By Chuck Nottingham
Way back when Elvis was a soldier, I was a military policeman. Neat MP stuff hung from my Batman-type utility belt: pistol, extra ammo, handcuffs, truncheon and a first-aid pouch.
In the pouch was a brown-wrapped Compress, Bandage, 1 Each for plugging gunshot wounds.
Always finding some excuse NOT to shoot somebody, more useful first-aid items soon found its way into the pouch small sterile pads, iodine, alcohol, band-aids, needle, tweezers, eye-wash, bug repellent, aspirin, etc.
On army and national guard ranges, I never once needed a bullet-hole bandage, but sure found lots of use for other first aid paraphernalia.
In 35 years shooting and hunting with kids, I continually run low of alcohol wipes, band-aids, Neosporin, insect repellent for kids and adults, eye-drops, sun-blocker, and Tylenol. Mostly for tradition, I still carry my original brown-wrapped, rock-hard Compress, Bandage, 1 Each.
Along with ear muffs and safety glasses, other preventatives like sun-screens and mosquito/gnat repellents are handy.
Eye-drops offer good relief from wind-driven dust.
From target-paper cuts and stapled fingers to skinned elbows and knees, disinfectants and every conceivable size band-aid and sterile pad are range and field necessities.
Idiots still bust glass bottles to scatter everywhere like anti-personnel mines. For glass and wood splinters, cactus spines, etc., range users should have needles, tweezers, and small scissors.
Uneven ground sometimes produces need for triangular slings and ankle wrap.
Dont forget protective gloves, because some bleeding needs direct pressure on the wound, as well as elevation. Bleeding that wont stop requires pressure bandages made from sterile pads and rolls of gauze. Last resort is finger-compression of arteries at certain points. NEVER apply a tourniquet.
Out-of-the-way ranges are hang-outs for ticks, spiders, bees, and snakes. Immediately disinfect all critter bites, including mosquito drillings. Ticks should be gently removed with tweezers never use popular remedies, such as covering with ointment or backing em out with lit cigarettes. Watch bite and sting victims for difficult or altered breathing.
Rattlesnakes and black-widow spiders are Montanas only beasties giving poisonous bites, but possibly more dangerous is panicky folk-lore first aid. Never cut and suck rattler or spider bites. Dont ever give whisky to drink or apply ice, electricity, or branding irons.
Instead, keep poison bites on a level with the victims heart while quickly transporting to the nearest medical facility for possible antibiotic and antivenin treatment.
Large or small, all who venture into Montanas majestic out-of-doors should attend a Red Cross First Aid and Safety Course. Call Bear Paw Chapter at 265-1500 for the next class.
Note: the author is an American Red Cross Safety and First Aid instructor and a Montana Heart Association basic life support instructor-trainer. Questions and comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.