Originally published November 30, 2009.
Poor Kenny. For those who have never seen South Park, or who have been living in a cave on Mars with their eyes closed and their fingers in their ears for the last twelve years, Kenny McCormick is the unfortunate member of the South Park gang who, in nearly every episode in the first five seasons, dies a terrible death. So, as I was saying, poor Kenny.
Kenny is a really unlucky little kid. Kenny dies in just about every way imaginable. He is electrocuted, crushed by a tree, torn apart by an angry mob, gored by a bull, eaten by fish…and so on and so on. If there is a chance, however small, that someone could be injured while participating in any activity, Kenny will beat the odds and become the fatal statistic.
I’m glad I’m not as unlucky as Kenny, and I hope that you’re not either. If you are, there’s not much that can be done about it. But if you’re a little more average, it pays to take some precautions while engaged in activities that have a higher risk of injury than sitting around on your sofa watching South Park.
That brings us to Rule No. 6:
First Aid Kits Are Non-Negotiable.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Bring a first aid kit when you hike and camp. Bring it when you’re solo, bring it when you’re in a group, just bring it. Bring it even when you think that the hike should be a piece of cake, especially if you’ve never done it before and don’t know from personal experience how easy it will be. After all, we know what can happen when you set out on what you think is a “simple” hike in unknown territory.
I don’t want to hear any excuses out of you. A while ago, I discussed what should go into a first-aid kit in some detail. You don’t have to put much work into getting one together, however, because ready-made kits are available for your (inexpensive) purchase. First aid kits come in all sizes (mine weighs half a pound) and so the minor extra weight is worth the vast benefits of carrying one.
You should also learn how to use your first aid kit. Having one won’t help in an emergency if you’re sitting there trying to figure out what a lancet is or how to operate your snake-bite suction device. Read the instructions in advance. Buy a first aid manual and study it (they make compact ones that you can bring with you, and some ready-made kits actually come with them). You can even take a first aid course.
At the end of the day, a first aid kit, and knowledge of how to use it, can help you avoid the fate that always, always, seemed to befall poor Kenny. Those bastards.