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That which shall not be named... FIRST AID

24874 Views 36 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  Mikalshone
I don't get by here very often, but I know the folks here are serious riders and will benefit from this tale.

A fellow BMW club member posted the following incident. If he hadn't had a well stocked first aid kit on his bike, the victim probably would not have survived until the EMTs arrived. I have a pretty comprehensive first aid kit, but it is stowed in my side case so it doesn't always travel with me. (I changed that after reading the story, and made a mini kit.)

Even if YOU aren't familiar with all the stuff in a comprehensive kit, someone else at the scene quite possibly will know how to use it. The accident happend just south of the DC Beltway within "minutes" of emergency aid, but it almost ended very differently.
** First I apologize for this post. Need it out of my head, and it’s not easily readable and a little gory.**
On my way home today traffic started to slow down on I-95S, rubbernecking. As I got closer my heart sunk, a motorcycle on its side, and a biker lying on the road with others just standing around. I cut across three lanes of traffic, parking on the shoulder, and ran over to see if 911 had been called. One lady was on the phone with them, and another gentleman in scrubs parked behind my bike and came running. He had a small auto first aid kit, but that was all, and it didn’t have anything that would help this situation. I ran back to my bike and got my Aerostitch touring first aid kit and returned to the scene. The man was complaining of leg and chest pain, and had a severe laceration on his leg at the knee. He was lying in a puddle of blood that reminded me of a TV show, only this was rapidly congealing. It’s now on the knees of my Stitch too. Darryl, the man on the ground, was bleeding out, and in the modern world of 3-minute response times there was no EMS. They were reported at 5 minutes out, but took another 8 before they were on scene. The man in scrubs was a nurse from a doctor’s office, and was just over me in training. Another lady approached and ID’d herself as a former ER nurse. She was Darryl’s angel.

We quickly devoured my first aid kit supplies, using the triangular sling as a tourniquet. This allowed us (ER Nurse as I struggled to maintain my composure) to pinch the artery off with my hemostats (an addition to my kit for use when the bike is overfilled with gas). This bought Darryl the time needed for EMS to arrive. By this point State Troopers and County Monty’s were showing up, but none with anything comparable to the Stitch kit. EMS arrived and began triage, releasing me from my duties. I hung out until he was transported, grabbed my now empty kit, and vomited in the median. The ride home was somber, and I’m left with a few thoughts:

Without the kit Darryl likely would have died.
The hemostats paid for themselves in saved gas, and now again in saved blood.
I want to go back to college for EMT training.
I will never ride in jeans and a t-shirt again (stopped doing that a while ago anyway, but this seals the deal).
EMS is not always 3 minutes away, and there are times when you have to be prepared to step in, get your hands dirty, and take the lead when it scares the s#$t out of you.
I need a blood test (my kit’s gloves had been pirated during a brake job).

<Post script: Darryl is in ICU having needed surgery for chest injuries and some reconstruction on his leg. He is expected to recover, though it will likely take weeks.>

For anyone who wants to pack SOME FIRST AID kit, but doesn't have room for a lunch box size, full out, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kit, you CAN put together a mini kit to carry that will help in a grave emergency.

All you need is a quart size freezer bag.

Trauma Shears - will cut leather, etc.
Emergency Blanket. One of those silver things, the size of a travel pack of Kleenex.
2-4, maxi pads - (yes, feminine hygene pads) OR 9x5 "Ab Sponges"
2-4, 4x4 sterile guaze squares
2 prs, NON Latex medical gloves
Antiseptic Wipes
Saline Solution mini travel size, 2oz, for rinsing wounds or eyes.
Adhesive Strips (Band-Aids)
Adhesive Tape small roll
3" rolled guaze (Kling is recommended because it holds to itself)
Triangular Bandage - can be used as a tournequet, etc.

I hope that everyone can get at least this much on their bikes somewhere and carry it always. It may mean the difference between standing around helplessly and being able to DO something if you or someone you ride with is injured.

Also, take some basic first aid training. It will help you be more in control if YOU find yourself needing to give aid.

Here is the link to a really useful website with a shopping list for a more comprehensive, first aid kit you can put together and carry.

Your Red Cross chapter should also have ready made first aid kits from small fanny pack size to bigger ones. All packed in a handy RED pack.

Ride safe!!

