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Old 11-01-2011   #1
North Bend, Washington
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 476
First Aid/SRT questions for all

Hey guys- as some of you know I teach Wilderness First Aid classes (among other things). I was wondering how many of you all either have some sort of advanced/wilderness aid training or think it's important to have that kind of training. How many of you have/have had SRT or WRT training? Ever had to use it?

It seems to be two basic kinds of boaters in this area- those who are super well prepared/trained and those who haven't a clue/don't think it's important. Where do you fall on the spectrum and why?

Cold weather makes me ponder such things.....

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Old 11-01-2011   #2
ednaout's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 966

I have had my WFR in the past, but haven't had a refresher course in a few years. I think it was useful. I think even your basic CPR/1st Aid refreshers are useful, as staying familiar with basic steps is important, as easy to forget if you don't think about it for a while - use it or lose it - type stuff.
It can be easy to forget even the most basic of training when faced with any sort of medical situation on the river/wilderness.
I definitely used various WFR training skills, at the Gore Race in 2010, when one of the men paddling the shredder was found by Bob C, ("Rockin' Rio on here) face down in the eddy below pirite. Bob singlehandedly paddled the guy to shore and had started the assessment process by the time the rest of our crew paddled over (via raft).
I don't know what training Bob has had, even though I paddle with him often...I should know its good to know these things of your boating buddies....but he definitely initiated the assessment of the man. (Still super psyched to have Bob as one of my paddling buddies!!! He saved that guy's life.)
Everyone involved worked together so well that day to build the litter and safely get him up the scree/talus to the rail road tracks. There was a lot of excellent team work done that day and I think it was, at least, in part to the various levels of training that were on board.
I think at the very least, it introduces potential scenarios to get you thinking about what you might need to do if the shit hits the fan - also might give some confidence that can help to keep you more calm under pressure.

I know my crew and I are planning to take a swift water class together this spring to add to the cohesiveness and communication styles we already have with each other. It will also help us recognize each others strengths and areas that can be improved upon.

Nice topic- I almost forgot this forum could contain such useful information

"You know that old trees just grow stronger and old rivers grow wilder, everyday..."
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Old 11-01-2011   #3
ednaout's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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Posts: 966
Here's the link to that Gore race incident from 2010. There might be some info in there about the training/skill sets people had that were apart of that scene.

Gore Race Accident Report
"You know that old trees just grow stronger and old rivers grow wilder, everyday..."
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Old 11-02-2011   #4
stubby's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 432
I think it's super important to have some sort of training, preferrebly WFR level or higher. I think the wilderness first aid courses are almost too basic. Then, go out and use them as much as you can. Do as many trips as you can and offer help to other groups when the shit goes down.

I'm a Nurse, but also have OEC and spend time ski patrolling in the winter as well. First responder is completely different than my daily nursing work, but the physiology and assessment transfer over. The real value is actually using those first responder skills while patrolling or on trips to give me the experience to handle each subsequent situation better.
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Old 11-02-2011   #5
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SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
Wish the WRI courses were offered in my area at a decent time or over weekends. Most classes I found take a week (40 hours). I work full time and can't afford taking a week off. I have basic First Aid experience, but wish I had more for wilderness private trips.

Definitely important and most boaters should have it... in a perfect world.

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Old 11-02-2011   #6
Haley Station, Ontario
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 82
It seems to me more people need the skills and less people have them. I'm fairly lucky (unlucky really) to have put to use my SRT and WFR training to use too many times. Some were successful some were not but at least there is comfort knowing I did the right things. Heck I'd be happy if people could actually use a throwbag safely (and accurately) these days. Hope more people take courses (and realize that SRT class will help there boating!)

Just my thoughts.

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Old 11-02-2011   #7
Join Date: Feb 2005
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After I'd spent a lifetime doing a wide variety of outdoors activities on my own, with my family and others, I finally took a WFR in my early fifties. For all those year, my residual Boy Scout first aid, and CPR training from the workplace were all I had in my quiver if something unfortunate had happened.

I now firmly believe I should have obtained advanced first aid training of some type long before that -- if not for myself, for my family and friends. If you devote any significant portion of your time to the outdoors, it just seems like a wise thing to do.


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Old 11-02-2011   #8
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Gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 86
My core group that I raft with would be in the over prepared category. I have unfortunately had extensive experience in back country medicine having stitched many folk back together and dealt with several broken bones on river trips. I always carry a very extensive med kit. My wife is an RN and we typically have at least one MD in our group.

Training courses are very important but nothing replaces the actual experience gained by trying to sew someone up at 2:00 am while almost blacked out drunk. The combination of adrenaline and alcohol can not be something trained for in a first aid course but you still need the base knowledge to know how to deal with the situation.

When things happen on the river you learn real fast who in your group is able to pull it together when necessary and who is not...
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Old 11-02-2011   #9
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leadville, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 279
I agree you should have some medical and srt of some sort. Bad things can happen at any time for any reason.
A few years ago on the grizzly creek section of the Co. By the springs I had a buddy drop dead on us for no apparent reason. (I am a paramedic, had a nurse with, and a buddy with no medical experience.) I had my inexperienced friend call 911 as we started cpr.
It took over 30 min for the ambulance to get to us even though we were close to glenwood ( south side of the river it was hard for the medics to get to us via the tracks. Unfortunately there was no saving Manny but without our medical training we would have really panicked and probably done something stupid. (Manny's ascending aorta ripped off his heart, no trauma, a genetic condition.)
That was my most recent time using my medical training, but shows the need for the right training even close to a town.
This season also reminded me I need to refresh my srt, haven't used it in a long time and forget something's. That's another reason to practice and take refreshers every few years
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Old 11-02-2011   #10
North Bend, Washington
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 476
Thanks for the honest answers. Although I'm trained pretty well- it is a bit of a concern for me that if *I* get hurt- who in the hell is gonna help me? (and Brian- moisturizing lotion isn't gonna cut it)

Besides the time commitment of a WFR, EMT or SRT classes- is it the $ that keeps some away? Access to classes? I know that's always a big concern of mine when I'm trying to figure out how to keep my training up to date. Living here in WA- seems like there are fewer options.

Just thinking of ways to get more river peeps more prepared.

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