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Wilderness First Aid: Training Disucssion Thread

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I'd take the course if it's ever offered at a convenient time for me.... regardless if I ever get into a position to need the cert.

 

That's their training, what about their experience?  

 

I was an American Heart Association CPR Instructor.  I taught professionals.  I was involved in 14 CPR attempts and was unsuccessful with all of them.  All of the calls were more than 30 minutes from advanced medical assistance.  30 minutes is a long time.  The longest I ever had to attend to a trauma victim was a car accident in a blizzard.  We managed to get back to the local fire station, but there was no way we were going to make it to a hospital.  One had head trauma and the other a broken back.  We monitored them for 27 hours before we could transport to the hospital and then it was with snow plow escort.  Even then we were in radio contact with the hospital ER but I don't know how much that really helped.

 

Like I said, being book taught and living the situation are two entirely different things.

 

When they went into the field as Wilderness First Responders did they carry more equipment than you will?  And how much time passed between when the injury occurred and they were notified?  First Responders by definition do not transport patients.

 

I'm thinking there's a lot more to the story than what's being said, and maybe others need to think that way as well.

 

However, when all is said and done, I truly hope you never have to use what you've been taught.

 

When I was working on my SCUBA Assist Instructor, I had to take first aid.  Instead of taking the run of the mill red cross type class that I've sat through too many times to count at work, I took what they called Community 1st Aid and CPR.  The difference being the focus on kids and infants, as well as adults.

Through all of the training I've had, I feel that its a step or two better than worthless fro exactly the reasons you mention Stosh.  Too much "book", not enough experience.

This Community 1st aid class was taught by a young paramedic, hands down the best class I've had.... not because I gained any real hands on experience, but because at least my teacher had some.  He told lots of "war stories" that really helped to put things into perspective.

@@Exibar

 

I have no doubt that for the newbie the training is fantastic, but many years of experience, most of which was on the fringe in rural areas, I do know that time is a major factor in the patient's survival.

 

EMT-A's are trained to scoop and go, stabilize on the way.

 

EMT-Parametics are trained to stabilize and then bring the patient in.

 

2 days worth of waiting?  NOBODY knows how that's going to work out very well.  

 

......

 

I watched a great documentary a while back on Air Force Pararescuemen.  I'll bet even they wouldn't really be as skilled at this off grid stuff since most of their practice seems to be stabilize enroute, get them back within the "golden hour"

 

And this discussion reminds me of the "Goat Lab" that I read about in a Navy Seal medic's biography once..... now that's a hands on class, as close as you can get without the real thing!

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CPR - Don't even bother without an AED....

@@Stosh, Is it really this bad? If I am two days from help, and I have a drowning victim who isn't breathing, is it really hopeless? Obviously I'm going to try CPR anyway, but are the odds really that bad?

 

I thought that sometimes the CPR can get a person's heart working again, and (at least in drowning incidents), rescue breathing is often successful? Is that just wishful thinking?

Edited by Rick_in_CA

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I have been reading this thread with a lot of interest.  

 

First, let me state I am an EMT and EMT instructor.  Although being an EMT is part of my job it is not the primary duty.  I do work in some pretty remote areas where advanced medical care is two to three hours drive away (if you are lucky).  I have been doing it for close to 20 years and often find myself dealing with all sorts of medical incidents several miles from any road.

 

I do teach WFA for my council/district and would like to comment on a few items.

 

Several posters have mentioned liability and the fear of getting sued.  Most states (if not all) have passed "Good Samaritan" laws with the intent of shielding individuals from civil liability when assisting others.  This includes CPR and First Aid.  The laws vary state to state, however the ones I have read generally mention that they are protected when working within the scope of their training and doing what a "reasonable" person would do.  

 

Regarding not doing CPR unless an AED is available, I respectfully disagree with that.  While I do agree that the chances of survival are GREATLY increased with an AED, the patients survival is not zero if a AED is not available (low, yes but not zero).  AEDs have only been commonly around (to the public) for the last 15 years or so, but CPR has been taught a lot longer. Do you think that CPR would have been taught at all if there was not some sort of success rate?  If you were four or five miles up a trail and a scout collapses with no respiration or pulse, would you, in good conscious, stand there and watch him die without attempting resuscitation?  For what it is worth, CPR is not part of the WFA curriculum and is a completely separate course.  

