While enjoying an outing on the Little Miami Scenic Trail, you encounter an emergency involving another trail user. How should you respond?
1. Call for help: Dial 911. Provide the location and nature of the emergency. Remain on the line to receive advice and to provide updates.
2. Assess the patient: If the patient can speak, ask questions to understand what happened. Concentrate on level of consciousness, cervical spinal stabilization, airway, breathing, and circulation (reference link)
3. Render first aid: Provide first aid to the patient, but only to the extent that you are trained and able. Otherwise, focus on the other suggested responses.
4. Secure the scene: If safe to do so, move the patient off the trail. Be alert for the approach of other trail users, who will be unaware of the emergency.
5. Enlist others: Enlist other trail users to assist. “Trade up” if someone better able to render first aid arrives. Ask another trail user to stand guard, warning other trail users who arrive at the scene. Ask another trail user to direct emergency personnel to the site.
You can only call for help if you carry a well-charged cell phone when using the trail. Cell phone coverage across the trail is generally good. If reception is a problem, you might possibly need to leave the scene and travel to an area with better coverage to summon help.
The Little Miami Scenic Trail includes mile markers at one-half mile increments. Pay careful attention to where you are with respect to mileposts, since providing emergency personnel with a precise location is beneficial. Being generally aware of the trail’s mile markers is useful. For example, mile marker 0.0 is near Xenia, while mile marker 42.0 is near Loveland.
What about liability? Ohio Revised Code, Section 2305.23 states that “No person shall be liable in civil damages for administering emergency care or treatment at the scene of an emergency outside of a hospital, doctor's office, or other place having proper medical equipment, for acts performed at the scene of such emergency, unless such acts constitute willful or wanton misconduct.” If you are the only person available to render aid, use your judgement (coupled with the advice of a 911 operator) to determine what to do.
The Red Cross offers a full range of first aid courses, covering basic first aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) use. Explore available courses at this link.
Being involved in an emergency can be traumatic, but also gratifying when you are able to help. Prepare yourself today so that you are up to the challenge.
Did You Know?
Maintenance on the Little Miami State Park trail includes trimming trees overhanging the trail to allow clearance for emergency vehicles.
article by Erick Wikum
Top Image by diana.grytsku on Freepik