Meeting Report KRM Branch August 2020

Basic First Aid Tips for Bushwalkers with presenter Desiree Heald.

Desiree opened her presentation by calling on the audience to participate in a brainstorming session. Drawing a circle containing the phrase ‘Before You Go’ on a whiteboard.

Image: Daniel Heald

Desiree asked audience members for suggestions of things to consider when planning a trip or bushwalk. Suggestions included:

  • have a First Aid Kit on hand,
  • wear appropriate clothing for the conditions,
  • take sufficient water and food,
  • apply sunscreen,
  • ensure your mobile phone is fully charged (pack a charging pack or charger if trip is for more than a day),
  • know your limitations and know the conditions to expect,
  • take along prescribed medication eg. An EpiPen if allergic to insect bites or an asthma puffer if an asthma sufferer,
  • ensure your vehicle is well maintained, and
  • carry an Epirb or PLB (Personal Locater Beacon) and take maps of the locations to be visited.

Desiree then explained that the initial approach to administering first aid is to use the acronym DRSABC where D stands for Danger – consider whether there is a danger of you also becoming a victim e.g if faced with a snake bite victim check whether the snake is still a threat;

  • R is for Response – check whether the patient is responsive;
  • S is for Send For Help – if ambulance or rescue assistance is required, have someone phone for help while you attend to the victim;
  • A is for Airway – ensure the airway is clear,
  • B is for Breathing – check to see if the victim is breathing,
  • C is for CPR – which may be necessary in serious cases – and
  • D – this may include Defibrillation if a portable Defibrillator is at hand (Desiree pointed out that our meeting venue had a Defibrillator available for emergencies).

Desiree then showed some short YouTube videos that demonstrated first aid techniques for situations that could easily arise while bushwalking or camping. These videos covered the following: Spider Bite; Snake Bite; Fractured Limb; Sprains; and Burns. Rather than summarise these videos here I would recommend that readers should conduct a search for and view them online to refresh their first aid skills. The audience thanked Desiree for her presentation, which we all found to be very relevant for a group such as ours.


Following Desiree’s presentation Michelle Mann showed a series of photographs taken on a recent camping trip around the Wheatbelt. The images included some of the Salmon Gums; wildflowers such as Droseras and Native Foxgloves; Orchids such as Blue Fairy (Pheladenia deformis), Frog Greenhood (Pterostylis sargentii) and Blood Orchids (Caladenia filifera); and landscapes, such as several taken at Lake Ballard. The audience thanked Mish for her presentation.

Colin Prickett