Part II – Acronyms that you need to know for wilderness first aid

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This is a continuation of the important first aid acronyms that you need to know by heart if at all you are to train in wilderness first aid. As mentioned in part I, training in this form of first aid is imperative to making sure that you are well versed with the various procedures should an emergency arise when you are in a far off place, away from medical access. Below are key acronyms that you must know by heart. Consistent practice will help make sure that you are familiar with the same.

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–          DOTS (this is a procedure that is used when assessing a patient at a specific focused point. It can also be referred to as palpating. You should check out for the following when carrying out this procedure:

Deformities of any sort, particularly sunken spots and indentations

Open Injuries that may have been caused by a penetrative object or cuts that expose the flesh.

Tenderness at the site of injury on touching the affected area, something which is rather common with burns and open wounds.

Swelling on any part of the body.

– FAST is a wilderness first aid acronym for a procedure that is used to assess whether a patient after the occurrence of stroke.

Face, is the face drooping or is the patient complaining of weakness on one side of the face?

Arm, check whether the patient can raise both arms. If this is not possible, find out whether there is weakness in one arm.

Speech, is the patient experiencing slurred speech? Are they having trouble making coherent sentences?

T is for time, and it is important that these signals are observed and noted prior to calling 911.

–          HACE is an acronym that is used in wilderness first aid and which indicates the accumulation of fluid within the brain, a condition that individuals are predisposed to at high altitude. It is potentially fatal and occurs at altitudes of between 1000 and 1500. The acronym stands for High altitude Cerebral Edema.


–          HAPE is yet another similar acronym, one which stands for High Altitude Pulmonary Edema. It is possible to tell what these acronyms stand for with some basic first aid knowledge: edema refers to fluid accumulation while pulmonary indicates something to do with the lungs and heart. In this case, HAPE refers to a condition where fluid accumulates within the air spaces of the lungs. Granted, this hampers breathing so that death is imminent of the condition is left unattended to. Part of the wilderness first aid procedure for this is to descent to 1000’ immediately.


–          HR simply refers to heart rate of an individual. The normal heart rate ranges anywhere between 50 and 100 beats, depending on a myriad of external factors.


–          MOI, when used in wilderness first aid makes reference to the mechanism of injury. What was the cause of the injury? What led to the accident?


–          LOR is an acronym that makes reference to the level of response of an individual. It can also be used in place of Level of Consciousness, which is aptly abbreviated LOC.

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