Fieldwork First Aid

Improvised carryMarlin's Fieldwork First Aid course is designed specifically to meet the needs of those undertaking fieldwork in remote areas, since the outdoor environment presents unique problems, both for fieldwork planning and first aid. An ambulance could be hours away, so we give you the advanced skills and confidence you need to care for an injured or ill colleague until external help arrives. Marlin’s fieldwork course is designed to go beyond basic first aid and give staff undertaking fieldwork the key basic & advanced first aid skills they need in the outdoors. More importantly it will also give them the confidence to use those skills effectively in a fieldwork scenario. In addition, it is pitched at just the right level for lecturers and postgraduate researchers.

We tell you why you do things!

We believe that it is important to understand why you are doing things since if you understand why you will remember what to do! Our students often tell us that this is one of the best things about our course!

Advanced Skills to keep people alive

When help is delayed you often need more advanced skills than taught on basic first aid courses - the skills a paramedic or doctor might use when they arrive. Whilst we will teach you basic first aid skills we will also teach you important critical advanced skills e.g. traction splinting a broken femur. These advanced skills help keep people alive!

Plenty of Resources

During our courses we have a mannikin to student ration of 1 per 2 students so you get plenty of practice. We also give our course participants access to a huge range of equipment that may be relevant to their needs.

For example when teaching splinting we use inflatable splints, improvised splints, Prosplints and the excellent, mouldable SAM® splint. One participant on an outdoor first aid course recently told us that after years of outdoor first aid courses they had never seen a SAM® splint. This is because they are an expensive consumable. We do no skimp on these consumables since their use prepares you better for both purchasing relevant equipment and using it in the outdoors.

Correct spinal immobilisation

Basic Resuscitation Standards suggest that you to roll everyone into a recovery position - including those with a spinal injury. Most outdoor first aid courses teach you the same! Instead, following the advice of our medical advisor, we work to Mountain Rescue protocols and will immobilise a spinal injury where found if possible, only rolling the patient over if their airway is compromised or they need to be left to fetch help.  

Comprehensive Full Colour Course Manual

Every participant is provided with a comprehensive, full colour, 100 page fieldwork first aid manual, which means that you can sit back and learn the important skills rather than writing notes! The manual also provides an excellent resource after the course since it covers everything you were taught. It also contains patient record sheets that can be used on the hill to remind you what to do and to record patient details and treatments given - important when dealing with students in a University setting when considering potential litigation.

Why is it run mostly indoors?

Many outdoor first aid courses take staff outside for most of the course. They end out taking a basic first aid course but without the classroom. Unfortunately basic teaching theory confirms that students don’t remember much when they are cold and wet - they remember when they are warm and comfortable! We therefore use a combination of classroom skill sessions and video scenarios to bring the outdoors indoors. Where appropriate we also run suitable outdoor scenarios to allow staff to practice skills learned indoors in a more realistic environment.

Medically Correct Information

Our course follows the latest medical advice and advice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). We also have a medical advisor with whom we consult to ensure that our courses provide you with accurate information.

Common problems include advice on plasters and medications. Students often tell us that they have been advised them not to use plasters on children. This is just an urban myth. The HSE have issued clear guidance on this issue.

Another common myth is that a first aider must never issue medications, such as paracetamol. Again there is clear guidance from the HSE on this issue stating that it is "perfectly ok to give basic medications". This advice can be extended to carry a basic medications kit which of course can be invaluable if you are miles from the nearest pharmacy! If you would like further information on these issues please contact us.

However be assured that by attending one of our courses you will learn the most up to date information at all times.

Who would benefit from attending?

Anyone undertaking fieldwork, whether as part of personal research or running undergraduate field trips. Suitable for geologists, geographers, biologists, environmental scientists, civil engineers and many others!






Time (hours): 
Suitable for: 

Anyone who undertakes fieldwork and is some distance from backup help.

  • Royal Geographical Society
  • HSE "Appointed Person"
  • Adventurous Activities Licensing Authority
  • Moor & Fell Walking Award
  • BCU & RYA
  • PADI & NCA
  • BHPA


Course Contents: 

The course is extremely comprehensive and also flexible to meet the needs of a group. For fieldwork at altitude for example, we cover altitude sickness and hypothermia.

Typical course contents include:

  • Introduction, mountain rescue, mountain survival
  • Fieldwork planning and safety in the hills and mountains
  • Scene assessment, communication & delegation
  • Safety & hygiene, communicable diseases (eg. HIV)
  • Primary survey-trauma/non-trauma (recovery postn./imobilisation)
  • The “chain of survival” - relevance & application of CPR in the hills
  • CPR and resuscitation (latest standards)
  • Choking
  • First aid kits for fieldwork
  • Control of bleeding, serious bleeding in the hills and pressure points
  • Shock - types, treatment and importance when help is delayed
  • Recognising and treating illness in the outdoor environment
  • Recognising and treating injuries in the outdoor environment.
  • Practical session on splinting using improvised splints, sam splints and other commercially available splints
  • Practical sessions on spinal immobilisation and moving patients
  • Environmental problems: heat, cold, altitude
  • Reporting of accidents at work and in the hills
  • Litigation and fieldwork