 

Someone mentioned that they were already an EMT and still had to take a WFA course to go to Philmont.  That is unnecessary as they do recognize other certifications in lieu of WFA.   http://www.philmontscoutranch.org/~/~/link.aspx?_id=9A449C9904F443179D28F7A55C944B74&_z=z

 

 

Part of the reason I became a WFA instructor is that I was not satisfied with the local guy that was teaching it (also a BSA instructor).  I helped teach a couple of classes with him and it became apparent that he was too expensive, had no real world experience and spent way too much time on certain subjects and not enough on others, unfortunately I believe this is fairly common.  Part of WFA should be to address the injuries that you will likely to encounter.  The biggest issues you will find on "wilderness" setting is sprained ankles, heat and cold injuries and issues such as diabetes and allergic reactions (all of the environmental issues).  This is not to say you don't cover other issues such as diving issues, or spinal injuries as these are also extremely important.  BSA WFA course is only 16 hours long.  This is just scratching the surface of what could be taught.  It also is not feasable to make it a 40 hour course either as how many people can give that much time (and are that interested).  

 

Several posters have commented that the cost is too expensive.  Keep in mind that individual training centers set their own rates.  I personally charge the cost of the books, certification cards, and training materials (gloves, bandages etc..) and a patch (because everyone loves the patch)  I do whatever I can to keep the cost low partly because I believe in the idea that everyone needs to be capable and also due to the fact that I cannot accompany my son's troop on every outing.  I make no profit and any return goes back into the program.  With that being said, a comparable course taught by a chain retail outdoor sporting goods store is close to $300.00 for the same course. 

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Bradne,

 

#1 WELCOME TO DA FORUMS!

 

#2 Unfortunately not every council has an individual in their council to put on the course, let alone charge it at cost.  I wish my council offered the course.

 

#3  THANK YOU FOR OFFERING THAT COURSE AT COST!!!!!!!!!!!!! If the process to get a WFA course approved and conducted is anything like doing AHA courses, it is a pain to set up.

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He told lots of "war stories" that really helped to put things into perspective.

It's the war stories that make you think and keep the info in your head.

My EMT instructor 40 years ago was a Navy Corpsman who had some time in country.  The proper use for a towel clip?  To attach the tongue to the bottom lip thereby ensuring a clear airway so you can move on to more important things.

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It's the war stories that make you think and keep the info in your head.  My EMT instructor 40 years ago was a Navy Corpsman who had some time in country.  The proper use for a towel clip?  To attach the tongue to the bottom lip thereby ensuring a clear airway so you can move on to more important things.
 

I don't teach that in this level of training, however a safety pin is also used for the same purpose. Oddly enough, some kids pay a lot of money for some guy to punch a hole in their lip and tongue for decorative purposes now a days.  Seems like a lot of unnecessary pain.  

 

Regarding the "war stories", I actually bring this up when I teach.  While war is one of the worst things that humans can do to each other, every war brings new medical advances on treatment of injuries and illnesses. Things like tourniquets have come back to be acceptable now due to the wars we have been fighting for the last 14 years.  

 

 

 

 

#3  THANK YOU FOR OFFERING THAT COURSE AT COST!!!!!!!!!!!!! If the process to get a WFA course approved and conducted is anything like doing AHA courses, it is a pain to set up.

 

 

Right now I am affiliated with ECSI for the WFA.  They are pretty easy to work with.   I believe they have the current agreement with BSA to provide learning material at a discount, however you can receive training from any education center affiliated with any of the other training organizations listed on the BSA website.  I have been associated with a couple of different certifying agencies and will withhold comment on which ones are difficult to work with.  

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Regarding the "war stories", I actually bring this up when I teach.  While war is one of the worst things that humans can do to each other, every war brings new medical advances on treatment of injuries and illnesses. Things like tourniquets have come back to be acceptable now due to the wars we have been fighting for the last 14 years.  

 

 

The Tourniquets in use in the field today are very different than the common notion of a twisted swath of cloth.  The DoD spent a lot of money to develop a Tourniquet that would serve the function of reduced blood flow without the same degree of damage to the limb.  Unless you have and know how to use these devices, the prior guidance on tourniquet use should remain.

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