First aid in the field – get your shoot sorted

Hannah Turner

Hannah Turner

Hannah Turner is BASC South East’s regional officer. Despite having two small children, she loves getting out in the field shooting or cooking game.

A slightly desperate face appeared at the porta cabin door, “Who’s a first aider?”

“I am,” slipped from my lips and my foot was through the door before I had fully registered what was happening.

A pale vacant face was the scene I found. He was breathing, he had a pulse and did not appear to be in pain but was completely unresponsive. “Get him sat on the floor so he doesn’t fall and call an ambulance,” I said. The team sprang into action like a well-oiled machine. There was no panic in the air, just urgency and concern.

Referring to my training

This moment made me flash back to last year, sat on the conference room floor next to my colleague who was pretending to be an unresponsive patient. We felt a little silly but Fran, our trainer, had been adamant that we needed to practically act out what we would do in each situation.

As I now sat on the porta cabin floor, checking the rate of this man’s pulse, and watching his chest rise and fall, I was so glad for the muscle memory that helped me through each step.

Just outside someone was talking to the ambulance service, somebody had driven to the gate to meet them while another had delivered my first aid kit to my side. There was also another first aid trained person nearby in case I needed support.

In reflection

Looking back on the experience, I feel very proud of the way we all reacted and the roles we played. So now I challenge you to ask yourselves a few questions.

  • Who on your shoot oversees first aid?
  • Where is your first aid kit?
  • When was the last time anyone attended training?

If you cannot answer these questions, then it is time to get your shoot sorted as first aid in the field should take top priority.


Most first aid certificates last for three years, however yearly refreshers are advised. You should make sure there are at least two of you trained in first aid at every shoot day.

Why two? Well, if you are the trained person and you fall and break your leg, who is going to treat you?

BASC can organise first aid at work training sessions for your willing volunteers. Have a look on our website for more details.


In the height of an emergency clarity of thought is not always a given. It is important that you do as much of the planning for an emergency as possible before one occurs.

  • Do you have any mobile blackspots on your shoot if you need to ring for help?
  • Will the ambulance be able to find you?
  • Will there be locked gates to get through?

You need to map out a plan and make sure everyone knows it so if anything happens, it can be set in motion immediately.


  • If you were to open your shoot’s first aid kit, how much of the contents do you think would be in date?
  • Are the contents mostly useful for the gundogs?
  • Are the used items immediately replaced?
  • Is it a simple off-the-shelf kit from the local pharmacy or was it specifically put together with shooting in mind?

Most of the time injuries will come from brambles and barbed wire. Maybe a twisted ankle or someone forgetting their medication. But let’s not forget there is the possibility of a gunshot wound, more so than if you were playing tennis. Having the right equipment – and knowing how to use it – could be the difference between life and death.

If you are feeling stumped with where to start, get in touch with BASC and we can guide you. Don’t put it off, get your shoot sorted, today.

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