Remote area first aid training.


To get straight to the point I have a question in regards to some medical training,which hopefully you may be able to give me some guidance on.

I spend a substantial amount of time touring on my motorcycle in various places around the world.Because I am an unsociable git and ugly to boot, an awful lot of that time is spent on my own.....and due to the routes I take,I often end up in some pretty isolated areas.

Being an Ex-Sapper I have an acceptable amount of basic medical skills to start with and gained some more during my civilian time and more importantly have the confidence to use them.....I would describe my skill level at the moment as an " enhanced first aider " if there were such a thing.

Where can I go to gain more practical skills relevant to the sport that I do?

The medical courses being offered when doing an internet search seem to be a split variety of " Ex-special forces....learn to kill rabbits with a sharpened piece of grass and live on their blood " type course, or the proper professional type course meant for experienced medics and Doctors on expeditions.

I am just want to improve my medical skills above what they are now,I will not even pretend I am anywhere good enough to go on the proper medics course.

Thanks for your time....and here is a link to see the Solo trip around Australia last year if you are interested.
Have a look at

CRT is a small company run by a TA CMT and specializing in mountain and expedition first aid; the focus is testing what's learnt by doing a fair amount of hillside practical training in both day and night with lots of casualty actors. I've done a few courses and occasionally help out on their UK Mountain course and I'd rate it very highly (as do most of the students on their feedback forms). Give them a bell as there's several options from the UK Mountain course through to a five day remote first response /extended care type course.
I'd just stick to your basic First aid course and what you remember from the mob

You spunk alsorts of cash on gimmicky courses

If you are on your own you are half way spazzed if its owt serious (agree with Jonnojonno)

Moving into more invasive measures means you need to be competent and have to have ++ kit which you probably couldn't source unless you sucked off the local CMT stores gimp

If you are desperately remote and injured you'll end up in some shack with a red cross a Doctor with feck all training and a jam jar full of reused needles he wants to stick in you.......

You could go to

If you haven't already, they sport some good well as the St Johns ambulance boy scout loonies who will tell you how to open a chest up and massage the heart with your very own hands
first aid. 10% knowledge 90% experience and confidence.

Remember what you have done to date and run with it. My advice would be to avoid St John ambulance like a dose of crabs as I went down this route to keep my hand in and met a few other half decent sorts, but also a lot of wasters with the attitude that this is the way we have always done it and always will.
Thanks for the feedback

Yeah I know its increasing the risk being solo on these trips,but it pays dividends when the locals seem to go completely out of their way to be helpful to a solo motorcyclist crossing their country......being covered in road grime and sweat and putting the effort in seems to break down the barriers.

Being on a bike also puts a strict limit on what can be carried,so I have pretty much adopted the " you cant carry everything for any possible situation " mindset and pack only the absolute essentials needed and tried and proven items.

I never skimp on protective clothing though..that has saved me more than once.Had a big smash in the Australian outback that had me taking the full impact on my right shoulder and head,considerable pain getting the bike back up and riding the last 100km into the town from the dirt track.

Long story short it turned out to be a inoperable Glenoid Labrum tear ( I think he said )as the rather helpful shoulder specialist Colonel told me at the Aldershot Health centre.....shoulder grinds and clunks and used to hurt a fair bit when picking things up with my right arm ( just the initial movement )

Good post about those message/text senders,will have to get one for using in Europe.
first aid. 10% knowledge 90% experience and confidence.
Spot on. As someone who has done a lot of casualty acting on courses for the company I linked to above, over the last few years from the "casualty's" perspective I've seen a wide range of ability. I think it's safe to say that those who can keep their heads, recall a few basics and apply common sense perform far better than those who brought along a bergen full of their own med kit, trousers with built in torniquets and notes from St. John's "just in case".

One scenario sticks in the mind in particular to illustrate this, an overnight exercise where a small group briefed to deal with a crashed biker with a potential spine injury awaiting extraction at first light. One course consisted of a 50/50 mix of guys in the forces and outdoor instructors, another course consisted of fourth and fifth year medical students. Former were issued with a roll of duct tape and a banana as resources, latter (as they were imminently qualified doctors who may end up legitimately using it) were given full med bags. One group went all the way through from "D" of DRABC through to handover to a medic without a single error, even maintained good spinal immobilization in the field with no resources for eight hours. The other "killed" the casualty about four times within the first ten minutes and were focusing on trying to fashion a tourniquet out of grass to put on a minor bleed for some reason entirely known to themselves. Guess which ones were the med students. Scary.

