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I am taking my first trip down Westwater this weekend and was curious what you bring in your first aid kit. The regulations are not very clear. I called and asked and was told they can't get a chopper in and you have to get yourself out (which seems to be the case for most wilderness trips) Do they inspect your kits? Has anyone been turned away? Thanks for your help,
Dave
 

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The Russian
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Depends on the ranger, only once I was asked to open my kit in all the times I've ran WW. It was a newbie ranger and i am sure he was following the guidelines.

Major first aid kit is for you, not for rangers. So pack it more than you think you need. I pack neck bracers, splints, my table is the backboard for carrying injured, etc. The more you display you know your junk and have it in your boat, the less crap you get from rangers.

The rule of thumb I follow on my trips. Every boat has their personal first aid kits and me or my buddy carry a major one designated for bigger injuries. That is the guideline for WW as well. First aid kit per boat and Major kit for the group. Have a great time, remember at Skull, pull right to left ;)
 

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We made it down last weekend. The trip leader is 73 ( we should all be so lucky)and was oaring a 18' cat. He was getting ready for his first Grand trip next month and hasn't had much time on the oars. He got that big cat through the shoot on the left at skull. Have fun and be safe. Oh ya the ranger was pretty laid back with us but we were a small tight group.
 

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Hi,

I was a long term ranger at WW for ten years, working with Alvin and other regular rangers.

Actually, the WW regs don't require the major/minor first aid kits like on the Grand. In fact, as noted, the regulations don't specify the contents of a first aid kit (The stipulations require, "a first aid kit adequate for the size of the group and type(s) of activities, and sufficient for treating serious injuries). So I approached it from the point of view that -- beyond a few basics -- I really wasn't going to be very intrusive in my inquiry. As long as they gave me a reasonable belief they had a basic on-river response capability, I tried to be flexible.

In most cases, I'd ask to see the container for the first aid kit, and when they produced it, I'd ask if anyone on the trip had formal first aid/medical training. Depending on the yes/no there, I'd ask either that person or the TL if they were familiar with the contents of the kit. I'd then ask if they were comfortable with using those contents in any reasonably foreseeable situation, based on the length and complexity of the trip, the river conditions they were expecting, and the size of their group.

Only rarely did I get a questionable response, and only rarely did I go farther than that. Going farther might have involved asking to look in the kit itself, but in most cases it was just to ask the TL or trained person to tell me what they had in the box.

Because there were no real official BLM standards, I was never quite sure how I'd have handled it unless they had nothing at all. (In a few cases where the kit was forgotten at home, they went back to Grand Junction to buy something; at least once they borrowed a spare kit from another party launching with them.) But in that context, I approved kits for a day kayak trip that were very, very basic. And I also once approved a kit carried by a full-on doctor, who told me his kit included suture packs and IV supplies -- that was his comfort level for an overnite summer trip through WW.

I'd say if you have a readily identifiable kit, with sensible basic contents -- bandaids, antiseptic, compresses, ace bandage and other wrapping material, asprin/tylenol/ibuprofen, and maybe a few other such items to stabilize an injury until you get to Cisco, you're going to be good to go.

If you have any real questions, there's always the option of calling the Moab field office and getting a more authoritative response.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 

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The Russian
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Thanks Rich, I always was under impression a major kit is required on all over night trips in Utah. Maybe it's just me volunteering the info to the ranger about the major kit per group at check-in and them nodding?
 

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Thanks Rich, I always was under impression a major kit is required on all over night trips in Utah. Maybe it's just me volunteering the info to the ranger about the major kit per group at check-in and them nodding?

Hi Alex,

I've always carried a lot more than the trip has ever required -- even my "minor" kit looks a lot like a "major". But I worked to try not to impose my standards on folks.

Here's another one. Look carefully at the Westwater stipulations and see if you can find a requirement for kayakers to wear a helmet.

Hang in there.

Rich Phillips
 
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