On March 18th of this year the FDA posted a recall of Iodine Prep Pads made by Wisconsin company, H&P Industries, due to possible contamination. Anyone showing adverse effects are encouraged to fill out a form. Assuming of course, that the adverse effects don’t prevent you from filling out the form! I became aware of the recall a couple of days back when I received new iodine prep pads from GearPods. I have to say, they are always on top of updates and fixes related to their products. I give them credit for that. Continue reading
Paddling Coaches all need to know CPR and Basic First Aid at the very minimum. Now there’s news that that the song “Stayin Alive” by the Bee Gees thumps out the perfect rhythm. According to the CNN article you actually have two choices when performing CPR. . . “Stayin Alive” or “Another One Bites The Dust”. . . your call!
Birds on the roof of my mothers house, Ive no stones that chase them away Birds on the roof of my mothers house, Will sit on my roof some day They fly at the windows, They fly at the door, Where does she get the strength to fight them anymore? – sting
It’s been a rough year when all is said and done. Family illness has certainly taken the wind out of our sails on more than one occasion recently and I’m not one who suffers hospital environments well. Too many hours spent bedside to too many leaving faces has used up my tolerance for whites & pastels. I’m certainly looking forward to the summer season allowing me to grab moments oblivion out on the water. Tomorrow I get to go have my semi-annual physical. (Bet cha didn’t see that one comin’) The “semi” wouldn’t be there if the doctor had his way of course. I thought I had better get in for a physical before I take on some long paddles that tend to take you out past any real help or hope. I certainly don’t feel like I’m going to keel over any time soon, but being a full blown hypochondriac (see paragraph 1) I’m not prepared to bet the farm on it either. Hypochondriacs can find reasons to worry in a stick falling from a tree. I’m especially talented in this regard. Then as if that’s not enough, I just read the story of Broc Bebout yesterday. That’s certainly enough to get the heart skipping.
I wonder if this is a good spot to talk about first aid kits & managing catastrophic events on water?Last Saturday I was reminded why it’s always good to sit in on someone’s intro to kayaking lectures even if you feel you’ve heard it a million times before. Sometimes little things you haven’t heard jump out at you, even from people you know. During the REI paddlesports demo event Mr. B offered a quick overview of his PFD gear and took a moment to present his “On Person” First aid kits which he had developed after taking the BCU 5 star class a couple years back. Hmmm, on person first aid kit? Why didn’t I have one of those??
Imagine paddling with one other person and in an instant they injure their shoulder, get a nice cut, or have some other issue on the water. Imagine too that it’s not an option to immediately duck back into shore. What if the weather is nasty as well with choppy waves, swell, wind, etc.? One thing that seems clear, you certainly can’t ask the injured person to dig through one of your hatches for first aid equipment. In fact, opening your hatches in conditions is just a BAD MOVE in general. So logically your first aid kit goes in your day hatch. Right? What, you don’t have a day hatch? Even if you do what if you are involved in supporting the other paddler as well? You may not be able to easily get into a day hatch. I can hardly pry mine open on a good day. I can’t imagine trying to support a victim in any kind of conditions while trying to dig a bag out of a day hatch and then sorting through it all to get to what I need, can you?
The solution has to allow you to manage these sort of catastrophic events on the water without opening a hatch. Let’s look a little more specifically at the potential events we could likely face and the “on-body” solutions. At this point I’ll steal directly from John. . . ” Injury to paddler Dislocated shoulder; laceration, blister, PNB (no not peanut butter)–pulseless non-breathing. So, my “on-person” first aid kit contains a Velcro strap to wrap around a wrist/forearm and a large safety pin (aka blanket pin or diaper pin) to secure the arm of the injured shoulder, much as a sling would do. If a swath was also needed I would use my rescue stirrup to secure the humurous to the body. I carry a couple of 4×4 gauze pads, duct tape strips, couple of band-aids, and a piece of moleskin–all for the management of the laceration or blisters. I also carry a CPR face shield and a pair of nitrile (non-latex) exam gloves. This is all packaged in a small waterproof zip-lock envelope and fits in the pocket of my pfd. (Some would say that you don’t need the Velcro strap–I say it is a small item to carry so that you don’t have to make two holes in a dry-top or dry suit.) “Injury” to boat, or paddle Carry a spare paddle and a repair kit. What events could happen to a boat that would require on-water tending? A lost hatch cover, or a hole in the hull/deck. My “on-person” repair kit contains a large plastic garbage (aka “rubbish”) bag and a piece of bungee cord–the bag is placed over the open hatch and secured by the bungee. Note: The bag could also be used to provide shelter to a hypothermic paddler. I also carry a piece of plumber’s epoxy that can be applied to wet surfaces and cures under water–this works well in plugging small holes and leaking cracks in the hull/deck. Additionally, I carry a piece (approximately 8″ x 8″) of plastic (a 3 or 4 mil. thickness) that can be cut to size (you do carry a knife for something other than salami and cheese) and taped over a larger hole with some duct tape that is also in the kit. I also carry a small piece of that special chamois like toweling to dry the area before taping–duct tape won’t stick to a wet boat. Finally, I carry a small multi-tool that is about the size of a book of matches that has a phillips/star head and a flat/slot head screw driver, as well as small pliers and wire cutters on it. Yes all of this fits into a doubled ziplock baggie (heavy duty). I have been known to carry a special denzo tape–a tarry impregnated cloth tape that adheres to wet surfaces–it’s a UK specialty and the BCU freaks go gonzo over it. However, it is very messy, goes bad before you are likely to use it, and has some environmental issues, and you generally can’t buy it in this country (I did do some research for a US based product last year, and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth it.)
