Lupine helped out on a Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE) training day for a school down in the home counties at the end of January. Three of us went down and we supported the teaching staff by instructing on different areas of the DofE expedition syllabus. We each did an hour on a specific area then got the next group for an hour, etc. Laura did some navigation, Dave covered menu planning and I covered first aid.
I tried something new (for me) and it worked quite well. First I explaining that the reason for putting someone in a sling is to immobilise the limb, this means that the casualty doesn't have to hold it in such a way that it is not painful, thus freeing up their good hand. This is very important if the casualty then has to walk cross country to help. I then split the group into 3.
Group 1: Given a first aid kit with various bandages
Group 2: Given a bag with some things in it that are on our kit list but no first aid kit
Group 3: Not given anything and told to use what they had brought to the school class room that day.
One of them then pretended to be a casualty presenting a certain injury. They then immobilised the limb and we compared the results. It was often the case that the bandages gave the least support of the 3.
From this I think that it is important for all of us, when in a first aid situation to think about all the resources that we have available and not necessarily to focus on what is in our first aid kits.
As an aside my current first aid trainer Helen Underwood gave me a great tip on my first course with her which was as follows. If you have to put a bandage on someone but you haven't done it for a while then have a quick practice on an un-injured person first. Get someone else to mimic the position that the casualty is holding their damaged limb and work out how best to apply your bandage (or gaffer tape :-) ). I have actually done this for someone with a broken arm and while for a bit it doesn't really inspire confidence it definitely makes for a better, more comfortable sling application when you move to doing it to the person who is in pain.