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First Aid updated

by admin

Obviously you try to do everything to avoid injury in BASE. You do obstacle avoidance drills to deal with offheadings, you practice your malfunctions, you wear proper protective and you only jump in great conditions. Right?

Well, unfortunately even the most cautious jumpers eventually get hurt. Most BASE jumpers will tell you; you can do everything right, and still die. Or at the least, get hurt. Knowing how to deal with first aid situations while you are waiting for proper help from an ambulance team or helicopter rescue can mean the difference between life and death.

First Aid Courses

Things to look for in a basic first aid course are long and short bone splinting, bleeding and shock control, management of neck and back injuries, and CPR.

First Aid Kits

Basic first aid kits need to contain the equipment you will need, but be manageable to carry to the site so you will actually bring it. Things to include are 4X4 gauze, 8x10 ABD pads, 4" roll kling, Triangle bandages, or cravats, 2 inch tape, ice packs, petroleum gauze for penetrating wounds, roll or cardboard splints, and a milar emergency blanket. Things that can be used on site are sticks with your 4' roll kling to make splints.


The use of painkillers in BASE is a difficult and touchy subject. There is one clear advantage:
  • When you get hurt seriously, but proper rescue (like a helicopter or an ambulance) will take time, they can temporarily lessen the pain.

Unfortunately, there are strong disadvantages too:

  • It’s hard to get good ones.
  • It’s difficult to know how to use them responsible, especially when your judgement might be skewed because of physical trauma.
  • They can be addictive.
  • Certain types are illegal, meaning that if you get caught for trespassing, you now have other problems to deal with too.

Some people argue: “If you cant take the pain, don´t play the game.” While not an absolute truth, it is something to ponder over. Perhaps if you are that worried about avoiding pain at all cost, BASE is not the sport to be in?

Obviously, if you just bring some aspirin on your jumps, you won’t be at risk. Unfortunately an aspirin is not going to do much when you find yourself with a broken femur.

On the other end of the spectrum is moprhine. Basejumper does not recommend using it unless you really know what you are doing (which is rarely true when you are badly hurt). When you do decide to take morphine, it is recommended to write a large “M” on your forehead, and also the time and dosage in case you pass out. Anybody that will be arriving and giving you morphine will know what a big “M” means. In some countries this might not work as well, but even in most non-English speaking countries, the word for morphine still starts with an “M”.

Sometimes, a friend or yourself will have had surgery and they might have some painkillers left. These can range from aspirin-like to morphine, and anything in between.

It is highly recommended to talk to your family doctor and explain the situation to him. He will most likely not approve of your hobby, but worst case scenario he’ll give you some advice on what not to do. Best case scenario, he can prescribe you some painkillers that are stronger than aspirin, but won’t necessarily do damage when used in situations with poor judgement.

Whatever medication you choose to carry with you, learn the following:
  • Dosage and administration
  • Indications (when to use the drug and what for)
  • Contraindications (when to not use the drug and why)
  • Overdose information (the “if one is good, then two is better” argument does not fly with any painkiller worth carrying for this purpose.)
  • Actions. Know what is going to happen to you after you take the medication. For example, if you need to crawl out of a canyon after a solo load because help is not coming, it would be a very bad idea to take morphine. Morphine will limit your ability and desire to help yourself.
  • Allergies. Know if you or anyone on your load is allergic to the medication. Giving a medication to someone with a hypersensitivity will certainly do far more harm than good. Pain sucks, dying from a painkiller you’re allergic to sucks far more.

Pain medications are useful and cool, but misused, they can make everything worse.

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BASE jumping injuries and treatment in the field - Chad Peabody

Submitted by admin on 2007-06-26 | Last Modified by Anvilbrother on 2010-09-06

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.  | Votes: 1 | Comments: 3 | Views: 5921

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Triax Productions has created a first aid kit specifically for BASE jumping type injuries... Don't get caught without one!
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I have one or two odds and ends I'd recommend here.

1) Quik-Clot dressing
NOT THE POWDER. That shit can kill you. There's a reason the military stopped issuing it out. The "Combat Gauze" as we call it is simply a compression dressing with the clotting powder built into it. You can find the civilian variant of this in sporting goods stores, even Apex BASE sells them. Add this to your first aid-kit and try not to let it get punctured.

2) CAT Tourniquet

Also military grade gear. These have saved countless lives. They're simple, easy to use, and can be self-applied. Just remember the rules when using these: 3in above the wound/joint, record the time it was applied to a wound, don't take it off once its been placed on. I got issued like, 10 of these, so I always have one on my gear.

3) VF-17 Panel

Not to send any bad fate your way, but sometimes shit's out of our hands and we require rescue. This tool allows for easy and effective signalling. These panels come in a few shapes and sizes, they're usually made of cordura so you can cut them up to your liking and fold them up nice and small. Buy a big one, cut it up into small ones, give them to your buddies.

4) Chem-lights
Carry one with a string of 550 cord tied to it. If you need to signal for help at night, crack it, shake it, spin it around in a circle over your head. International signal for "I'm here! I'm here!"

Most of this stuff seems excessive but realistically, it's all lightweight, relatively cheap, and small enough to fit in one cargo pocket or a saddlebag. That's my two cents. Stay classy ;-)
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Most painkillers OTC acts as blood thinners. This means that if you are bleeding, you are not going to clot as fast as you would normally. This is, obviously, a bad thing if you have uncontrollable hemorrhage, such as internal bleeding. In military trauma we use Mobic as the first line as it does not thin the blood. Mobic is also available over the counter.

If you could add this to the article that would be great!

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