Evacuation Planning for Remote Expeditions

The mountains of Oman. December 2019. Photo by Grant Rayner.
Rough mountain roads in Oman. December 2019. Photo by Grant Rayner.

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT

How Remote Is Remote?

  • You are at least a day or two walk away from a road.
  • There may be roads, but the condition of the road network is poor; you are also a significant distance from good medical facilities.
  • You are in a location where there is no helicopter rescue service or are outside the reach of helicopter rescue services.
Remote helipad in the mountains of Oman. December 2019. Photo by Grant Rayner.

Death Is Out of Scope

EVACUATION PLANNING

Distance from the Trailhead

Team Size

Airfields

Medical Facilities

Communications

Expedition Field Support Team

  • Monitoring your progress
  • Acting as a communications relay to other groups (including other expedition teams, family and friends, or sponsors)
  • Posting expedition updates
  • Coordinating resupply
  • Coordinating evacuations
Abandoned vehicle in a mountainous area of Oman. December 2019. Photo by Grant Rayner.

EXECUTING AN EVACUATION

Step 1: Send an Evacuation Request

  • Team’s current location
  • Location of the preferred pickup point
  • Expected time of arrival at pickup point
  • Name of the casualty
  • Details of the injury
  • Whether other team members will be evacuating with the casualty
  • Any other relevant information

Step 2: Coordinate Vehicles

Step 3: Inform Next of Kin

  • Who you are and why you’re calling
  • What the injury is
  • When and where it occurred (time and location)
  • What condition the casualty is in now
  • What the evacuation plan is (high-level overview)
  • What’s happening right now (where the casualty is currently)
  • What you need them to do, if anything
  • When you’ll contact them with the next update

Step 4: Get to the Trailhead

  • Can they walk?
  • Can they see?
  • Is their injury worsening?
  • How heavy are they?
  • Do they need continual care?
  • Ease of movement across terrain
  • Foliage density (this will impact carrying a stretcher)
  • Steepness of terrain
  • Night or day
  • Hot or cold
  • Rain, snow or ice
  • Visibility
  • Number of people
  • Combined lifting capacity
  • Available equipment
  • Ability to get local support

The stretcher or litter

Make the trek slightly easier

  • Leveraging pack animals
  • Getting the assistance of nearby teams
  • Getting the assistance of locals

Step 5: Reach the Trailhead

METHODS OF EVACUATATION

Evacuation by vehicle

Mountain driving in Oman. December, 2019. Photo by Grant Rayner.

Evacuation by aircraft

CLOSING THOUGHTS/THE TAKEAWAY

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Founder, Spartan9.

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Grant Rayner

Grant Rayner

Founder, Spartan9.

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