I had an amazing time this weekend. I spent my entire day Saturday rolling around in the dirt with strangers! I took a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course sponsored by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and REI. It is a two day course geared towards providing some education to folk who spend time outside and may encounter hazards, or perhaps folk who lead small expeditions, trip leaders, scout leaders, camp counselors and any type of outdoor explorers! It is a hands-on experience helping you to prepare for the unexpected. It was right up my alley.
Saturday was spent learning the ABC’s and 123’s. They taught us a protocol using numbers and letters which makes it easier to remember what it is that you’re supposed to be looking for and doing when you enter a scene that may need some first aid. Here are the basics:
1 – I’m #1 – I come first, if I put myself in danger, then who will help me?
2 – What happened to YOU? – Assess the scene before entering, look for a mode of injury – how did it happen?
3 – I must protect me – Safety first kids. Wear gloves, protect yourself.
4 – Are there any more? – Is this the only victim, or are there more that need help, assess the priority.
5 – Are they dead or alive? – Though I hope to never use this, I can see the relevance.
Airway – check the airway to make sure it is clear.
Breathing – check to make sure the patient is breathing.
Circulation – check for pulse and do a blood sweep.
Decide – does the patient’s spine need to be mobilized? If so, decide to keep it mobilized or move on.
Expose – expose all injuries.
We learned how to do a full body exam and what to look for. We learned how to roll a patient over on the ground if their spine needs to be mobilized. It was exciting and scary. They set up different scenarios for us to approach and examine. The instructors were quite amazing. I highly recommend a course in Wilderness First Aid if you do any backcountry traveling.
I learned quite a bit, and though I feel more confident this evening than I did this morning, I also feel more hesitant. It has been eye opening. I hope I get a badge I can sew to my outfit!