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Wilderness First Aid: Training Disucssion Thread

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I had a meeting at the council office this past week, and while I was there I was talking to a group of training chairs from several of the area districts that they all went to training recently where they learned that starting in 2016, EVERY troop will be required to have 2 people with Wilderness First Aid certification.  I know this was required for Philmont etc, but it sounds like starting in 2016 it will be required for all outings.  

 

 

First of all is this true? Has anyone else heard this?

 

If so, can we all complain that this has not been communicated to anyone and it is only 3 months until 2016?   

 

Will there be a huge number of more WFA classes?  They are only offered 2 times a year in my area, how are all these leaders going to meet this new requirement?

Edited by dhoover

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Sounds more like either a nasty rumor or else it is a 'trial balloon' to gauge reaction. I wouldn't sweat it until it happens.

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If BSA wants to keep boys from going out into the woods for adventure, this is how to go about it.

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Not sure if it is a national requirement or not, but having one WFA trained adult is required for all backcountry outing in our Council.  I can't imagine any parent letting their child go on a backcountry adventure without having someone appropriately trained and I can't imaging being responsible for the safety of a group of boys without having that training.

 

We have at least 4 adults in our Troop that have WFA training -- typicaly two of them go on every outing - backcountry or not.

 

I'm up for recertifcation in 2016 and I suspect that my son will also get certified... well because someone need to take care of me if something happens.

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Interesting. I wonder if they will allow alternate certifications to suffice, i.e. EMT, RN, PA, MD, DO, etc to qualify.

 

My questions are the following:

 

1. IF this is the case, is it the result of outside agencies' first aid courses being little more than calling 911?

 

2. IF this is the case, will BSA revamp the First Aid requirements so that basic First Aid is spread out among the S-T-2-1 requirements, and First AID MB focuses on Wilderness First Aid?

 

3. IF this is the case, how are councils going to implement classes to aid volunteers in taking these classes? I've seen these classes in the $150+ range, and can tell you I cannot afford to take that class one time, let alone every two years.

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I was happy when they offered WFA at summer camp this year, so I was able to get my certification done. It still cost me $50 or so, plus every morning for the week.

 

If the BSA is going to require it, they will need to make it easy and affordable to acquire it. 

 

Now - I found the class a good one, and I have other standard certs such as CPR and Red Cross First Aid. There is a difference in the material and the approach when you are on the trail vs. within 30 minutes of a hospital or at least an ambulance. We did everything assuming that help was a long way away, etc. This shift in mentality changes how you treat various injuries, etc.

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Let me get this straight.  Summer camp, no WFA, certified leaders?  Boys can't go. .... Yep, sounds like something BSA would require.

 

Adults can't camp 300' away, that's too far to be effective if an accident should occur.

 

I can hear the orchestra tuning up for my Swan Song already.  

 

At one point in my life I was a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician-Ambulance.and state certified Emergency Rescue Technician.  Even after many years in the field (15 years) I think I could comfortably handle any medical emergency that comes my way in the back country?  Snake bite?  treat for shock, send boys for help.  Broken leg, make comfortable, treat for shock, send boys for help,   Seriously people, other than basic first aid we teach S-FC, what is there to know that in the back country one can do without dragging an ambulance down the trail with you?  

 

So, riddle me this Joker, what first aid is necessary beyond FC Training and FC MB will the adult leader need to know before the EMT's arrive?   That information, if any is what everyone is going to pay $150 ever two years to learn.  Yeah, right!

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BSA can't pull this off for a number of reasons. First, there are so few WRFA classes held right now. I live in a major metro area. We have one troop that teaches WFRA 1-2 times a year. There are a few other groups that do but finding their info and getting a spot is tough enough now, imagine if this was mandatory for all activities. They would have to offer ten-fold more classes in numerous locations and multiple times per year. BSA is barely equipped to offer IOLS more than once a year. Now add in cub leaders to this mix.
 

If true this would go down the most poorly thought out idea from BSA in a long while. 

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I have mixed feelings about this. But I can't help thinking that over the years, many people have posted in this forum about things they heard from those supposedly "in the know" at a meeting, or a roundtable, or at the national training center, and some of those things turned out to be true, and some did not. Of course you never know which is which until it happens. I usually prefer to wait until something actually happens before becoming concerned about it.

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What are the Differences in Treatment for Shock between Basic First Aid and Wilderness Training?

What are the Differences in Treatment for Stopping Bleeding?

Splinting a Broken Bone?

Bee Stings?

Snake Bites?

a Hang Nail?

 

Sounds to me like a Case of "Found Another Way to get Money outta Volunteers"

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Most of the camping I see troops (not patrols) doing do not need WFA. All is needed is what Stosh says, because sending someone for help can be done easily and help is not far away. In WFA, Horizon is on point. Help is not nearby, and likely days away. Requiring WFA for an organization which promotes front country large group camping will only perpetuate the fear of the deep dark woods in adults. Soon they will be even to scared to camp in the local park because the trees might drop a pinecone on little johny.

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I have mixed feeling about this as well.  I know that in our area there is a really great Crew that teaches the course regularly and I am happy that the boys take it because for any high adventure they are most likely have to save my life.  Not uncommon for no cell coverage and hours until professional help can arrive.

 

But in order to make it work they need to make it easier to take.  I can see this being yet another hurdle that makes it difficult for troops to do things.

 

It seems hard to believe that they would impose this other than for high adventure trips.

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 I live in a major metro area.

Interesting. I was surprised to see your return and did some reading and found this:

 

eagle77, on 23 Jun 2015 - 8:52 PM, said:snapback.png

  Wrong, they are both men living right around the corner from you or in Anywhere, USA.

 

To which you replied:

"Nope. Not in my town. It's small enough we would know." and later implied that your town had a population of 300, basically a small town in Montana. Did you move since that time? To a major metro area?

Edited by cyclops

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I agree that currently the cost is a significant problem.  We're working with our local fire department to do the training, so hopefully that will bring the costs down.

 

As for the difference between basic first aid and WFA, you just have to read the Scout Handbook or the First Aid Merit Badge booklet.  

 

Under basic first aid, for serious injurie the idea is to stabilize and call 911.  The typical rule is don't move the injured person unless there is a secondary danger (i.e. fire).  For broken bones, the rule is don't touch unless it has broken the skin and then only treat the bleeding.

 

WFA assumes help is not available for several hours if not longer.  Chances are that you won't be able to call 91 and  the nearest road is at least 3 miles away (and it might be a remote dirt fire road).  You may have to evacuate the person.  You may have to align a broken bone to restore circulation.  You may have to splint a broken bone or finger.  You may have to deal with serious bleeding, which if you can't get it to stop results in one les backpacker returning home alive.

 

To make WFA requried for all outings is absurd.  To make it required for backcountry trips makes sense.

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