Wilderness First Aid: Why You Should Take a Class

You should take a Wilderness First Aid class because you know that outdoor adventure entails risk. That is true when you are alone. And when you travel with others, you may be the only person who prepared in advance for an emergency.

I know. I understand. I hear yah.

You love spending time in the woods. You long for relaxation and adventure in the grandeur of the great outdoors.

But, how about dealing with an emergency in the middle of nowhere? When there are few resources and limited communication to the outside world?

And you confront a life-threatening situation?

wilderness first aid class with patient

Serious injury in the outdoors is rare. Between 2007 and 2013, 305 million visits to national parks resulted in 1025 deaths. That's roughly 0.57 deaths per million visitors.

Mishaps are avoidable when leadership is oriented to prevention and sensible decision making. Still, accidents occur.

You can suffer dehydration or altitude illness. Heat or cold-related illness. Become disoriented and fall, and all the potential injuries that follow from that.

Do you know what to do when someone needs help and is not in a position to help themselves? If you recognize the need to better prepare yourself, to act with confidence in the middle of chaos, consider taking a WFA class.

What is Wilderness First Aid?

Wilderness First Aid is the most basic level of training in Wilderness Medicine. Wilderness Medicine is the practice of emergency medicine when you are far from a hospital.

In environments that are remote and where circumstances are challenging. For leaders who need training that enables them to make basic medical decisions. And lead those around them through a process of safe emergency response and patient care.

Far more comprehensive than a basic first aid class.

Successful completion requires full attendance. Students are tested to show they retain a significant proportion of the material. It is a two-day class that results in a two-year certification.

Training is available at different locations - on the east coast from New York to North Carolina.

You don't need prior medical training to take this class. Students are normal people who want training that best prepares them to lead others in safe outdoor adventure.

Why Everyone Should Train in Wilderness First Aid

1. Because - Accidents Happen

Serious, life-threatening issues are rare. But minor accidents happen all the time.

Think sprains and strains; cuts, bruises, and insect bites. Burns and hypothermia. These and other common issues are more severe the farther you are from professional care. The potential for more serious accidents is always present.

You can't know in advance what will happen. But effective training can prepare you to confront the worst circumstance.

2. Because - the Myths of Medicine!

There are many misconceptions and myths about first aid.

If you have ever been told to suck the venom from a snake bite - it's a total myth. The increased potential for infection means the well known "cut and suck" snake bite treatment does more harm than good. That is one example of a first aid myth.

Myths, misunderstandings, and assumptions. WFA training will increase your confidence in what you know with certainty. And increase your awareness of those around you who believe they know something . . . that you know to be incorrect.

In other words, you'll gain the ability to make decisions based on what you know, and not on what others wish were true.

3. Because - Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

Practice makes perfect, right?

This is never more true than when dealing with an emergency. You see an injury, it's appearance is upsetting, and your sense of panic increases - you should respond - but instead you freeze. A response that is the opposite of what is needed in an emergency.

The right training can help you remain calm and cool-headed. Orderly. You'll experience the most common problems. Under duress. You will practice thinking and responding and leading others in frightening situations.

4. Because - You're in the Middle of Nowhere

What happens when there's a medical emergency in your neighborhood? You call EMS, and wait for trained professionals to deal with the issue, right?

That's rarely possible in the backcountry. You may be alone, far away from any support, with no phone signal or access to external resources. All the responsibility is on your shoulders (and all the first aid equipment - is on your back!)

Effective and thorough training can be a major confidence boost. The situation may seem overwhelming, but you'll have a solid idea of what to do and in what order to get it done.

5. Because - There is the Stuff You Carry on Your Back

Effective first aid doesn't stop at having the correct knowledge in your head. You need the right stuff, too.

Knowing all the potential of your equipment is a key factor in managing an emergency. Thinking outside the box - so that where others see a sleeping pad . . . you see a splint. Where others see a jacket, you see a sling.

You'll come away from this with a much longer list of things to think about when planning what goes into a first aid kit.

6. Because - There is the Stuff You Carry Between Your Ears

You will develop a new way of thinking. About medicine. It applies anywhere.

Much of this thought process will transfer to other situations. When a doctor explains something to you in their office. When you accompany a relative to the hospital. When EMS personnel care for you at the scene of an automobile accident.

When other bystanders find they can't act. And you become the person who steps up to help those who can't help themselves.

7. Because - You Do the Right Thing

You love spending time in the outdoors. Leading others and introducing them to the challenge of outdoor adventure.

That means you have chosen to introduce others to an environment where risk is part of the landscape.

It comes with the territory.

And you recognize your obligation to have a solid grounding in emergency response.

This is more true for someone new to the responsibility of outdoor leadership. You wouldn't start a new job without the necessary skill and understanding to do it well.

Treat your time as an outdoor adventure leader the same way. Wilderness First Aid is a basic essential of outdoor safety management.

Time to Get Training

Outdoor adventure programming entails risk. Stuff happens.

And training is the most sensible means of developing the skill that enables you to respond.

In WFA you will practice how to handle the most common problems. You'll learn to overcome them when they occur. Even when external support isn't available.

You will learn this: What you carry in your head is as important as what you carry on your back. Responding to small problems before they grow is the way to go. And you will gain skills that are a major advantage when confronting emergencies. Anywhere.

Interested in taking a WFA course? Be sure to check our schedule to learn exactly where and when we can help you reach your goal.

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