For my part, I’ve always kept a good first aid kit & repair kit in the hatch of my boat, but it hadn’t occurred to me to keep a few things on my body at all times. It was a bit of an epiphany. As an instructor you are most often fairly near shore and you can have a pretty basic “on-person” kit. For myself I think I’m going to toss in a couple immediate need pills as well to cover allergy, migraine, & sea sickness as well. We each have to customize our kits to best fit our needs. It’s important to remember this is not your primary first aid kit, just some quick solutions when things go wiley on the water. Then you can get to shore and address things properly. So. . . What other gear would you carry on your PFD? We’ll save that for another post. I’m much to busy sweating out the last day before my physical. You know how us men are. . . Total Chickens! They fly at the windows, They fly at the door . . . -dm
Oh yes, if you’re reading this I’m sorry for not answering my email in very timely fashion either. You would have just got gibberish from me anyway. I will try to address emails today too if I can.
Today it’s going to be almost 50F here. A great day to get out and paddle. I sort of doubt I’m up to it yet, but if nothing else I am going to do a “spring check”. Here are some of the things I will look at while I prepare for a new season of paddling.
Toggle Ropes - These things wear out quickly. I want to look at them of any sign of wear. If there is any fraying I will change the rope. Last thing you need is your toggle breaking when you carry your boat to the beach or breaking when you are towing someone of the rear of the boat.
Boat - Go over your boat. Stare at it lovingly. Look for signs of cracking, bubbling or lifting of the outer gel-coat. That may be due to some seepage that needs to be fixed. Check your keel for excessive wear. How’s your rudder or skeg working? Any wear that should be addressed? I have blown a couple recessed deck fittings in the last couple years as well. Make sure you don’t see any cracking in the gel-coat around these fittings. If you do you may have an issue. If you don’t know how to fix it take it to a paddle shop or even a body shop and have them make sure the fittings are secure. You’re life could depend on these little trinkets. Check plastic boats for excessive wear as well. Generally these new plastic boats are pretty tough.
Everything Else Rope-like – parameter lines, bungees, tow rope. . Same as above. At least one time a year I will go over them inch buy inch looking for signs of wear. Replace anything that looks even slightly questionable.
Rubber Hatch Covers - These guys get beat up in sun-light. If they start cracking or loosing their flexibility it’s time for some new ones. If you have the hard shell with the neoprene covers I would take a good look the neoprene as well. Are they getting worn? Do they still fit tightly around the hatch? Check it out.
PFD - I have a blue pfd so places that start to wear or are damaged my the sun show up easily. The yellow PFDs are not always so obvious. So get in close and look. Make sure the material is strong and not separating. Check the seems, pockets, buckles, zippers, etc. Just go over it well and be sure it’s ready for another season. IF you don’t swim in it a lot now is a good time. Check the buoyancy. Is this thing going to keep you afloat?
Skirt - Check the condition of your skirt. It seems some get tighter and some get looser as they get older. Regardless you want them working properly and exactly how you expect them too when on the water. Look for signs of wear. Especially in the seams and along the outer rims. Check the nylon tunnel material if you use that type. Look for wear along the sides where they will rub as you paddle. NOW would be a great time to either tie a whiffle ball or attach a carabineer to the release loop. This makes removing the skirt much easier when you’re upside down.
Paddles - I have both wood and composite paddles. I have had composites separate and peal before. They went right back to the manufacturer. I usually fill chips with epoxy. I also run a bead along the outer edge of the paddle blade. I am rough on my paddles and they need the extra layer. My wood paddles often need some care. They loose their varnish and water can begin to soak into the wood. If I don’t take care of that the paddle is going to go to it’s grave far too soon. Check the Ferrule for excessive wear (this is the place where your 2 piece paddle comes together with that little button) Depending on the quality of your paddle you can get a lot of slippage over time.
Knife - I leave my knife on my PFD so I always have to be checking it for signs of deterioration and surface rust. I clean it up multiple times every year.
Whistle - blow your whistle. Don’t just expect it to work. They do get old too. Also I cracked one once during a self-rescue drill. I wouldn’t have noticed until I blew it and it did not work. Then I found the crack.
Beacons & GPS – Change your batteries!! I always carry spare batteries, but I don’t want to have to do that on the water in any kind of chop. I would rather just change them out regularly.
First Aid Kit – Check out your kit. Make sure everything is good and up to date. Replace out of date medicines. Make sure you have had no moisture building up. It can soak into gauze and other paper items. I had the experience once where moisture would build and dry out and build and dry out. They may look ok, but can disintegrate when you open them up. Why not just replace all that stuff? It hardly costs anything and can really save you some issues later.
Tie Downs & Rack – After I spend all this time going over my gear I don’t want to lose my boat on the highway. So I will check and replace warn tie downs and make sure my rack is snugged up and not coming loose from the truck
Of course there are all sorts of other fiddly things I will check and we all have a variety of specific gear we use. But the point is the same. Taking time to examine all your gear before you get on the water should be a spring ritual. Something we all do before we load the boat on our vehicle for the first time each year.