Every situation is different – no one set of guidelines can always apply. Listed below are some suggestions that have been developed to help deal with personal injury accidents on the trail. If you are in charge, remember to be assertive, act swiftly (minutes count), use common sense, and remain calm and cool.
Two “Golden Rules”
- Only one person is in charge .
- Safety of rescuers is the #1 priority. Additional accidents or victims are not needed!
- Only one person can be in charge. This would normally be the Trail Guide. If he or she is unable to take charge, the Trail Assistant should take charge. If neither of them can, someone with emergency situation or medical training should take charge immediately. If professionals arrive, relinquish authority to them.
- Get to the scene. Assess the situation. Make sure the accident scene is secure and there is no possibility of additional injury, such as fire or vehicle instability. In rollovers, ensure the ignition is switched off immediately. Rescuer safety is always #1 priority!
- Take charge but don’t try to do everything yourself. Assign tasks to specific people. Don’t just say ” Someone call … … … “
- Assess severity and type of injury. Determine if professional help is needed. 911 or (217) 285-4471 is the number for all emergencies. Be aware cell service may be sporadic. 911 may not always go to an Illinois cell site. You may get Pike County, MISSOURI, which cannot transfer cell calls to Pike County, ILLINOIS. Use the Pike County Illinois Sheriff ’ s number below for best response. Don’t worry about what county you are in.
- Be prepared to describe the injury, location and directions to the nearest road for first responders. Take note of the time.
- If the injured person can be moved, get them to the road. If you cannot move them, render necessary first aid. If the injury is too severe or you are unsure – DON’T move them.
- Assign someone the task to clear and establish the quickest route to the road. Get two vehicles out to meet the EMTs since they may need directions or a ride. Keep the rest of the group intact.
- Assist the first responders/EMTs in any way you can – transportation, extra muscle, or just stay out of the way.
- Once the victim is in good hands, safely finish vehicle recovery if necessary.
- Now collect yourself! Get everyone regrouped for a quick driver’s meeting. Depending on how you and everyone else feel, the time of day, and where you are located, determine if the trail ride will continue.
- First and foremost, from the beginning of any problem situation – keep a level head! Stay in control, delegate authority, and don’t try to do it all yourself. If unsure of the extent of the injury, use extreme caution in moving or administering first aid to the victim. Hopefully you’ll have an EMT on your trail. If not, just do your best. Pay attention to what happened – you’ll have to write a report! After the situation has stabilized, take notes and get names: who was there and involved, who witnessed the accident, what happened, where, what time.