Saturday, February 18, 2012

Take Wilderness First Aid!

Me (in the black coat) helping a teammate tend the injured in a scenario

I had the opportunity last weekend to participate for certification the Wilderness First Aid course. This intense 10 hour a day, two day course focused on delivering first aid to those in wilderness and urban disaster settings when help from rescue personnel are not available. I originally decided to do this as it was a requirement for those seeking possible ridgerunning employment. But afterwards I saw how valuable this is just for the amount of time I like to spend in a wilderness setting. There were ideas shared on various medical issues that could benefit those we meet in a trail setting. I also added a few things to my fist aid kit.

New Additions to my First Aid Kit (adding to what I posted on the First Aid Blog):

a small plastic syringe to irrigate a wound - weight prob less than an ounce. After seeing hikers with infections that went systemic from cuts, it makes sense to use this to irrigate wounds
Various gauze pads to clean wounds with, bandaids of course
Pieces of moleskin, not just duct tape
safety pin
small film canister of hibiclens - soap of choice (can get at a drug store) for cleaning wound; they are not big on antibiotic cream which was new for me. Says it attracts dirt, but I carry a small tube anyway
Carry a watch (I do anyway. Good for checking heart rates and for noting time of injuries, etc for rescue and others)
two triangular bandages - good for lots of first aid, weight negligible

several ziploc bags for stream water and / or ice 
a small tick removal device
Other Medicines besides the ones mentioned - 

some salt - for sun issues and rehydrate - look for the restaurant packs
some sugary jello (maybe have in food bag, just be sure you hang it) - good to rehydrate, hypothermia and diabetic issue, liquidfied
some aspirin - 325 mg, for heart issues
benadryl for allergy reaction (it can happen to anyone at any time) - and consider getting a prescrip for epipen from dr
Tylenol (sometimes Vit I but Tylenol is the drug of choice)
some small ziplocs to put on water and / or ice packs for injuries

Why Take Wilderness First Aid? (From MEDIC SOLO Wilderness First Aid outline)

Accidents can and do happen in rural and wilderness areas (including the 'wilderness' of concrete rubble in an urban disaster), and all-too-often members of a group are not capable of dealing with the emergency. Not only does this lead to improper care of the patient, but it also endangers the entire group. Studies have shown that many recreational accidents are preventable, and that improper care of trauma can compound even the simplest of injuries. Through our involvement in emergency medicine and rescue efforts, we at SOLO feel there is a need for training for all outdoors people - training which stresses preparedness and prevention; training which encompasses all phases of off-road emergencies; training which focuses on extended care issues in prolonged transport situations. Very few first aid programs actually address the issues of providing emergency care in a rural, wilderness, or extended care setting.  In this course, lectures and discussions are interwoven with practical work and problem-solving exercises. The emphasis is always on hands-on experience. Scenarios are a major part of this training. 

Here is what is offered:

Hands-on learn how to save life and limb during the critical minutes or hours before ambulance / hospital hand-off.   This 16- to 18-hour course is designed for anyone who may find themselves away from immediate help, having to rely on their own skills to help others survive and thrive in case of injury or illness, before help arrives. The learning blends classroom instruction, hands-on rescue scenario practice, and Q&A, resulting in SOLO Wilderness First Aid Certification (valid for two years).  Open to all, this course is recognized by the American Camping Association as the minimal standard for camp counselors -- both day hiking and overnight hiking leaders, and is approved by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

To find out more and where a class will be held in your area, check the SOLO website.    

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