But, what if you or someone you're running with gets hurt while on the run? Will you be prepared? If you haven't already, I highly recommend you take the Red Cross CPR and First Aid training. The training doesn't cost that much and in an afternoon of training, you'll have most of the basics in case someone in your running group gets hurt. To keep current, the CPR training has to be renewed each year, but the first aid only has to be renewed every three years. If you work for a large company, check with HR, often they will provide training for "first responders" on each floor or for each department.
When you're running the greenway or the trails with your buddy or your running group and you're miles away from your neighborhood, it's a good idea for someone (if not more than one of you) to have a Runner's First Aid Kit. No, you won't be running with it, but having it in one of your cars is better than not having one at all.
So, what should go in your kit? I recommend you purchase the basic Red Cross First Aid Kit. You can order one online at the Red Cross Store or you can purchase one at your local Red Cross chapter. The Red Cross suggests that whether you buy a first aid kit or put one together yourself, make sure it has all the items you may need. Include any personal items for you or other runners in your group such as medications and emergency phone numbers or other items your health-care provider may suggest. Check the kit regularly. Make sure the flashlight batteries work. Check expiration dates and replace any used or out-of-date contents.
The Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits for a family of four include the items below. So, modify your running kit accordingly depending on the number of runners in your group.
Basic First Aid Kit for 4 People
- 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
- 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
- 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets
- 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
- 1 blanket (space blanket)
- 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
- 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
- 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
- 2 triangular bandages
- First aid instruction booklet
Now that you have your first aid kit, you need a plan of action. Talk with your running buddies about what to do if there is an injury while on the run. Who is going to be the runner back to the car? Who might be the one to carry the cell phone on those really long runs? Talk it out. You can never be too prepared for an emergency.
Your running route is another thing to consider when being safety conscious. If you're running route is fairly short then an out-and-back is probably fine, but if it's a long run (10 to 20 miles) a looping-back route (one that has you looping back by your car a few times) is a better choice. This is of great help if someone gets injured, because you won't have as far to go to get back to your car for your phone and first aid kit. Also, planning your route so that it goes through or near residential areas is a good idea, in case you need access to help or a phone to call for help.
So, do a little safety planning, and hopefully you'll never need to use it. But, if you do, you'll be prepared!