Wilderness and Remote First Aid, CPR, AED certification is 18-20 hours of intense training packed into two or three days. As a leader of High Adventure treks with Scouts, I am required to take it every two years. Last weekend was my 3rd time going through the course and I learn something new every time.

Classes cover simulated emergency scenarios, decision making and treating medical emergencies in the wilderness or remote areas when calling 911 isn’t an option. I would highly recommend this training for anyone who spends a lot of time in the outdoors.

IMG_2852We had high tech dummies that lit up when compressions were sufficient and allowed you to breathe into to them to make CPR more realistic.   Treating the sucking chest wound was a big hit, along with impalements and spinal injuries.  But my favorite new thing was learning how to make a stretcher out of two long sticks and two jackets.  This video is way more involved, but you get the point.  We were able to carry a fairly big guy around on just two fleece jackets!

IMG_2846Participants will receive hands on experience, props and are challenged to play out and treat assigned emergencies as realistically as possible.  Ow!  There’s a stick in my wrist!

IMG_2847Right before I survived these horrible wounds kayaking (yes, that’s vomit), I managed to drag a 200lb man out of a ‘burning tent’ in his sleeping bag (the same guy later died then came back from the dead to help me after an explosion!)

Bottom line, having a first aid kit when you are out is super-important, but knowing how to improvise and not panic is also a valuable skill to practice. Specifically, learning all of the ways to make a bandage, splint, evacuate and patch people up with common hiking and backpacking supplies is pretty cool.

Rule number 1, try to avoid getting hurt in the first place.

If you are interested in getting some training, check out Active Source, REI, NOLS or Red Cross for local classes. The Red Cross also has a free first aid app that Is handy in case you need a reference quick!

Be careful out there!

~WP

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