This follows on from last week’s article, Best Map for hiking From Cradle Mountain to the Walls of Jerusalem , where there were some fantastic comments from you, our readers.
Our discussion on whether blog sites should encourage all walkers to get out there into the wilderness got me thinking about how responsible we should be, as experienced walkers, to our inexperienced or ill-prepared fellow track users.
We know of the dangers and the vagrancies of Australia’s wilderness areas and so take due care, but should we necessarily label as irresponsible all the inexperienced people who venture out there less prepared than us?
I know the OT is wet and muddy and the weather can change to lethal in an instant. Knowing that, and knowing there will be undoubtedly be unprepared walkers on the track, how much extra should I do in preparation to help others?
I would gladly share my food and warm clothing – and maybe scroggin – with anyone in distress, but should I take extra in case I meet someone who needs them?
And does my knowledge of how Australia’s wilderness areas work make me ethically responsible to also know how to preserve another’s life out there if the need arose? If I know the terrain in an area might mean that formal rescue could be slow, should I make myself competent in not just basic first-aid, but also in life-saving knowledge and skills?
How far should my responsibility go?
This question troubled me, so I surfed the net looking for organisations that offer courses in remote first aid and Wilderness Emergency Response.
The Wild Aid site is upfront and transparent, and I would suggest it as a good baseline site to compare other organisations against. Their courses range from the 2 day basic, up to 6 days for group leaders. The cost made me gulp, as courses range from $3300 to $7700 just for the tuition, with travel and course logistics costs extra. Ed: these prices include up to 12 people in a group and are over 3 days (about $298.00 each) – thanks Ken.
St John’s Ambulance offer a Remote Area First Aid course which they claim covers even the potentially high level first aid needs of canyonning and caving, but they don’t supply many details other than their refund policy. The cost for the 2 day course is $310, and the textbook is extra.
Doing a remote area first aid course would entail considerable cost, time and effort on my part, but do I have an obligation to be a well-prepared Good Samaritan?
How responsible should we be for the safety and well-being of walkers who, like us, want to get out and experience the wonders of our amazing wilderness areas, but whose lack of knowledge could unknowingly get them into all sorts of trouble.
Over to you!
We would love to hear what you think.
Image: Thomas Sly – Flickr