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First Aid

First Aid/Emergency Care Guidelines

First aid treatment provided by a patroller can vary from giving out bandages for small cuts, to the transportation of an unconscious patient with a head injury. There is a wide range of first aid/emergency care certification levels and a number of good training organizations.

The NMBP's policy on emergency care guidelines for patrols is as follows: NMBP individual patrollers must be certified in standard first aid & CPR (or equivalent) from an accredited source. First aid/emergency care and CPR training providers are listed at the end of this section.

If a volunteer patrol is working with a land management agency, then each person in the patrol should be certified in the emergency care program required by that agency. The land manager will most likely be able to provide or arrange the necessary training for the patrol. In some cases, land managers may not want volunteers to administer first aid. If that's the case, then you must observe that policy.

If the trails are on private land, and landowner permission for use by mountain bikers (and patrols) has been granted, NMBP recommends that patrol members be trained and certified in basic first aid or Outdoor First Care, and CPR.

Advanced Levels of Certification: Higher levels of emergency care certification include Outdoor Emergency Care, Wilderness First Responder, and EMT. Some patrol members may be interested in these levels of certification (or may already be certified). While pursuing higher levels of certification is encouraged, it is not necessary for patrol membership.

Local Protocols: If your group decides to seek a higher level of certification, make sure your treatment protocol meets the standards and requirements of local emergency facilities. This ensures uniformity of care.

Legal Issues: Wherever there is a personal injury, there is a possibility of legal action. Most states have "Good Samaritan" laws that protect volunteers from legal action based on first aid care given as long as the first-aider acts according to the guidelines contained in his/her training. These laws vary from state-to-state. Find out what the law is in your state by contacting your local chapter of the American Red Cross, your local or state attorney's office, or your local land manager.

First Aid Pack Contents: Most patrollers wear some type of pack such as a large capacity hydration pack (Camelbak H.A.W.G) which can be used to carry first aid supplies, tools and tubes. It is recommended that patrol members carry the following first aid items: (Note that the level of training and the local area will influence what supplies are carried).

rubber gloves (2 pr) cravats (5) glucose tablets
safety pins (10) adhesive bandages (12) knife (Swiss Army-type)*
lighter* Kling (4 rolls) small notebook*
ice pack 4" x 4" bandages (12) Incident report sheets*
bug repellent* 5" x 9" bandages (2) trauma scissors
compass* adhesive tape pocket mask
trail maps (10) SAM splint 1-4 oz. eye wash
water purification pills 4-oz. tube antibiotic creme 4-oz. bottle sunscreen
antiseptic towelettes space blanket Ace bandage
* Items are not necessarily first aid specific, but should be carried by patrollers.

Note: Medication, lotions, bug repellents, salves, etc. should only be provided, never applied by the patroller.

Discounted First Aid Supplies

Option 1. A specific mountain bike patroller's kit is available from the SORBA Woodstock chapter of the NMBP, through www.MTBPatrol.comThe kit is designed by experienced National Mountain Bike Patrol members based on the injuries treated on local trails, races and special events. Although it does not include all the items recommended above, it does include supplies commonly used by patrollers in basic first aid training and AHA Heartsaverâ„¢ First Aid CPR AED training courses. The kit is initially sold as a highly-compact, one-time-use option, perfect for patrollers who see very little medical need. Using a simple, text-message based reordering system, patrollers can expand the kit to the size they need for working events or patrolling high-traffic trail systems. NMBP members receive 20% off through a discount code used to purchase direct from the website (contact Marty Caivano, patrol [at] imba [dot] com, for details). 

Additionally, there is a bulk discount available to patrol groups who place a large order (10+ gets 40% off) for their organizations. The individual who coordinates the group purchase receives a free kit.

Option 2. When patrollers join, each will receive a code to access, a site that hosts discounts on many outdoor related brands. Adventure Medical Kits is one of those brands, offering patrollers 50% off retail (on complete kits only). Please note: this is not a discount directly through AMK's website. 

Suggested First Aid/Emergency Care Trainers & Resources

American Red Cross (Standard First Aid, First Responder, CPR)
National Headquarters
8111 Gatehouse Rd
Falls Church, VA 22042

National Ski Patrol (Outdoor First Care, Outdoor Emergency Care)
133 S. Van Gordon, Suite 100
Lakewood, CO 80228
(303) 988-1111

National Safety Council (CPR, various levels of emergency care)
1121 Spring Lake Dr.
Itasca, IL 60143-3201
(800) 621-7656

American Heart Association (CPR)
National Center
7272 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX 75231

Dept of Health (State Level) or Canadian Dept. of Health
Contact the Dept of Health in your state for information on EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) courses.

National Association for Search and Rescue
4500 Southgate Place, Ste 100
Chantilly, VA 20151
(703) 222-6277

Local hospitals and HMOs
Many have first aid/emergency care courses. Any should have information on other providers.

Outdoor Emergency Care Publications

  • Outdoor Emergency Care, Dr. Warren Bowman M.D., 1993, National Ski Patrol, (303) 988- 1111. Details comprehensive emergency care for the non-urban setting.
  • Outdoor First Care, 1994, National Ski Patrol. Covers basic first aid and personal precautions for infection control.
  • Wilderness Medicine, Dr. Paul S. Auerbach, M.D., 1995, Mosby Publishing. Covers management of wilderness emergencies.
  • Wilderness First Aid, Backer M.D., Bowman M.D., Paton M.D., Steele M.D., Thygerson M.D., 1998, Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Covers emergency care for remote locations.