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#293861 - 10/15/19 12:34 AM Improvise! The need for a Plan B
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7308
Loc: southern Cal
The current thread on tourniquets prompts this thread. What do you do when your specialized item is unenviable, already committed, or unavailable for whatever reason. Life has a habit of throwing really nasty curve balls.

the ability to improvise, adapt, and/or innovate can be critical to many of life's situations, including many that verge on survival circumstances.

On one SAR mission, we had a fall victim in a cave who we placed on a rigid backboard because of the high likelihood of spinal fracture. In transporting the victim toward the entrance, we encountered a short constriction in the passage which was too narrow to allow passage of the backboard. What to do? Hint: we did not enlarge the passage., although that might be an option is some cases.

Another instance. We responded to a situation of a vehicle at the bottom of a 100 foot vertical mine shaft with two surviving victims. I and a good SAR buddy were the first to reach the two, treating their astonishingly minor, and were ready to be pulled up.

A rope was dropped to us, triggering the nastiest rock fall I ever experienced (Mine shafts are notorious for that). We were uninjured only because their vehicle provided shelter. We radioed that somehow the rigging system needed to be altered so that rockfall was not a problem.

On the spot, our companions, using nothing but available climbing rope, carabiners, and one climbing pulley, devised a system that hug our ascent rope in the middle of the shaft, enabling us to be hauled up, two by two, without incident. I believe this system is still used today, although mine shaft rescues are thankfully rare.

Some situations just can't be anticipated, and you need to scrounge. Duct tape is your friend.

Other good stories??
Geezer in Chief

#293864 - 10/16/19 02:57 PM Re: Improvise! The need for a Plan B [Re: hikermor]
roberttheiii Offline

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 339
Loc: Connecticut, USA
I can't think of any stories as exciting as yours off the cuff, BUT I will say I love it when a plan comes apart. Making a good and detailed plan is lots of fun, but not as fun as when something goes wrong and you've got to improvise your way to the best available outcome.

#293868 - 10/16/19 08:42 PM Re: Improvise! The need for a Plan B [Re: hikermor]
Phaedrus Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2695
Loc: Big Sky Country
My stories are also much less exciting! Most of my wilderness improvisation has revolved around cooking, shelter or first aid.
“I'd rather have questions that cannot be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” —Richard Feynman

#293886 - 10/19/19 01:29 AM Re: Improvise! The need for a Plan B [Re: hikermor]
nursemike Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 863
Loc: wellington, fl
The problem with improvised solutions here in the first world is the issue of liability. Anyone can sue anyone else for anything, and first responders get sued by the people they have assisted with frightening regularity. The criterion used is 'standard of practice', and the responders behavior is measured against that.
So, if you improvise, and the outcome is less than perfect, the improvisation will be viewed as not conforming to standard of practice, and liability may attach. This is why certifying agencies make lots of money providing endorsements for ATLS, ACLS, and tourniquets: it offers a level of protection to the responder and the employing agency.

I know: if it's stupid and it works, it's not stupid.

Dance like you have never been hurt, work like no one is watching,love like you don't need the money.

#293892 - 10/19/19 02:11 PM Re: Improvise! The need for a Plan B [Re: hikermor]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7308
Loc: southern Cal
My organization, Southern Arizona Rescue Association, has been in existence for 60 years, and to the best of my knowledge, has never been sued. Of course, SARA's pockets are very shallow.

I would say that community support and approval has increased over the years - probably this correlates with increasing competence of the organization.

Improvisation, or a plan B, doesn't mean that you have to assume risks or take chances.

One of the virtues of a volunteer organization is that you have people with varied backgrounds. This helps when you have an odd situation. SARA's members included some physicians, as well as at least two ER nurses. We had about three working professionally certified engineers who were reasonably adept rock climbers. At least one of them was present when the mine shaft rig I mentioned was devised, paying attention to stresses, etc.

Oddly enough, I don't recollect that any of SARA's members were attorneys....
Geezer in Chief

#293950 - 10/26/19 11:23 PM Re: Improvise! The need for a Plan B [Re: hikermor]
CJK Offline

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 583
Loc: FL, USA
one of my 'favorite' (I think movie lines)...

1. "It's time for 'Plan B'.

2. We have a Plan B?!?

3. No...but it's time for one.

#293956 - 10/27/19 05:02 PM Re: Improvise! The need for a Plan B [Re: CJK]
pforeman Offline

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 183
Loc: Iowa
I knew that quote from somewhere...

Col. O'Neill: It's time for Plan B.
Maj. Carter: We have a Plan B?
Col. O'Neill: No, but it's time for one.

It's from Stargate:SG1 TV series! It took me awhile, but I finally tracked it down.

Paul - smile

#294035 - 11/04/19 01:33 AM Re: Improvise! The need for a Plan B [Re: hikermor]
CJK Offline

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 583
Loc: FL, USA
Thank you!!!! Couldn't remember where I'd heard it!


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