Jul 16, 2013 at 1:56 am #1305439
Has anyone completed the Wilderness and Remote First Aid class offered by the Red Cross? If you have, I would be interested in hearing what you thought about the class. I can't find this class offered within 250 miles of my home base. But am very interested in taking it.Jul 16, 2013 at 7:31 am #2006615
@sckuhnLocale: Mountainous Ohio
I have taken the course twice – required for certain Scouting activities. The course is VERY instructor dependant!!! Unlike the current presentation format for American Heart CPR and First Aid courses (which is almost all standardized video and practical application – removes instructor variable almost completely) WFA is entirely lecture and practical application, no standardized video, so your experience will completely depend on the teaching ability of the instructor.
I would suggest looking for a NOLS or other type course, the Red Cross course in my opinion really lacks substance beyond common sense and basic first aid.Jul 16, 2013 at 10:43 am #2006699
@scubahhhLocale: White Mountains, mostly.
You might want to checkout SOLO:
The AMC approves and often offers their courses.Jul 16, 2013 at 11:03 am #2006703
I haven't taken the Red Cross Wilderness course but I'm skeptical. I took the WFR 5 day course with Wilderness Medical Associates and I can't praise them enough. Not necessarily cheap but you'll receive quality instruction.Jul 16, 2013 at 11:16 am #2006706
Good point. I just finished the Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED class yesterday and went in person for the skills portion of the class. The instructor contradicted the training program a couple times and also told me I was wrong on a couple of things only to come back later and tell me I was absolutely correct. Based on the comments below, and your suggestion of NOLS, I may have to save my vacation time for something A LOT more comprehensive. I was looking to be certified somewhat immediately as I will soon be testing and applying for the state park police. I'm just trying to get all my ducks in a row and build my resume a bit. Thanks for the advice.Jul 16, 2013 at 11:21 am #2006711
Rick – this looks rock solid. The wilderness first responder course seems more desirable. I might be able to schedule something during my spring break in February/March, but looks like the WFA course is available in Philadelphia next Month, which would be great.Jul 16, 2013 at 11:42 am #2006717
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
The National Ski Patrol Outdoor Emergency Care course is l–o–n–g! (about 60 hours minimum for classroom and more for practical instruction and exams).
**Homeland Security recognizes it as equivalent to EMT 1.
We attend refreshers for 1/3 of the book every October. But every winter as a patroller I get to use my knowledge quite a bit. This experience in dealing with accidents and sudden illness is invaluable. You become very familiar with accurate asessment, proper treatment and PAPERWORK! :o(
BTW, I'd recommend the NOLS course or WFAR and not American Red Cross. The comments regarding uneven instruction are correct for almost ALL ARC courses.Jul 16, 2013 at 11:45 am #2006719
Ian – this looks great too. I would have never found these resources if it weren't for your suggestions.Jul 16, 2013 at 11:49 am #2006720
Thanks Eric. As a skier, I have the utmost respect for ski patrol.Jul 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm #2006763
@michaelgrosseLocale: Northern California
I am not sure if Bobbie gets back east or not, but this lady is one of the go to instructors on the West Coast:
michaelJul 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm #2006789
I taught some of the first WAFA courses (a 52-hour version) at the Berkeley Red Cross in the mid 1980's, and yes, it is hugely dependent on to the instructor and to some extent on the other students.
Ideally, they would offer a standard AFA for life guards and whoever NEEDS that cert as easily as possible and a Wilderness AFA for whoever WANTS that emphasis. We offered the two courses in parallel and made it clear that WAFA was more work than AFA. So those trying to skate by went AFA and people who wanted more depth and the emphasis on longer-term care (a few days instead of an hour) went with WAFA – a couple that was going to sail across the Pacific, backpackers, Scoutmasters, snow campers, etc.
Having more motivated and experienced students lets an instructor do more with a class and raises the level of the practicals.
One quick metric is, "How many hours of practical sessions will they do?" and "How many practical sessions are in full make-up, role-playing, with triage followed by treatment?" We'd put students through the wringer so much that an actual multi-car accident or your basic compound leg fracture on the X-C trail seemed easy in comparison.
Done well, the RC WAFA can be very good – way, way beyond the goofy simple 8-hour first aid course. Done poorly, and someone is just reading the AFA book to you.
