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First Aid

You find yourself in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in South Africa. A team member has broken his arm, falling down a small cliff that was hidden from sight by the undergrowth. Another team member is doing a two-hour hike to get a phone signal to call mountain rescue. You are amazed by the amount of blood that can escape the human body in such a short time. Your adventure has just turned into a horror story as your best friend bleeds out in your helpless arms.

I am fortunate that this scenario has not played off for me in real life, and I pray it never will. However, I want to be prepared in case it ever happens.

First Aid Training is like a fire extinguisher: Something you get in the hope that you will never need it.

U2 Overview

So two weeks back I attended my First Aid Level One course with Hugh du Preez of White Water Training in Parys, South Africa.

The course I did while working in heavy industry has expired long ago, and my memories of it has become quite fuzzy. Besides, lately I am spending a lot of time in a high risk wilderness environment in remote steep terrain and around white water.

January 2015 I depart on a 2,500km source to sea of the Vaal River with two other team members – Canadian Troy Glover and Australian Brett Merchant. The expedition is aptly named the Triwaters Tour.

I need to be well versed in first aid for the benefit of those I talk into joining me on my adventures!

Hugh du Preez is a veteran kayaker and white water master. Right from the start of the course I realised that this was not the kind of course I was used to in the mining environment. The class needed to be constantly alert while Hugh applies his wealth of knowledge on us:

Knife wound? How did it happen? Are you OK?” As I start getting information from my ‘victim’ I figure out that it is a stab wound. Seconds later I get a mock knife through the heart as the ‘assailant’ has a go at me too!

Your first priority is your own safety. Do not treat the victim until you are sure you and your surrounding environment is safe!

After two days of intensive training I am now a highly competent First Aider, ready to prevent injuries from getting worse until more professional help arrives. I have the greatest respect for the world’s emergency services, considering that I am at the very bottom of the medical emergency food chain.


Have you completed a first aid course? Are you a professional in the world of trauma? Have your life been saved by someone administering first aid?

Please share your experiences below!


About Franz Fuls

Adventurer Freelance Journalist Photographer Bunny Hugger Engineer January 2014 I depart on a 2,500km eco-expedition called Triwaters Tour. The website link is in my profile. Go check it out.

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