(Last Updated On: August 2, 2010)
I’ve been talking about taking a course in Wilderness First Aid now for about four years. Being a teacher, summer is usually the opportune time to take such courses. But, for the past few summers something has always come up. I just haven’t been able to make my schedule jive with the dates of such courses. But, this summer, I actually scheduled my summer around this Wilderness First Aid course.
Many of you have probably heard of WFR (Wilderness First Responder) courses. These courses typically last a week or so and are usually well over $600 in price. Courses like this are great because they are able to go in-depth into wilderness medicine and diagnosis, and they spend a great deal of time playing out scenarios. At the end of a course like this, you earn a WFR certification. However, most of us backcountry enthusiasts aren’t guiding or on SAR and a WFR certification is not necessary. In this case, it might be best to take a shorter (and cheaper) Wilderness First Aid course.
The Wilderness First Aid course that I took is also a WFR Recertification class through First Lead. Basically, it’s an abbreviated version of a full WFR course. We covered most of the same material, just in a little less depth, and although we played out a lot of scenarios, we certainly would have had more in a full WFR class. Wilderness First Aid is a lot more than CPR and this course was hugely beneficial to me. I now feel that I have the tools to assess a medical issue or injury in the backcountry and determine just how severe it is – whether immediate extraction is necessary or not and what to do about it in the meantime.
Backcountry skiers are fully aware of the fact that they should have taken courses in Avalanche Safety. But, Wilderness First Aid is not stressed. For too many backcountry skiers, it falls by the wayside. If you haven’t taken a class in Wilderness First Aid or haven’t had one in awhile, do yourself a favor and sign up for one. You’ll never know when you’ll actually have to put it to use.
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