on the run faster the E-911 system. When you call the 7 digit number, it is a regular line, they are unable to get a GPS fix or triangulate your location based off the cell towers you're hitting.

    However, more rural areas can be different. There's still a few places in the US without 911 service, so make sure you know how to contact EMS wherever you're riding.

  18. #18
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    Chubb Trail in St. Louis. Haven't done that trail send me a PM if you are looking for another rider to go with i'm always looking for someone to go with.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fitter
    you can just order dog tags? you don"t have to join anything or sign your life away anymore?

    Just Google it, you'll find different places to order from. Kinda like ordering tags for your dog, just pick a different style and whatever you want it to say.

    In my opinion blood type isn't as important as any allergies or medical conditions you might have. (like if you're diabetic or allergic to morphine). If you get blood in the field, it'll be O-neg and if you get blood in the hospital, they'll type you before administering any.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by fitter
    you can just order dog tags? you don"t have to join anything or sign your life away anymore?
    http://www.roadid.com/Common/default.aspx

    my recommendation is the wrist band, first responders look there for medic alert bands anyway
    mike

  21. #21
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    let people know where you are going and roughly how long you might be gone.

    get any county Sheriff/BLM/Forestry phone numbers (besides 911) for your area.

    a Spot GPS can let emergency crews find you even if you don't have cell reception. With the Spot, your friends and family can actually track your route and location via GoogleMaps.

  22. #22
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    trail_boss2 .

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dysfunction
    http://www.roadid.com/Common/default.aspx

    my recommendation is the wrist band, first responders look there for medic alert bands anyway
    that's what I use wear it on every ride

  24. #24
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    with these you learn first aid and wilderness survival
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What to do in case of serious injury?-003.jpg  


  25. #25
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    I do agree that some people cause more damage than good when applying first aid, but that is from bad first aid courses (i.e. ones that st johns ambulance run).

    I am sure Trail Boss was saying make sure you take a good course run by a competent instructor and pay attention.

    A good course will stress the importance of what not to do as well.

    All you should be doing is keeping them breathing until the experts get there.

    Having family in mountain rescue keeps me with enough stories to back up anything I say.

    With the head injury, if I had not known how to keep my wife breathing until her brain took over again I might be looking for a new wife.
    If I had not known what to do as my friend was on the ground bleeding out I might have to train up a new best friend.

    I think tags point was it is important to know what not to do as well as what to.

    A climber carried his friend to the road after a big fall. This did get him proper medical attention faster, but had also paralysed the guy in the process.

    If you don't get St Johns Ambulance in the USA, this is some of the great advice they give.
    If someone has a compound fracture pull the leg to get the bone back in the leg and then make a splint for the leg.

    So my leg is broken bad enough that the bone has torn through the skin and some guy wants to pull on my body really hard (great fun if I have a back or neck injury) to get the bone back in the flesh letting the sharp edges scrape across any exposed arteries it missed on the way out. Then to make it better they strap wood to your leg!
    urgh imagine how much pain they would cause to worsen your injury.

    The only time having a first aid course that I regretted it was when my friend died next to me. The reason it sucked is I knew he was probably going to die 20 mins before he did. The other people were clueless, whether ignorance is bliss in that circumstance I don't know, but at least I knew enough that I left the scene so I missed the final moments, I would not have liked that memory.

    So 2/3 serious injuries saved is not bad odds. The one in 3 that ****ed up there was nothing I could have done anyway, was too messed up.

  26. #26
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    Look do not stress.
    1. Wear a helmet
    2. Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
    3. Get the road ID or bring your wallet.
    4. Cell phone.

    All this other stuff people are mentioning is a little excessive (I think). First aid kits are pretty much useless. What do they come with? A few band aids, cold pack, ace bandage, a few 4x4's, and some Neosporin. Nothing that can not wait till you get back to the car. Carry a couple of trauma bandages with you! Really, thatís way over the top, come on. You are better off carrying a defib or combi-tube. I bet you I would use either one of those 2 before the trauma bandage. I have to say Trail boss has some good points except I would not be afraid to ride by your self just use some common sense.

  27. #27
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    "little excessive, I think"

    Excessive until you need it, then very useful.

    Couple of trauma bandages, over the top, 50g?

