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Wilderness First Aid, How long is the cert good for?

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OK, so I see they have a WFA course on the calendar finally.  It's about the only adult training left, that I'm really interested in taking.... & our training chair has been pushing to get some folks trained anyway.

 

How long is the certification good for?

I did a bit of searching and came up blank.  Didn't look too hard, but figured this could be a discussion anyway....

 

I wouldn't mind having this training for personal reasons anyway, and to help the troop....but I won't likely be doing many high adventure BSA outings in the short term just based on my son's age.  I'd hate to spend the money and time, only to have it expire before I start in on the fun trips!

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Mine is good for 2 years. The certification and instructor were from Solo, in New Hampshire, and the course was put on by council. The cost was $150. CPR was offered as well for those who needed it for another $50.

 

It was a fun class. I can't imagine I'll use it much with cub scouts, but I enjoyed it, and knowledge is always a plus.

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$95

CPR is a prerequisite

Yikes.... only 2 years. bummer

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$95

CPR is a prerequisite

Yikes.... only 2 years. bummer

 

If you can find a train-the-trainer class, you can take the course and become a trainer. This will be a bit more expensive ($150 in my area) BUT you don't need to recert every two years since you are now the trainer. There is some continuing ed and you will need to recert your CPR/AED training cert, but not WRFA.

 

The hands-on sessions are the best. Be sure to ask each course director, assuming you have more than one option. Some are more book based than hands on.

 

If you want another great training opportunity, take your local emergency management agency's CERT program. If you live in the midwest (tornado alley) or along the coast, CERT training is GREAT. Plus, you learn what the "tag system" means.  :D HINT: Keep red or yellow tags in your bag to affix to your body.  ;)

Edited by Col. Flagg

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WFA is BSA taught in my area ARC dropped it.  I am not, nor will I get WFA training and spend that kind of money every 2 years.  I get CPR/AED/First Aid training for free every two years, so I'm good with that.  Having talked with the WFA people I asked what the big deal with WFA was over regular First Aid.  They do things a bit differently.  For example they teach tourniquet because it is a last ditch effort to save a life after all else fails to control bleeding.  The CPR is a waste of time,   No one can do CPR long enough to do any good and by the time medical arrives for extrication, the survival time is pretty much all gone.  I can assure you that the CPR being taught and the first aid taught is nothing like the level of CPR/First Aid given to entry level medical like First Responders from the fire department.  When I took the CPR class a few weeks back, the instructor asked if I had had a CPR class before and I said it has been many years, but when I was I was American Heart Association CPR Instructor.  She said, that makes sense, your technique is a bit different, than what American Red Cross teaches.  I asked if it made a difference, she said for your level, it was over-kill, for the person taking the class it is no longer taught to the technique I am at.  She wasn't all that impressed with WFA either.  About all it teaches is to help the patient endure a longer wait period for medical help.  Broken leg?  No big deal, unless it is compound with massive bleeding, you'll survive.  Treat for shock. and then wait.  Heart attack?  No AED?  Do your best, but even then unless help arrives in the next 15 minutes, things go downhill fast after that.  WFA is more of a legal CYA tool for the BSA.  Out of the 27 CPR calls I was on, I was always expected to take the lead.  I was AHA CPR Instructor after all.  Even with all the O2, airways, and double person CPR, (no AED at that time) we had none survive the trip to the hospital 20 miles away.

 

I have no current certifications other than CPR/AED/FA and just enough knowledge and experience to know what's going to work and what's not.  We were not able to do a Tracheotomy, but if it was our kids, or our family, we knew what to do and how to do it.  We were not trained, nor had the equipment to do a tourniquet, but we all knew what to do and how to do it.  We couldn't give invasive medications, but we all new what an Epi-Pen was and how to "help" the unconscious person give himself a shot.  Nope, I'm not all that inclined to do such things on someone else's kid, but if it were mine?  ... in a heartbeat.

 

WFA?  If BSA is only covering their butts on this issue, then fine, they can pay and provide the training for free.  Otherwise, the kids stay home and the Mrs. and I go and have a great time.

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WFA?  If BSA is only covering their butts on this issue, then fine, they can pay and provide the training for free.  Otherwise, the kids stay home and the Mrs. and I go and have a great time.