PS Anyone who DOES carry a first aid kit in their car or on the bike (GOOD ON YOU! :dance: ), pull everything out this week. Look at expiration dates and check the condition of the tape in particular (it gets gooey over time). If your kit has those 50 cent, stamped metal "scissors" included (just for fun, try to cut ANYTHING with those), plan to replace those with trauma shears.
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Good point about carrying a first aid kit. I do when camping but that's about it. It also helps if on a group ride you ask about medical training just in case. We had an incident on a group ride this spring and were lucky enough to have an EMT and a veterinarian on hand. Luckily the injuries were minor but we had almost no supplies to cover a hand wound.
I was thinking about this thread today after hearing someone else I know went down. Actually it was the guy who helped the downed rider in lionlady's post. So I decided to make it a sticky. 6 posts, 2 stickys. That is probably a record!
I've been trying to decide which tank bag to buy - a Joe Rocket fairly small bag or a slightly larger Icon bag. (Can't remember the model names.) This thread just convinced me to get the larger bag so I stock a first aid kit in it along with my cellphone, keys, etc. Couldn't fit all that in the smaller bag and my VFR has virtually no room under the seat for a first aid kit.

Thanks for sharing the story, lionlady. It definitely got my attention. Thanks also for giving us an idea of what we should stock in a good kit.
I have another item to add, I read in Cycle World maybe a year ago.

*** Set up a contact in your contact list on your cell phone for an emergency. One of the things first responders look for is a contact about any allergies or medical conditions you have. If they see you have a cell phone, they may look in it for a commonly used number. I added a contact 1EMERGENCY (this puts it at the top of the contact list) and put my wife as a contact. ****
Great post, I bet most riders don't think of some of those details. I do something similar, I do the "wife" in my phone.

Again good advice :ithank:
scrubdog24 said:
I have another item to add, I read in Cycle World maybe a year ago.

*** Set up a contact in your contact list on your cell phone for an emergency. One of the things first responders look for is a contact about any allergies or medical conditions you have. If they see you have a cell phone, they may look in it for a commonly used number. I added a contact 1EMERGENCY (this puts it at the top of the contact list) and put my wife as a contact. ****
Around here the radio has been advertising an emergency contact number that everyone can/should put in their cell phone book.

The name you should use is: ICE(In Case of Emergency). they say that all first responders will look for that name to find a Emergency contact.

I don't know if this is true but it makes sence if everyone does it.

2002 ZR-7S
Before you "ICE" check...

Not all jurisdictions will make use of a cell phone ICE list.

In Maryland, responders are NOT ALLOWED to check your cell phone directory.

And WHAT IF your phone gets damaged in a wreck? How can anyone access the ICE list if your phone won't work?

So, go ahead and create ICE contacts in your phone, but make sure you've got contact info written down and tucked in your wallet or in/on your helmet. Most motorcycle jackets have inside pockets that you could easily put an emergency contact index card inside.

Various organizations make a little stick on packet - about 1 x 2 inches. It has a piece of paper that you fill out with important info: Blood type, people to call, etc etc.

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This company sells personalized tags you can wear on a wrist band, a 'dog tag', an ankle band or a shoe tag. You can put any info on them you like, including name, contact info, blood type, medical allergies, etc. I bought one of the 'FIXX' dog tag/necklaces a couple years ago for cycling. Great product and very affordable. Check 'em out!
Hi guys, I don't want to be the stickler here but as a Paramedic I just wanted to add that helping out is great - if you know what your doing -. Applying a tourniquet might seem to be helping but if not applied properly and the exact time of application marked and reported to the EMS staff then serious if not fatal complications can arise. Also, I'm not sure that going digging with hemostats to clamp an artery is the step that you want to jump right to. Hopefully you first tried applying direct pressure, elevating the limb, palpating the femoral artery in the groin area and applying pressure to slow the flow. Clamping an artery in the field like that increases the risk of infection significantly. With the proper pressure dressings wrapped tightly around the laceration the flow should be slowed enough until EMS arrive and can begin fluid resucitation.
After the accident at the ROTR6 event this week-end, TimC brought out his first aid kit and put it to good use to dress some road rash. I will be buying a kit to keep in my tank bag after this. Thanks for posting this up.
Emergency info

A good way to communicate info in an emergency is to apply it to your helmet racer style. Name, number, blood type, allergies, etc... either stenciled or on a durable sticker. It speaks for you when you can't and others in your group don't know. It might distract from the graphics, but, it might save your life.

This is a great post. **Thank you for the warning about it being graphic.**

Disney encourages us to take and participate in Crisis Management and provides the classes. First Aid and CPR are the most common classes.

I don't carry a First Aid kit on any of my motor-bikes. I keep one in the cage. I had one for each of my bicycles. I have a big kit in the house as part of my Earthquake kit. I don't know why I have not done it. The only thing I make sure I have is a pair of gloves for just such emergencies and roadside repairs.

I am going to check all my kits for expiration dates and make sure I have at least the smaller kit on all my rides.


Thank you for posting the warning. It is better to stick to what you know. Naturally there are situations where you have to make do with what is on hand. Hopefully we will not be put in the same situation as Lionlady.

I think the ICE plan is great but most people go for the wallet first. Having both can only help in an accident.

