Re: Cellular Phone was First Aid question - snakebite
Amick Robert (amick@SPOT.COLORADO.EDU)
Mon, 16 Dec 1996 13:18:19 -0700
I would have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Lewis. There may be no
cellular towers within the national park or other area that you are
travelling in, however, our experience has been that if you are on a high
point in a mountainous area, that your cell phone can reach cell sites
that are a considerable distance away. One of our advisors is a physician
and takes his cell phone on all the trips; he has been able to call in
from the summit of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, and ridges
near Arapahoe Peak and Mt.Audubon in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area of
the Roosevelt National Forest with no problem at all.
This is certainly a better alternative than having no communications at
all in case of emergency.
Additionally, and as noted in other posts, the best solution is a two
meter amateur radio portable unit for those licensed to have one. The no
code technician class opens this up to many more folks by completing a
relatively easy license exam, and can be well worth the effort of
obtaining, if you do have an emergent situation in a wilderness setting.
Many two meter ham repeaters are established that serve wilderness areas
and can be invaluable for contacting emergency services personnel.
It is of course, essential that members of the group be trained in firstaid
(We train our Explorers in Red Cross Emergency Response 60 hour course and
add in modules on wilderness first aid as well); However,
anyone who is seriously injured in a wilderness setting can be greatly
benefited by rapid response and transportation by advanced medical
personnel and aeromedical helicopters.
The considerable delay in summoning emergency help (which results from
travelling on foot over long distances to find a phone to contact
emergency services personnel) may very well be enough to compromise the
survivability of the victim. The "golden hour" in severe trauma is a
proven axiom that if a seriously injured patient can be evacuated to
definitive care, preferably a level one or level two trauma center within
one hour of the time of the injury, the survival chances are greatly
enhanced. Much beyond that, the survivability of the patient decreases
remarkably. Field first aid cannot do much to stabilize a patient
suffering from shock, severe internal injury or head injury. Only rapid
surgery and advanced life support techniques can reverse those conditions
A similar argument could be advanced for summoning rescue
personnel to search for a lost Scout. The sooner the personnel are in the
field, the more likely they are to find the lost Scout under more
favorable daylight and weather conditions.
As far as the comment concerning how you would inform rescuers where to
find you; anyone who is using a topo map of the area they are in can
pretty well narrow down the approximate area they are presently located in
and inform rescuers. Park Rangers and Rescue personnel can do a "scratch"
search and confirm the location precisely. Many Scout units that plan
ahead, will set up an itinerary of where they expect to be on each day of
their trip, mark it on a map, and leave the information with someone at
home who can serve as a resource should the information be needed. Others
will leave the information with the park rangers or other officials in the
area before they depart on their trip. Some parks and wilderness areas
require registration of trips with that information before the group is
allowed to depart.
For those interested in more detailed discussion about this topic, please
refer to an article I wrote which is available in the MacScouter home
pages under the "Survival" section on Wilderness Emergency Preparedness
and Communictions at
Bob Amick, EMT-B, Explorer Advisor, High Adventure Explorer Post 72,
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City