Thursday, August 30, 2012

SURVIVAL & FIRST AID kit - my way

Following events at the recent PWC in Sun Valley, Idaho, and read several peoples blogs/articles/discussion forums, it seems odd that the majority of paragliding pilots don't carry any form of first aid, safety or survival kits on them. Sure some of you do not fly remote sites, but nevertheless, the basics should not be disregarded.

In Meduno, Italy in May 2012 at the first leg of the British Nationals, a few female pilots were discussing this, having a bit of a laugh and a comparison of the various things each of us would not fly without. Other pilots joined in the discussion and it soon became apparent that three of us were the only pilots in the competition to have any kind of safety kit whatsoever. On numerous occasions I have had the pleasure of being able to help fellow pilots either at a comp., on launch or after landing using some of the things I carry. But as I may not be there on the day you fly ;-) , best you start thinking about it yourself.

In one of my previous BLOGS entitled "My Competition Equipment", in the photograph showing all my gear, you can see in the middle some of my first aid kit. Over my 5 years of paragliding, where the majority of that time has and is spent fly mountain terrain and mostly alone, I think I've just about got this little First Aid kit "nailed". 
And since Guy Anderson's recent ordeal, I've even added a few additional items: a foldable rubber recipient (to collect water if I run out), a clothes peg (not sure why but thought it may be a useful item), and a teaspoon (in case I need to dig!).  

At this point, I think it is important for me to detail exactly what my kit contains; it could help you or other pilots decide on what you want to put in yours.

1 x first aid zip bag (purchased from local pharmacy including basic first aid essentials inside)
1 x foil blanket
1 x foldable rubber tupperware type recipient
1 x sachet of 2 self-activated handwarmers (lasts up to 7hrs)
1 x sachet Lemsip for colds
1 x self-adhesive elasticated bandage
1 x regular bandage
1 x sachet disinfectant handtowel
1 x roll tape
3 x plasters
2 x sterilised swabs
Chewing gum
(2 carabiners (I've taken these out as you can use the ones on your glider. I carried these spare following a tandem pilot on take-off who couldn't launch for lack of them!)
1 x wooden clothes peg
1 x teaspoon
4 x small metal links
Caffein tablets
Indigestion tablets
Pain killers
1 x sewing kit
1 x multi-tool
1 x pair scissors
1 x wind-up LED flashlight
Length of cord
1 x gas lighter
1 x battery (for the SPOT)
Food (as bare minimum I always at least have a high protein fruit strip)
SPOT device and smoke flare

The only item I would also add but one which I havent yet got, is a plexi reflective mirror.

SO, all the above items (apart from the Flare and SPOT) fit into this little blue nylon bag (the pen is for scale purposes but I always have one in my flight deck anyway) and once packed away, it looks like this: Amazing!

It measures 16x11x4cm.
It weighs 665grams.
It could save your life.

REMEMBER: ballast up with a First Aid and Emergency Kit, first. PLEASE!


  1. Well done. As a retired comp pilot from Sun Valley and expedition kayaker, I've always flown XC with a kit similar to this. The one item I would expound on though is the "Pain Killers." I like your use of the plural; Ibuprofen is nice for minor problems, but I always tried to carry some much stronger stuff as well. If I had for example a broken femur and had to do, even the bare minimum of spreading my glider to be visible from the air, let alone what Guy had to go through, being able to somewhat dull the pain and focus on survival would be key... After immediate and successful treatment from a ski patrol for a collapsed lung with a fentanyl inhaler last year, I"m liking the thought of it or a similar type of drug inhaler like this,

  2. Impressive. A must read to everyone. A healthy supply of first aid products can stop a minor incident turning into a major drama.

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  3. Hi, thanks for your comments and positive feedback. I enquired about a penthrox here in France, but the Chemist said that I only be allowed to obtain this prescription by having a serious relative health condition, and that, if this was the case, I would need to to carry a Doctor's note of authorisation on me at all times. However, it was an interesting exercise to find out a little more about the variety of painkillers on the market today.
    Thank you once again for your comments. Best wishes, Emma.

  4. Any emergency can be handled easily with adequate preparation, including a medical one. A well stocked first aid kit, kept within easy reach is a must for every home. Preparing and maintaining a first aid kit is also a great way of teaching kids about safety, though it should be stored well out
    of their reach.

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