In Case of Death

The 8th of an 8 part weekly series on handling and preparing for problems.

No training on emergency procedures would be complete without dealing with deaths on a trip. The death of a group member is everyone’s worse nightmare but it does happen, even if the death was caused by natural causes. i.e. Heart attack.

  1. Treat as though alive until determined to be dead by a medical practitioner. The only real exception is when the trauma is so great it cannot be anything else, such as a decapitation.
  2. Do not move bodies except to protect them from further harm, but protect from scavengers that may arrive.
  3. Contact nearest Police authority and inform of the death
  4. Remove children from sight of bodies
  5. Grim as it is, photograph the scene – especially any technical equipment setups
  6. Keep occupied with tasks. It distracts you and the group
  7. Do not talk to the press. Only speak to rescue personnel and the police or embassy staff
  8. Arrange trauma counselling after the trip

Your trip leaders should be trained to deal with this eventuality, so follow their lead unless they are the person involved, in which case the above points will help you to deal with the situation.

Plan 10


© Published here courtesy for the Trail-Smart online training program –