So yes, I'd say, go on a 2-3 day outdoors' first aid course of the kind approved by outdoor sport national governing bodies (although I'd obviously pimp for the people I work with as I think they're good, REC or similar would also be apt; anything that bears in mind that you'll probably be looking after someone after the golden hour became a distant memory), carry but the essentials and the means of making the problem someone else's ASAP and bear in mind that you can improvise stuff, and only really consider anything more advanced out of academic interest.

Bollock-chops said:
I agree with others, removing your own appendix could only ever be done by women.
Google for Leonid Rogozov. He had the help of the base carpenter though, which was handy when he started passing out after an hour or so digging around for his appendix.
I did a 'Wilderness first aid emergency course' over 2 days up in Stafford with High Peak First Aid. Very good course with experianced and knowledgeable staff.

I believe they are also the people that run the militarys mountain first aid course.

2 critical (obvious) areas to highlight:
1. you're on your own - so the most highly trained may also be the most highly injured
2. Courses like FPOS, ER1, MIRA, RATLS all give good skills and knowledge, but do sometimes gear towards being part of a bigger on call support structure.

Training wise, you've (hopefully) got the basics already from being in the Military: ability to think clearly under pressure, ability to deal with a rapidly changing environment and a certain amount of experience that will temper any freeze/flight/fight reflex.

If you do want to do a course, but not break the bank, look at the new FARM course, based off the FPOS, it is aimed at rural workers not PSD teams, O&G industry or expeditions. Its new, so should have up to date stuff included.

Med kit wise, how long is a piece of string? You've already said you're limited on space, so prepare to improvise, but have some basics. See what macgregor and boorman had as bike first aid kits for their trips. Might be worth taking a sterile kit with you for needles and sutures.

Make sure you have a decent batch of prescription drugs (your local doc can do you a prescription for broad spectrum antibios, strong painkillers and funnies - going through a giardia area?), as the subsequent infections will be more likely an issue if you survive long enough to be scrapped off road, delivered to a hospital.
basic painkillers, lemsip instants (no one does cold medicine better than lemsip!), Shit on/off pills, antihistamines and antiacid pills can be got over the counter.

Main bits to check:
Insurance - comprehensive and including medivac home
cheap Sat phone with some PAYG credit is not a bad idea, check thuraya and iridium coverages for intended trip.
Otherwise, invest in a skype in/out/call number and buy a local SIM when in each country.
In Africa Zain/celtel lets you roam for not much extra cost. Update the skype number for forwarded calls/calls out as you go. Have an international SIM as a back up.

look at SPOT 2 as an option (review here). It's not as good as 406 Mhz PLB, but its a lot cheaper. Watch out your subscription doesn't lapse though!

Languages: learn a bit or have a crib. Comms cards as touted by a member of this site are not a bad idea.
Excellent advice,thankyou....looking into that rural workers course.

The emergency kit that I carry on my person is for the immediate problems.Packs about the half the size of a army water bottle pouch and sits in the cargo pocket of my off-road jacket.

3 X First Field Dressing ( 1 x large,2 x medium )

Heavy Duty Surgical tape ( like bloody NASA duct tape )

2x Burnshield trauma dressing ( Gel bandage thing )

Latex gloves,Resus face shield

4x Guaze dressings large

3x rolls of stretch bandage


Emergency foil blanket

The other kit I carry on the bike is twice the size and carries all the gear for minor scrapes,cuts and burns as well as painkillers,gut tablets,steri-tablets,clove oil gel + small dental kit/fillers.

Some stuff that I always carry that I have found worth its weight in gold has been

Tea Tree Oil...very strong multi-use anti-septic.

Sudocrem..eveything from nappy rash to burns.

Pottasium Permanganate..amongst its other uses it is very effective on foot rot type problems.

Second Skin...immitation skin for if you get sores from the bike armour rubbing or deep blisters.

The biggest problem I have found is if I have to travel by air and try to get the first aid kit/scapel blades/Gerber pliers and sterile kit ( if needed )through customs..bloody nightmare,but they havent confiscated the items yet once I have explained.
Can I suggest the excellent pocketcomms for your general jibber jabber and more important where does it hurt bits :)

Similar threads

Latest Threads