If the outdoors is part of your life, first-aid training should be, too. My mother's severe asthma was always a concern during our regular camping trips and hikes, so the moment I was old enough for Red Cross classes I enrolled.
There were small incidents during our regular outings, but the training paid its biggest dividend in town. When I came home from high school, mom was having serious trouble breathing and told me to call 911.
I did, but by the time I was back in the den, she was unconscious and lying on the den floor. Her breathing went from rapid and shallow to nothing at all in a hurry. I could not find a pulse. I began CPR and when the cavalry finally arrived, the EMTs were at the front, locked door that we never used. I ran through the house to let them in, and by the time I returned, Mom was blue.
The paramedics went straight to work, and instructed me to call my father and tell him, "It's bad. Tell him to meet us at the hospital." They continued CPR while more firefighters arrived. Then one of them announced, "I have a pulse."
Mom sat up, looked straight in the empty doorway to the kitchen and asked, "Mom, what are you doing here?" Then she lost consciousness again.
My grandmother died 10 years before the incident. Mom was probably a little more confident in my skills during our subsequent trips outdoors, and we always laughed about that ghostly visit....OK, she did the laughing. I still get the creeps.
Illustration by American Hunter Art Director Mark Weaver