    FFS man, did you read the above.. 50g worth of padding to stop a friend bleeding out, much more use than a normal first aid kit.
    If I had a good bandage or two my friend would have has half a pint more blood in him when the copter got there, thankfully not a critical half pint, but it might have been.

    The odds of anything serious happening are very very slim, but when it does, you want to know what to do.

  28. #28
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    I like the Road Id. That is a very good source of info for the responder. Basic info on the tag, with access to a digital database. Can't beat it.
    I'm a WFR (Wilderness First Responder) and currently in nursing school, and the worst thing that can happen is to know nothing as the responder. History/meds are extremely important for a responder to know for the fastest and most appropriate course of treatment.

    As for carrying trauma bandages, they can be bulky for cycling purposes. As a WFR we were trained to carry tampons in addition to normal variety of bandaging because they are light and holds gobs of blood. Plus if its an impalement injury, you just shove it in the wound. You can also have some fun with it when guys in your group are whining too much !
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  29. #29
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    Good thinking..

    He was impaled, then tore out the side, very messy.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by emtnate
    This is not true in my area. Some people still call the 7 digit number to the police or ambulance station, and we get the information needed on the run faster the E-911 system. When you call the 7 digit number, it is a regular line, they are unable to get a GPS fix or triangulate your location based off the cell towers you're hitting.

    However, more rural areas can be different. There's still a few places in the US without 911 service, so make sure you know how to contact EMS wherever you're riding.
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  31. #31
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    I broke my leg while riding. Frankly, if you break your leg, even if you're with a group, you're still screwed, just not as screwed as if you were alone. In that situation, you basically are completely reliant on the group to help you get out, either by carrying you or by being able to notify help from emergency services that can get you.

    Just use common sense when it comes to this stuff. My wife always knows where I'm riding, even if I'm riding with a friend (and his wife knows where we're headed too). If you're not married, tell a friend where you're going - when my wife and I go backpacking we leave our trip details with family, including when they should send for help if we don't call. Keep a first aid kit with you, duct tape if you can. Duct tape allows you to be resourceful in the woods - the first thing my riding partners did the day I got hurt was start looking for stuff in the forest that they could use to splint me. Duct tape was what would hold it all together. Ride with your cell phone. Even in some of the most out there areas (like 10 miles from the nearest highway, 6 from a small road and at 9000 ft in the Desolation Wilderness) you can get cell phone signal.

    Past the stuff you can do to prepare, just try to not be over confident. That's what gets you hurt - you have to push yourself but try to recognize your limits and not go way over them. And then remember that you can break your leg by making the smallest of mistakes, so the best thing to do is be prepared just in case.
    :wq

  32. #32
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    Carry lot of water with you. When you are injured, drinking water for some reason helps to stay calm.
    When you ride in relatively chilly weather, particularly at night, have on or carry with you clothes a bit warmer, than you need just for riding itself. When you are sweaty and have to stop (not only due to an injury, but even to fix something in the bike), you will feel cold very quickly. It is not just unpleasant, but also interferes with your ability to think and make decisions.

  33. #33
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    thanks guys, you really gave an awsome response. I guess it all basically comes down to.... either walk out then get a ride to ER, or call 911. . . basically. I ride fairly heavily travelled trails, but theres still the days when hours go by and you dont see anyone. Just being prepared. thanks

  34. #34
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    If you are not driving yourself to the ER, in most cases I would recommend calling 911. For serious injuries, or even a broken bone, I have ways to make the trip to the hospital much more comfortable.

  35. #35
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    I have a deal with my most frequent riding buddy - if I'm hurt riding solo and need help to get out but don't think I need a rescue squad I'd call him (and visa versa). He knows the trails where I ride and would be able to come and help pretty quickly.

    Also carry first aid stuff for aimed at a big hurt. I carry enough enough to make a splint or to apply pressure (first aid tape & gauze and a couple of clean bandanas) to a big wound - just in case.

    I always let wifey know where I'm going and how long I expect to be gone. Many places around where I live have cell reception so I almost always have that as back-up.

    I did break my leg riding solo last summer. I was able to walk out but I was very fortunate to have another rider come along and help me get my (brand new - first day on it) bike out of the woods. Made me think twice about riding solo, but I have 20 years of solo backpacking and solo whitewater kayaking experience and I refuse to give up the freedom of doing what I want when I want.

    That said - I'm not anywhere as extreme as many of the riders on here so I'm really not exposing myself to a huge amount of risk most times.

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