TO MOVE, OR NOT TO MOVE?
That is the question a hunter or fisherman faces when a companion becomes injured beyond the reach of the road. Finding the answer depends upon three factors: (1) the nature of the injury; (2) the distance to safety; and (3) the number of people available to help.
As a rule, victims who have minor injuries to the upper extremities or a minor leg injury ought to be able to hobble out with some help. If the injury is serious, the wisest course is to send a reliable member of the party for help while at least one person remains to care for the victim. Never leave someone alone who is disoriented or unconscious.
Equally critical, do not attempt to transport anyone who has chest, spine, abdominal, or head injuries unless waiting for a rescue party will be of greater risk than moving the victim. That’s a judgment call you may have to make without having any medical training, and on it may rest the life or death of a friend or brother. It’s a damned good reason to sign up for a crash course in wilderness medicine, such as the weekend classes offered by the National Outdoor Leadership School (800-710-6657; nols.edu).
By cutting holes on each side of the bottom of a backpack, you create leg holes and a comfortable seat for a longer-distance carry.
This is fatiguing, but it requires no special gear and is recommended for quickly transporting a victim out of a danger zone.
Use overlapping hands to provide a seat for the victim.
Slide the pole under the backpacks so that each end rests on top of a hip belt. Pad the pole and have the victim sit on it with his arms around the rescuers.
BLANKET OR SLEEPING BAG LITTER
Make a pole frame a little longer than the victim and about the width of his shoulders. Fold a sleeping bag or blanket around the frame, fastening it with stitches or zippers if possible, although the victim’s weight will secure a properly folded blanket in place. A litter carry requires at least six men.
Coil a long rope and fix it with a knot. Divide the coils into equal sections and have the victim step through the loops. Then, after backing up to him, hoist him onto your back using the free loops as shoulder straps (it helps to have the victim stand on a rock or a log). Pad the rope coils with clothing.