Fieldwork & Expedition First Aid

Improvised carry

Marlin's Fieldwork & Expedition First Aid course is designed specifically to meet the needs of those undertaking fieldwork and trips into remote areas. It is not just a basic Outdoor First Aid Course.

Over the last few years we have worked closely with our customers (from University Departments to commercial organisations) to develop a course that fully meets their needs. There were several problems found with current courses:

  1. Staff were working both indoors and out on fieldwork. First Aid at Work covered time at work and outdoor first aid covered some aspects of fieldwork. Staff trained in outdoor first aid couldn’t be first aiders whilst in the office (and vice versa).
  2. Staff and students work both in the UK and in remote locations around the world. To train for both often required two separate courses (outdoor and expedition first aid).
  3. Almost every provider offers an outdoor first aid course now, run by staff with little experience of the outdoors, fieldwork or expeditions.
  4. Many outdoor first aid courses are little more than ‘rebadged’ FAW courses. When in a wilderness situation you need some advanced skills to help keep people alive.

Our new course for 2019/20 is unique in the industry:

This 2-Day course focuses on practical first aid skills, backed up by comprehensive eLearning covering subjects such as illness and expedition planning.

  1. Covers first aid for remote lovations in the UK or abroad.
    An optional module now covers foreign travel, vaccinations, travel illnesses, diarrhoea, etc (for those who need this information).
  2. Covers outdoor first aid and First Aid at Work:
    We cover outdoor First Aid, which is a higher standard than FAW, so participants get both qualifications (Course meets the requirements of the HSE for a 2-day blended First Aid at Work course, so staff gain a qualification valid both in the office and in the field).
  3. Our course is run by outdoor instructors with considerable experience of running remote expeditions.

The outdoor environment presents unique problems, both for fieldwork planning and first aid. Medical assistance could be hours away, so we give you the advanced skills and confidence you need to care for an injured or ill colleague until external help arrives. Our course is designed to go beyond basic first aid and give staff undertaking fieldwork both basic & advanced first aid skills they need in the outdoors. More importantly it will also give them the confidence to use those skills effectively in an outdoor situation. 


Course Content:

Our 2-Day 18hr+ course focuses on practical first aid skills, backed up by comprehensive eLearning covering subjects such as illness and expedition planning.


We tell you why you do things!

We believe that it is important to understand why you are doing things since if you understand why you will remember what to do! Our students often tell us that this is one of the best things about our course!

Advanced Skills to keep people alive

When help is delayed you often need more advanced skills than taught on basic first aid courses - the skills a paramedic or doctor might use when they arrive. Whilst we will teach you basic first aid skills we will also teach you important critical advanced skills e.g.splinting techniques, tourniquets and other advanced bleeding control techniques such as wound packing. These advanced skills help keep people alive when help is delayed.

Plenty of Resources

During our courses we have a mannikin to student ration of 1 per 2 students so you get plenty of practice. We also give our course participants access to a huge range of equipment that may be relevant to their needs.

For example when teaching splinting we use inflatable splints, improvised splints, Prosplints and the excellent, mouldable SAM® splint. One participant on an outdoor first aid course recently told us that after years of outdoor first aid courses they had never seen a SAM® splint. This is because they are an expensive consumable. We do no skimp on these consumables since their use prepares you better for both purchasing relevant equipment and using it in the outdoors.

Blended Course with eLearning

It simply isn’t possible to cover all the knowledge and skills required in a 2-day first aid course. We have developed comprehensive eLearning to support the course. Participants are given a log-in code and need to complete about 4-6 hrs eLearning porter to the course. This learning covers many of the traditionally ‘dry’ subjects such as illness, and in turn frees up time on the course for actually practicing skills. Completing the eLearning also means that participants can receive a HSE First Aid at Work Qualification (FAW) at the end of a 2-day course (FAW is normally 3 days long) 

Comprehensive Full Colour Course Manual

Every participant is provided with a comprehensive, full colour, 100 page fieldwork first aid manual, which means that you can sit back and learn the important skills rather than writing notes! The manual also provides an excellent resource after the course since it covers everything you were taught. It also contains patient record sheets that can be used on the hill to remind you what to do and to record patient details and treatments given.

Why is it run mostly indoors?

Many outdoor first aid courses take staff outside for most of the course. They end out taking a basic first aid course but without the classroom. Unfortunately basic teaching theory confirms that students don’t remember much when they are cold and wet - they remember when they are warm and comfortable! We therefore use a combination of classroom skill sessions and video scenarios to bring the outdoors indoors. Where appropriate we also run suitable outdoor scenarios to allow staff to practice skills learned indoors in a more realistic environment.