It is fair to ask their (not sure of the title but something like) Program Director or whoever supervises the instructors, who the best fit as an instructor is if you really want to be pushed and learn a lot. The paid staff back in my day would have (1) known and (2) given an honest answer to that question.Jul 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm #2006799
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
David, when you taught, did you teach them how to do emergency surgery on the trail with a Swiss Army Knife?
–B.G.–Jul 16, 2013 at 4:26 pm #2006838
Back in the day when it was "stone knives and bear skins" to quote Spock?
It has come up in two forms: changing recommendations about snake-bite treatment and stopping students from describing how to perform an emergency tracheotomy with a pen knife based on a MASH TV episode.
In the great scissors-knife debate, I'm way over on the scissors end of the spectrum.Jul 16, 2013 at 4:38 pm #2006842
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
As I understand it, NOLS' Wilderness Medicine Institute is pretty much the gold standard. Their Wilderness First Aid course (16 hours) is excellent and is being offered nation-wide through REI as well as a number of other sponsors. IMHO, everyone who gets out in the wilds would do well to take it. If you are a trip leader (especially for youth groups) it would be worth-while taking the more advanced Wilderness First Responder course, even if WFA is the only one required.Jul 16, 2013 at 4:40 pm #2006845
That's good to know its offered through REI, there are 3 Rei's in Michigan all 2 hours from me so staying in a motel overnight would not be a big deal.Jul 16, 2013 at 4:46 pm #2006848
They have one 90 minutes away on 26/27th October.
Must get myself and my buddies booked on that :-)Jul 16, 2013 at 4:50 pm #2006850
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
NOLS' schedule for WFA classes is here:
I noticed one in Ann Arbor in October. You may find one closer or earlier if you look harder than I did! Also, calls to your nearest REI (if it's not Ann Arbor) might stimulate them to schedule one. Portland, OR has them almost every month.Jul 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm #2006854
I will call them tomorrow.
Ann Arbor is the nearest one to me, also its the nearest town which has decent outdoor shops, restaurants and anything cultural.
Where I live at the moment Olive Garden and other chain eateries are considered haute cuisine (I just cook at home) :-)Jul 16, 2013 at 7:40 pm #2006920
>"so staying in a motel overnight would not be a big deal."
Or the increasingly popular budget approach: Sleep in your vehicle in a Walmart parking lot.Jul 16, 2013 at 7:44 pm #2006922
If I had van I would :-)Jul 16, 2013 at 7:47 pm #2006924
I don't think this counts a thread hijack, since the OP should be interested.
I have for years recommended Medicine for Mountaineering by Wilkerson:
$26, as little as $2 for past editions.
As being concise, serious, and not afraid (like the Red Cross is) to address prescription drugs and minor surgery. But, do any of you have a preferred book for remote first aid study and reference? I haven't cracked a first aid book for 18 years since I started hanging with so many MDs (including the one I married) – I just ask them, or skim the medical journal articles myself – so I haven't kept on books/apps and which is currently the best.Jul 16, 2013 at 10:00 pm #2006970
@rexLocale: Central California Coast
Besides MfM (I need to replace my 30-year-old copy), I like the WMI/NOLS WFR book, but you must take the course to get the book.
Next best – WMI Wilderness Medicine Field Guide.
And their pocket WFA guide goes into my first aid kit, along with a copy of the Field Guide's "focused spine assessment" page.
Some of the jargon might not make sense if you haven't taken WMI/NOLS courses.
— RexJul 17, 2013 at 12:16 am #2006988
This really looks interesting Mary. I wonder if my college would let me supplement this course instead of doing an internship. Hmmm. It's certainly intensive enough.Jul 17, 2013 at 12:18 am #2006989
I have to say this is a really great forum. You all have broadened my horizons! Thank you for all of the information.Jul 17, 2013 at 11:32 pm #2007290
@rexLocale: Central California Coast
You might find the Wilderness Medical Associates books more like Medicine for Mountaineering – the WMI books I recommended above barely mention OTC drugs.
If you dig deep enough, they have a pretty extensive Rx & OTC drug list with Advantages, Disadvantages, Precautions, and Administration, under "The Expedition Medical Kit – Example Medications":
I have no first-hand experience with WMA or these books, just some Google-fu.
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