Snake bite compression bandaging (demo only – patient should be sitting down)

Saturday 22 February 2024: Snake Bite Compression Bandaging Practice – S/E.  What do you do if a snake bites you on the butt? Join qualified Wildlife snake handler and educator Allan Donnelly on a relaxed walk in a Canberra Nature Park. During a break, Allan will talk us through his snake bite protocol. We will then split into pairs and practise compression bandaging (not on a butt!) and immobilisation/being the patient, under his supervision. For CBC leaders only. Bring your snake compression bandage with you.


From Garmin Connect (MAP66i) – Distance: 3.74km | Climb: 120vm (Elev Corrections Enabled) | Time: 1:00 moving + 2:36 of stops = 3:36 | Grading: S/E; E(5).


View photographs here.

gpx file

Download the gpx file here (of little relevance to the training).

Track Map

Here’s where we went (of little relevance to the training).

Track Snake Bite Compression Bandaging Practice

Trip Report

th walking wounded in the party and Allan, our trainer, having just returned from 16 days on the Port Davey Track and South Coast Track in Tasmania, a short walk to a suitable location was chosen.

On arrival, a comfortable rock was chosen for the patient/dummy/me.

The first thing Allan covered was foot care, particularly toenail cutting. I’ll pinch the words Linda penned on the CBC Facebook page. “Toe-nail cutting is a misunderstood art. Cut them to follow the shape of the toe – NOT straight across. Then file away any rough edges. Invest in a solid pair of toenail clippers; scissors or fingernail clippers are not strong enough.”

Foot care | photo Cynthia B

Allan then went through his first aid kit, with particular emphasis on blister prevention and management. He referenced Rebecca Rushton’s web site and supplies, which I have previously used.

Some first aid kit contents | photo Cynthia B

“Part of Allan’s first aid kit. The thing that looks like soap is a fire-starter (hexamine) tablet, sealed by Allan at home in a vacuum pack. The slim metal thing next to it is handy for repairing the arms of reading or sun glasses. The ankle support sleeve turned out to be useful on Allan’s recent Tassie trip to help keep a blister patch on a heel, through rain and mud.”

For the third training stage, Allan first demonstrated the use of a snake bite compression bandage. You can review Allan’s snake bite protocol here.

Start of snake bite compression bandaging | photo Linda G

“Sit the patient down. Wind the compression bandage around the location of the bite. Wind upwards towards the shoulder – promptly because you are in a race with the venom.”

Snake bite compression bandaging (demo only – patient should be sitting down)

Hold the bandage roll like a snail as it is applied. Stretch it until the rectangular markings on the bandage form squares. Minimal overlap of the bandage, as overlaps double the applied pressure.

We then formed pairs and practised bandaging each other, under Allan’s eagle eye.

The final part of the training was a remote area scenario. Moi was the patient, so no photos. Bitten on the ankle whilst collecting water at a campsite (wearing crocs of course) by a brown coloured snake. A leader was appointed to coordinate the party members. Actions included:

  • apply snake bite compression bandage
  • monitor patient and circulation
  • determine GR and activate PLB
  • decide whether or not to send some party members out to report situation (not sent, scenario had incident at 3pm, sunset 7pm, longer than 4 hour walk out)
  • set up fly over patient
  • record notes of the incident. Acronym used was SAMPLE
    S = signs and symptoms
    A = patient allergies
    M = patient medications
    P = patient previous medical history
    L = last oral intake (food, water)
    E = event history.
    This information should be written down and provided to paramedics when they arrive.
  • leader to allocate other tasks to party members eg. make a cuppa, set up tents, roster to monitor patient.

The first scenario complication was that the patient needed to urinate. Use a cup, a billy. If not suitable, which is more important – moving the patient or sitting in a puddle of wee?

The second scenario complication was that the patient fainted. Still breathing but unresponsive. The point here was that a critical new situation overrode the ‘keep the patient still with snake bite’. So the patient was moved to the recovery position and was monitored closely.

We debriefed. Some returned directly to cars. Others of us walked a little loop to Farrer Hill for views, off the side and handrailed the power lines back to electricity substation and so to our cars.

Hugely valuable training! Many thanks Allan.


13 walkers – Jenny A, Cynthia B, Peter C, Andrea C, Allan D (leader), Linda G, Laeli H, Craig L, Noelia P, Sandra T, Ana V, Tim W, me.

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