Backcountry Incident Management & First Aid Resources and Procedures

So, you are doing your typical day hike when suddenly you discover one of your trip participants is missing.  What do you do now?

Or, with five miles back to the trailhead one of your hikers’ trips and falls, twists his ankle, then hits his head on a rock as the team works down a very loose rock gulley.  Quick!!  What do you do now?

For those of you familiar with the previous version of the trip leader Incident Management Cards, you will find the new card set has more clear suggestions as to what to do, allows technology you may have available to be better utilized, and aligns with the new Wilderness First Aid textbook.

For those not all that familiar with the Incident Management cards, a well-managed backcountry emergency typically consists of four “teams.”  Usually there is a First Aid Team, often a Get Help Team, another team that can oversee any spend-the-night activities (the Bivy Team), and finally an Incident Manager who oversees the process and provides team coordination.

As a typical backcountry incident unfolds, the cards will remind the trip leader (aka the Incident Manager) to verify the accident site is safe for the participants, outline the immediate first aid steps that should be taken to attend to the injured party, provide a sequence of longer term first aid steps while monitoring the patient, organize a team that can effectively get help, and a final team that can be prepared to establish shelter should the group need to hunker down for a while.

If your incident instead involves a missing hiker, the cards will suggest a managed process to facilitate a quick search, and if needed, a lengthier search.  Should you need S&R involvement, the cards will outline specifics to be collected to help them better organize and perform their search.

For those of you that enroll in the Backcountry Incident Management School during its summer sessions, these cards will act as the on-site “textbook” you will use to work through the field day scenarios.  For more information on the BIM School please visit the homepage at:

Backcountry Incident Management School – Colorado Mountain Club (

Or contact Rich McAdams (  Refer to “BIM School” in subject line.

As you might suspect, the Colorado Mountain Club strongly encourages trip leaders to carry a set of these cards as part of their first aid kit, then put them to use should the unexpected happen.

User Guide – Incident Management Cards rev 2-25-2022

Bivy Guide rev. 2-2-2022

CMC Emergency Contact Info 2-2-2022

Cover Card rev. 2-20-2022

First Aid Sequence and Procedures rev. 2-20-2022

Get Help Guide rev. 2-2-2022

Incident Manager Guide rev. 2-20-2022

Injury – SAR Report Record rev. 2-20-2022

Medical Report Record 2-20-2022

Missing Person – SAR Report Record rev. 2-20-2022

Missing Person Search Procedures Guide 2-2-2022

Personal Information Form rev. 2-2-2022