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Old 11-03-2011   #11
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
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The WFR course is perhaps the most informative, interesting outdoor course I've ever taken. It's expensive to keep up though, so I take the guide-required 1st aid/CPR course every year. I do re-read the WFR and SRT books a couple of times each before each season, so I'd like to think I'm more prepared than the average bear. I'd love to take a WFR again, but it's expensive and courses are few and far away.

That said, I think everyone should take WFR and SRT, if not for the simple reason that they are interesting and MIGHT save a life.

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Old 11-03-2011   #12
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
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I have taken several WFR classes over the past 5-6 years, but lately haven't seen any offered in my area. As a nurse, I have a lot of basic knowledge, but injuries & illness in the backcountry is a whole different ball game. My last River Rescue class was about 10 years ago. SRT/River Rescue classes are also hard to find around here. I was signed up for a class two years ago (WRI I think), but it was cancelled due to not enough people signing up.
On a side note..... the American Heart Association CPR guidelines have changed dramatically in the last two years. If you haven't taken a CPR class in the last two years, you REALLY need to update your skills.

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Old 11-03-2011   #13
North Bend, Washington
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: May 2009
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Randaddy and Cataraftgirl- thanks. You just confirmed something I've been wondering. Although it's a great idea to have WEMT or WFA training and SRT/WRT (and I think everyone who runs rivers regularly should have it)- the options for seem prohibitively expensive and time consuming for most.

So what middle ground can be reached to get more people trained/updated? More flexible/increased classes? Less intensive (time and material) classes? Less expensive/subsidized/scholarship avail classes?

As someone who personally has quite a few certs in several areas- I know it's pain in the ass to keep myself updated. I have to for my job so I do. But for the average Joe/Jane- how in the hell are they going to want to go through that much expense/time/effort unless it's easier for them?

So how to make it easier is the next question.....

(And yes- CPR guidelines have changed across all agencies in the last few years. Just updated all my instructor materials last year.....can you say- $$$$$ PIA)
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Old 11-03-2011   #14
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Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 06
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 450
Took SWR this past spring...having now taken it I can tell you it is fundamentally as important as your drytop!

If you have not taken SWR you have NO IDEA what you are missing in your rescue repertoire, and that my friends is the problem.

Here is one example: scenario 1, friend pinned in middle of river Day 1 of class...almost 10 minutes to figure out how to rescue him = he died. Day 2 - same scenario rescue time down to LESS THAN 2 MINUTES! = lived or at least had a chance!

You want to start running the "shit", how about when you look down stream and see rescue possibility so you can step it up instead of just seeing "the line"

i also have WoFR but feel it is less important...most people know what to do in our type of risk acuity and for the most part we are only hours from help. Can't hurt though right?
I've never boated before, but I have posted a lot on Mountain Buzz!
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Old 11-03-2011   #15
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
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I belong to a local outdoor club that has a rafting division. In the past the club organized the river rescue and WFA/WFR classes. They were weekend events that were reasonably priced. At that time we had a couple SRT certified instructors (local fire dept. & university outdoor program) in the club who volunteered their time to do these weekend classes. The WFA/WFR classes were done by the university outdoor program folks and by NOLS. In the past few years the club has tried to organize more of these classes, but hasn't had enough interest to get them going. The last time I signed up for a class organized through the UofU outdoor program, it was cancelled and consolidated with other class that was unfortunately planned for a weekend when I had a Deso trip going.
If there were more weekend river rescue mini-courses offered I think more folks would be inclined to take them as opposed to the weeklong more intensive & expensive SRT courses. I realize these mini-course weekend classes wouldn't be as in depth as the full-on SRT classes, but at least it would give folks a chance to learn some basic skills or refresh what they've learned in the past.
My two cents.
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Old 11-03-2011   #16
Plano, Texas
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 15

I'm an OR RN in a level one trauma center, did a WFR course and agree that some form of first aid training is far better than no training at all. If you can find 1-2 weeks a year to run a river, why can't you find 3-5 days for WFR training? Guess it's a matter of priorities or a profound belief in one's own sustained good luck.

Interesting thing about wilderness emergencies is that they seem to rapidly fall into one of two catagories; events that are probably survivable and those that are not. Basically, your goal is to stabilize the patient and prepare them for transport. All and all, avoiding problems is better that having to deal with them. However, after having had numerous episodes of drunken foolery in my past, I'm in no position to criticize anyone else.

One last word, liability; anyone out there know what finally happened to that guy in California? There was a lady in a car engulfed in a flash flood, guy saved her life by pulling her from the car & hurt her back in the process. California courts decided he could be sued in spite of the CA Good Samaritan Law. So it goes...
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Old 11-03-2011   #17
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Mesa, Arizona
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I have to agree that it is imperative to train! Almost everyone I boat with has some sort of training. And usually their skills cross over different areas: WEMT, RN, WFR, SWR, et al. Sometimes we are not far from professional help but a lot of times we are. Let's face it, when you participate in activities where you can get a table that is designed to be used as a backboard, you are doing some fairly extreme activities!

One of my favorite sayings, " Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it".

Try too keep the black side down and be prepared!
Whether U Think U Can, or Think U Can't; U R Right!
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Old 11-03-2011   #18
Ashlandistan, Oregon
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 64
So what middle ground can be reached to get more people trained/updated? More flexible/increased classes? Less intensive (time and material) classes? Less expensive/subsidized/scholarship avail classes?

Kendi thanks for bring this topic to light once again. I am an instructor at Southern Oregon University in the Outdoor Adventure Leadership department. I have chosen to be certified to teach the 16 hour Wilderness and Remote First Aid and CPR through Red Cross, which we offer here. Ultimately for the reasons discussed by others,time and cost are big prohibitors for many. I believe the current cards cost a total of $30 for CPR/AED and WRFA through Red Cross. I have seen courses offered to the public at $125 for WRFA.
I also instruct for Rescue 3 International and offer SRT 1, Rope Rescue and, Advanced SRT. I am a firm believer in education and training, but practice and real life experience are the invaluable components to the equation of successful rescues.
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Old 11-03-2011   #19
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Riverdale, Utah
Paddling Since: 1977
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Posts: 228
Anyone know of any swiftwater rescue classes happening in the next month?
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Old 11-04-2011   #20
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
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Originally Posted by Kendi View Post
So what middle ground can be reached to get more people trained/updated? More flexible/increased classes? Less intensive (time and material) classes? Less expensive/subsidized/scholarship avail classes?
To start, free SWR for Mountain Buzz members!

Really Kendi, I think there are probably as many classes out there as there is a demand for. A WFR offers the 5 day with homework in advance or the 9-10 day traditional course. $600 is probably an appropriate price for either, given the level of expertise to teach it. I'd love to see regular WFR classes on the Front Range, it seems like every time I look the course is in Durango or some other dump.

As for less intensive classes, it seems there is almost a continuum from basic 1st aid/CPR all the way to Paramedic - you can really choose how far you want to go in wilderness medicine, so I'm not sure what you mean here. Less time and material = a lesser cert. Of course I would love to see scholarships outside of the NOLS/OB world. Maybe they're out there, but I'm poor and I've always had to pay.

By the way, can anyone give me some information on becoming a Wilderness First Aid instructor? How about a SWR instructor? How many classes will I have to take for that?

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