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First aid without 112


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
What should I do if I find someone who needs help (cannot go on) and I cannot call 112 (no connectivity)?

If we are 2 pilgrims, one helps and one goes on to find/call help.

And if I am on my own?
* Without breathing: breath donation and hoping that someone comes to find/call help.
* heatstroke: sharing water, try to find / build shadow and go on to find help (leave him / her alone)???

How would you decide when to stay and when to go on to find help (if you are only one person to help)?


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
I cannot search for "first aid" because "The search could not be completed because the search keywords were too short, too long, or too common."
Maybe the too-short option is a little bit too strict.
Camino(s) past & future
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Have you done a First Aid course? Always worthwhile.

Going for help is always a tricky decision. I initially learnt First Aid in a winter mountain environment. That has it’s challenges. Assisting the patient, keeping them warm etc whilst someone goes for help (assuming no communications). Sending someone alone to find help is those situations can also be dangerous, sending 2 is better.

But most Caminos are not a ‘dangerous’ environment, depending of course on location and time of year...

Every situation will be different. How long will it take to reach help? How badly does the patients need help? Is it life threatening?

I’m sure @davebugg will have some solid expert input to these questions.

I make sure I have a basic first aid kit with me (+ spare electrolytes). Never run too low on water, and have a working mobile phone. This year we also learnt some basic Spanish that would assist in emergencies. Calling for help, giving our location etc.
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
If you are on a popular route, like the Frances, someone will usually come by frequently. They may have a phone to call 112.

Depending on route, you are usually within a reasonable walk of a cafe / bar.

These concerns can all be mitigated or obviated by:
  1. Getting medically checked over BEFORE your Camiño, when you are home.
  2. Learning basic first-aid, including CPR.
  3. Carrying basic medical supplies, customized to your personal needs.
  4. Learning basic Spanish so you can summon help or ask for a taxi.
  5. Having even a basic, burner phone that will work to summon help.
Hope this helps.
Last edited:


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
Thank you for your tips.

I have a smartphone and want to take it with me.
I thought of areas that are far off... maybe on the Camino Aragonés or the Camino de Invierno where it could take some time until someone else comes and where there is maybe no net / no mobile connectivity.


Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
How would you decide when to stay and when to go on to find help (if you are only one person to help)?
The two situations you outline are good illustrations of the two main cases: stay or go. In the first case (no breathing), you intervene immediately and since the situation is both unstable and life-threatening, you would stay. Send the first bystander for help. Hopefully, someone has a different phone network and better connectivity, because 112 for transport to the nearest A&E is still necessary. In the second case (heat), once you have provided water and a cooler environment, they are relatively stable, and you could go yourself.

OLDER threads on this topic

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