 

It's a bit more than just teaching tourniquets and such. If taught properly, you have a chance of saving someone in the wilderness that might not make it if someone wasn't properly trained. In my book, even if it's one life it's worth the money to take it.

 

Sure, BSA's reason might be butt covering. *MY* reason for taking it is to try to keep someone alive who might not otherwise make it if I didn't have the training.

 

I carry a PLB for the same reason. Yes, it cost me $300 and no, I've never used it. But if I am caught in the back country I can open my PLB, pop smoke and direct a med evac chopper to my location to get me out.

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CPR certification is separate from WFA. I strongly recommend SOLO WFA courses.

 

True...but in many they are taught at the same time and cert is good for the same period (two years). For many they simply equate the two together. ;)

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I'm all in favor of taking the WFA training if it only covers that which is beyond the basic FA classes.  Even then the basic FA classes of the ARC don't teach much more than what the boys are picking up in S->FC and FA MB.

 

So, I have 15 years experience in EMT-A (but no longer Nationally Certified), Certified CPR/AED/FA (but no longer AHA Instructor Certified), Emergency Rescue Technician (but no longer Certified), ARC Life Saving (but no longer Certified)......

 

I may have saved more lives than the BSA WFA instructors  So I respectfully ask, what is WFA every 2 years going to help me with?

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EMT and WFA are different worlds, so this is an incomplete answer.

 

EMT training is about emergency care within the Golden Hour. You might treat a patient for 20-45min. With WFA, the ER is hours away. Stabilization is up to you, immobilization of spinal injuries more critical. No collars or backboards in woods.

 

EMT's have the gear on the unit, WFA's may have to improvise splints and patient carry in the field. Self-sticking bandages, duct tape, blood-clotting dressings are in our first aid kits.

 

WFA teaches complete patient assessment ABCDE, my EMT CPR training was just ABC leave the rest to ER.

 

With WFA, you re-certify in 2 years but many take advanced WFA (AWFA?) instead.

 

WFA covers the more treatable wilderness injuries - bug bites, altitude sickness, dehydration, heat and cold injuries...

 

I found it worthwhile, hopefully you will never need it.

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In my neck of the woods:

 

$30 for a BSA CPR class. $65 for WFA. Both tabs picked up by the Troop. Our ARC instructor said the local Red Cross would charge us $300 for the WFA certification. $65 vs $300 every two years is significant.

Scouts must be 14 years old to take WFA. Not sure if this is our instructor's policy or BSA's. She also mentioned the CPR class is almost an exact mirror of the First Aid Merit Badge.

 

My $.02

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If you can find a train-the-trainer class, you can take the course and become a trainer. This will be a bit more expensive ($150 in my area) BUT you don't need to recert every two years since you are now the trainer. There is some continuing ed and you will need to recert your CPR/AED training cert, but not WRFA.

 

The hands-on sessions are the best. Be sure to ask each course director, assuming you have more than one option. Some are more book based than hands on.

 

If you want another great training opportunity, take your local emergency management agency's CERT program. If you live in the midwest (tornado alley) or along the coast, CERT training is GREAT. Plus, you learn what the "tag system" means.  :D HINT: Keep red or yellow tags in your bag to affix to your body.  ;)

hey, that's an interesting twist thanks for the tip, might look into that one!

 

and I agree about the hands on.  I've sat through so many 1st aid classes and certs through the years....but I never feel I get much out of them.  The best was a community 1st and and cpr class I took once, an all day thing.  The good about was the teacher was a fairly young EMT paramedic.  He told lots of war stories and really mentally put you there..... as in really how hard do you have to hit a baby on the back to dislodge something they are chocking on....  you can read about it and even practice....but not of that is real.  I feel like i was as close to real as possible without doing a ride along....

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For those of you in the D.C. area, wildsafe.org runs a FANTASTIC WFA/WFR program, it's a bit pricey but i've spoken to several who have taken 'cheap' training and the experience is nowhere near as good.  The two guys who run the program are both Eagle Scouts.  I took their course in May of 2015 and am retaking it with my boys in June.  The instructors evenly balance classroom and hands-on to ensure you get to practice what you learn.  Our final 'graduating' scenario in 2015 involved three campers who had been attacked by bears, complete with impalements, compound fractures, burns, and lacerated abdomens.   Lots of fun (and blood!)

Edited by BobWhiteVA

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