What would you think of a mechanic who went to school to learn how to work on bikes but did not invest in tools? Or, how about the average do-it-yourself biker? What would happen if your bike had a problem and you knew what it was but did not even have a screwdriver? How effective would that be? Of course you could hope someone happens along who carries supplies — or you can Be Prepared.
This example is used to help you see the similar relationship of being trained in motorcycle trauma first response and carrying proper tools to enhance your response. Accident Scene Management, Inc. (ASMI) is the nation's leader of Motorcycle Trauma Education with the only accredited and standard program taught in the USA. Instructors are certified and every class is led by an instructor who is an EMT or higher. ASMI certification classes are a full day where motorcyclists can be trained in basic skills such as helmet removal, jaw thrust rescue breathing and log rolling/movement. Our advanced level class is an additional 8 hours of training designed to enhance skills in working with the EMS and being a leader at a scene.
All of this knowledge would be "just knowledge" without proper tools. Many of you might already carry a first aid kit. Chances are it has lots of band-aids and a pair of scissors that can't cut tape much less boots, clothing, etc. At ASMI classes, we encourage you to carry a "Trauma Pack." If you already have a first aid kit, you might find that you just need to add a few things to make your kit better. At the very least, you should be sure your kit has the following:
- 2 pair nitrile gloves (nitrile is preferred because it holds up best to heat and cold)
- Trauma shears (7 inch paramedic style)
- Rescue breathing barrier (in a trauma you will be fairly likely to experience facial trauma and a possible breathing problem)
- 4 packages sterile 4x4 gauze
- 3 inch roll gauze
- Medical tape – 1 inch wide
- Something to write on (PACT cards from ASMI work great!)
- Something to write with
- Hand sanitizer
Once you have these essential supplies, you can then consider adding other helpful items like:
- LED or battery-less flashlight (chemical glow sticks also works for this – green is best)
- Cold pack
- Sterile saline
- Emergency foil blanket
If you STILL have room you can add:
- Red & yellow glow sticks for triage
- Pocket strobe or armband
- Triangular bandage
- Elastic 4-inch bandage
- Self-sticking wrap like Sensiwrap or Coban
- More gauze including a larger dressing (8x10 is a nice size)
- Blood stopper dressing
- Powdered blood clotting agents like Quick Clot or Celox
- Rolled wire splint
- Wood tongue blade (best used as a finger or toe splint)
Consider the following common first aid remedies:
- Flexible bandage strips – 1 inch, knuckle and fingertip
- Antibiotic ointment
- Sting relief
- Burn gel
- Electrolyte tablets
Of course we could go on and on with this list. The simple fact is: you can do more with more supplies. Your decision about what and how much to carry should be based upon a couple simple guidelines: 1. How much space can you dedicate? 2. How much can you afford? I totally understand space issues on the bike and for that reason I carried my pack on the outside of my motorcycle for many years. Everything that could be affected by moisture is in Ziploc bags and my pack is always readily accessible. I pack it in my tour pack or in my right saddle bag, which is the opposite side of traffic so I don't have my back to traffic as I get my supplies. It is the last thing I pack so it is always on the top of other items. I have a Red Cross on the case that contains my supplies to make it easier to direct others to find it if I should I need their assistance. Rather than add lots of gauze I have paper towels for general clean up and use sterile gauze just when needed. I add more gloves and have several sizes.
SOS, LLC has pre-packed trauma supplies for motorcyclists in 5 sizes and a variety of colors where available. Everest Bags are used for their durability and lifetime warranty. They are made for backpackers and hunters so they work great for our outdoor lifestyle and exposure to the elements. Packs range in price from $23 to $176 to offer a variety of space and price options.
Tools without knowledge might be helpful, but learning how to respond and then carrying adequate tools are the best ways to Be Prepared!
Vicki Sanfelipo, RN/EMT
What must-have safety items do you carry? Share with your fellow riders!
Allstate Insurance Company is not affiliated with Vicki Sanfelipo. Allstate makes no warranties or representations and is not liable for any goods or services provided by this individual or this organization. The views presented here do not necessarily represent the views of Allstate.