Outdoor safety education series kicks off

Local News

Carilion Clinic, Roanoke City Parks and Recreation and the Appalachian Center for Wilderness Medicine has kicked off their outdoor safety education series.

The series, entitled “Disrupting Natural Selection,” consists of five free classes on various topics, according to organizers. The first class on Wednesday covered safety on the hiking trail.

“I’m out here on the trails at Carvins Cove on the trails and on the Appalachian Trail nearly every weekend,” said Carol Rowlett, who attended the trail safety for a second time.

Rowlett said after attending the course last year, she started carrying additional items in her backpack.

“It certainly relieves my mind just having them with me,” she said. “So I think being prepared for things is one of the best things you can do going out on the trails.”

Ankle sprains and snake bites are just some of the hiking injuries local doctors have treated.

“Virtually every day at Roanoke Memorial [Hospital], we probably see somebody who is involved in an outside activity that comes in with an emergency,” said Dr. Jessie Gehner, an emergency physician with Carillon Clinic who also serves as one of the class instructors.

The class covers topics like building makeshift stretchers and splinting, which helps those with broken bones, Dr. Gehner said. Instructors also correct many misconceptions about hiking safety, especially when it comes to snake bites, she added.

“Some myths are you’re supposed to cut an X and suck the poison out – definitely don’t do that,” Dr. Gehner said. “You shouldn’t put a tourniquet on. You shouldn’t put ice on it. Mostly you just want to get the patient to definitive medical care.”

There are four more courses in the outdoor safety series. The classes will be held each month and will cover topics like water safety and cold weather safety, according to organizers.

Participants are asked to register for each class in advance. For more information, click here

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