Ride safely and carry a big first aid kit.
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I'm a lifeguard, so I know CPR and have first aid skills to a degree. And just about every time I ride, I take my backpack with me. I have a family sized first aid kit in it at all times that I bought off the red cross website, and my lifeguard fanny-pack which has a face mask (for CPR) in it, as well as a few other basic first aid supplies. I hope I never have to use them, but just in case something ever happens, to me or someone else, I want to be prepared and hopefully able to help. Thithread is one of the main reasons I decided to get a first aid kit while riding. Thank you, lionlady.
i have carried my stuff (cpr mask, diapers (for blood control) and a reflective vest) for a few years now. i did use the mask once. not very fun breathing into a dead mans mouth i must say.
Good point about not "helping" beyond your training. But, if the options are use a tourniquet(sp!) possibly incorrectly OR watching a victim bleed out because I didn't want to do something wrong, WHICH do you think is the better choice?

After posting this story (by the way, it happened to a friend, not me), I took a wilderness first aid course. Talk about learning to improvise in a crisis! It was amazing. Folks here on the east coast are in luck, here are locations and dates for this fall: http://wfa.net/coursedates.shtml You can still get in a class! (I took it in Harrisburg, PA... lovely ride and beautiful site.)

Learned that in the past 8 years in the 5 state area that the WFA course is taught, only 3 lawsuits were brought against good samaritans offering aid at the scene of an accident. All the suits were against medical professionals. Because they were acting without expectation of compensation, the suits were dropped - the "Good Samatian Law" applies.

I'm the product of a PICU\ER Nurse mother, a family in the medical business & a MidWife\ER Nurse for a god mother (Sandy MacPherson of NHIS\US Marshalls for any of you racers out there). At all times I have at least a small home-made kit and my leatherman. It's got the basics to buy some time till the people with the flashy lights get there.

I have been around racetracks -- Bridgehampton, Pocono & Loudon (since the days when it was called Bryer motorsports) -- and have seen what happens under optimal conditions with ambulances & medical staff on site and helicopter medivac 5 minutes out and have learned my lessons from the unfortunate circumstances of others.

In addition to basic first aid, riders should know the propper procedures for helmet removal and when to and (more importantly) NOT to do so. If you are at a track day, speak to the ambulance people or the cornerworkers about propper technique. US Marshalls offer training thoughout the season @ NHIS on track-side triage and emergency techniques for their ornerworkers. It's a good idea for riders and spectators to work a day or 2 if they can. you'll learn tons just from being there.

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I am a new rider, and honestly~ I constantly think about safety, riding gear, following MSF instructions while riding... but I had never really thought about keeping a simple first aid kit on my bike. Great idea, I wish I would have a little ointment with me when the bee crawled down my jacket. The cell phone ICE is becoming more popular. There is also a site on Ohio BMV that Ohio drivers can add an emergency contact person. https://www.dps.state.oh.us/netsys/netdb/ENGLISH/LKUPX.asp
Other states might offer this as well.
Happy & Safe riding :)
This is a great sticky, and got me thinking. I've just pieced together a first aid kit that I can cram into a quart-sized Ziploc bag and stuff in the tail under the passenger seat. What I don't have (or didn't have) is some sort of ID card that lists important medical information, like blood type, any allergies, contact phone numbers, etc, so I drafted up a quick Emergency ID card that sits behind my drivers license in my wallet. I already have ICE numbers in my cell phone, but I don't know if the police in our area are allowed to go through your phone contacts or not (good info in the previous posts). Since my wallet is leather, I assume it will make it through the crash relatively intact and one of the first things a rescuer will do if you are unconscious or unresponsive is go for your wallet for some sort of id.

My contribution: the master files to my Emergency card. It should print the size of a credit card. It was built in Illustrator and saved off in various formats (JPG, PNG, EPS 10, AI 10) and there's even a Word Doc in there setup as sort of a template that those not graphically inclined can use. Just grab the appropriate ZIP file that you need and go. I printed mine out and laminated it so that it would last.

NOTE: If you have Illustrator or Photoshop or something that can edit EPS files, you can change the text to read whatever you want. I put in what i thought would be important for me, so Allergies doesn't have a very big space (as I don't have any allergies to latex or any medicine). The two bottom lines for "Other" I used as a spot for my spouse's name and where to find my first aid kit. You can see a layout example of all of this in the DOC file.
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Great information. I have been carrying a REI 1st Aid kit on my bike since day one. It's rated for a 5 day trip, luckily it's only been used for minor cuts. I did check the scisors when I first got it and replaced with more pratical ones. I'm also certified in 1st aid and cpr by our local Red Cross. My wife and I keep the basic 1st aid kits in the cars as well. I also keep an emergency card with all important info on it. It stays in my Areo / Darien "HI-VIZ lime green yellow" jacket. :)
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