Medically Correct Information

Our course follows the latest medical advice and advice from the a number of medical bodies. We also have our own medical director to ensure that our courses provide you with accurate up to date, advice.

Who would benefit from attending?

Anyone undertaking fieldwork, whether as part of personal research or running undergraduate field trips. Suitable for geologists, geographers, biologists, environmental scientists, civil engineers and many others!


Dr Tanya Chong, Imperial College, Royal School of Mines

"Marlin have been providing Imperial College with first class first-aid training for 12 years, and since joining the Earth Science department in 2009 I have had nothing but praise for their courses. 

Stuart and his team stand out from other first aid providers by tailoring their courses to the needs of the client, and drawing upon years of experience to cover the important areas of first aid in each course that are relevant to the type of work we do.

Examples of courses being tailored to our needs include outdoor first aid courses specifically for final year students embarking on fieldwork in remote parts of Morocco, very different from training required for MSc students doing fieldwork in the UK or courses for fieldtrip leaders of student groups. 

  Student feedback from these very hands-on classes is consistently positive and students feel confident in their ability to deal with incidents that may occur whilst in the field, and are content in the knowledge that their leaders are fully trained to a high level. In fact, it is our policy that all field leaders and postgraduate demonstrators are trained at least to outdoor first aid standard, and preferably to expedition first aid level."






Time (hours): 
Suitable for: 

Anyone who undertakes remote fieldwork and is some distance from help.

  • Royal Geographical Society
  • HSE First Aid at Work (approved by First Aid Industry Body)
  • Imperial College London
  • Adventurous Activities Licensing Authority
  • Moor & Fell Walking Award
  • BCU & RYA
  • PADI & NCA
  • BHPA


eLearning must be completed prior to the course start date.

Course Contents: 
  • Introduction, mountain rescue, mountain survival
  • Fieldwork planning and safety in the hills and mountains
  • Expedition planning and first aid
  • Scene assessment, communication & delegation
  • Calling for help: urban and wilderness.
  • Safety & hygiene, communicable diseases (eg. HIV)
  • Apps for first aid and the outdoors
  • First aid kits for fieldwork
  • Primary assessment-trauma/non-trauma (recovery postn./imobilisation)
    DR ABCDE: 
  • Danger: Dealling with danger and accident scenes urban and wilderness
  • Response: Checking for response urban and wilderness. Monitoring levels of ressponsiveness
  • Airway Problems: Opening airways. Airways in difficult situations. Airway adjuncts. Choking.
  • Breathing: What to do is the patient isnt breathing. Full exploration of CPR and Automated External Defibrillators. The “chain of survival” - relevance & application of CPR in wilderness situations. When to stop CPR.
  • Circulatory Problems: Basic and advanced bleding control, including practical experience of wound packing, torniquets and bleeding from exposed fractures. Shock and it's relevance in the outdoors. The "lethal triad".
  • Disability: When to splint, when to leave alone. When to move, when not to move.
  • Practical experience of splinting for a wide variety of injuries using commercial and improvised technques. General princples of splinting. Traction splinting and handling difficult fractures if help is delayed (wilderness). 
  • Practical sessions on spinal immobilisation and moving patients
  • Environmental problems: Heat and Cold problems. Hypo and Hyperthermia. Immersion foot, frostbite. Altitude related problems. Environmental protection of the injured casualty. Aquatic problems including; drowning, immersion hypothermia and immersion shock.
  • Illness assessment: Assessing the ill patient and what to do (urban and wilderness). 
  • Dealing with Illness, both urban and wilderness:
  • Stroke, Heart Conditions, Asthma, Diabetes, Epilepsy, etc. Outdoor illnesses including Lyme and Weill's disease.  Bites and stings, including bees, wasps, snakes, weaverfish and jellyfish.
  • Foreign travel illnesses (optional eLearning module), Diarrhoea, malaria, diptheria, japanese encephalitis, yellow fever, rabies, sleeping sickness, tetanus, tuberculosis, HIV/hepatitis, dengue fever, cutaneous larva migrans (hookworm, skin and eye infections, urinary/genital infections, ear infections and respiratory infections, etc.
  • Reporting of accidents at work and in the hills
  • Litigation and fieldwork

Addittional subjects can be covered to meet specific group needs (e.g. marine realated illnesses).