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Old 01-08-2010   #21
castle rock, Colorado
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I think that almost all the ski patrol trainings are just about done. I will have to check but I know there are a few oec classes you can take around denver.

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Old 01-09-2010   #22
ajpz's Avatar
boulder, Colorado
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Originally Posted by SummitAP View Post
ajpz... there are so many things wrong with your post I don't know where to start.
Not seeing it. please help me out here. for the most part, it seems to me that I have posted my opinions; having taken both courses, I have a basis for those opinions. the bit about the tracheostomy is up for attention, and may vary by state laws; but I am under the impression, again from information from school, that as an emt, you are not covered under good samaritan laws if you work outside of your protocol, or cause harm to someone out of negligence. e.g.- if you screw up, you can be held responsible.

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Old 01-10-2010   #23
Fort Collins, Colorado
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Know what to expect!

I just acquired a LMT license through the state of CO and for that certification there was NO tolerance for felony charges. If you check with your license issuing agency they can give you the specifics. The org that offers the class will not care. I took my WFR through SOLO back on the Atlantic coast. It was a great class and I have used my skills 3 times or more since. If you believe you will get your charge exponged you will have no problem as long as this has happened BEFORE you apply for the state/org licensing. Just keep all you paperwork including the original charge/s data.

Good Luck
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Old 01-10-2010   #24
V for Victory
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OK then I'll give you the short break down.

Originally Posted by ajpz View Post
WFR is more information, and more protocols, and the EMT-B being mostly about decision making (should I stay or should I drive them in now?) and proper packaging.
If that's what you got out of your courses, then you didn't learn much. Whether that was the course format, the instructors, or the student, can't say.

WFR is a first aid with an emphasis on improvised care and extrication, care longer than 2 hours, and has an emphasis on decision making regarding whether a patient's injuries require immediate evacuation, delayed evacuation, or rest followed by continuing on an expedition. It is aimed at a guides, volunteer SAR, and recreationists. It should now be an 80-100 hour course based on the new MFR standards. (80 hours old FR standard)

EMT is a higher level of training focused on a more thorough diagnostic process and a better understanding of body systems, pathophysiology, and underlying causes than a first responder curriculum. This is coupled with decision making focused on determining the immediacy of the care needs of the patient, determining the destination necessary, and the level of care needed. It is focused on an ambulance environment and aimed at those wishing to enter the EMS profession (fire fighters, ski patrollers, ambulance crew). It should now be a 160-200 hour course based on the new standards and an additional 24+ hours of clinical rotations (120 hours and 24+ hours on the old standard).

The downside of the EMT is that, once you are certified, you are locked in to protocols that might keep you from performing a different standard of care. e.g. - you can perform an emergency tracheostomy, and be legally defensible under good samaritan laws; but not if you are an EMT. not a likely situation.
Again, either your instructors grossly misinformed you or you weren't paying attention.

Your EMT gives you absolutely NO power to perform special procedures when you are not operating under medical direction, though in some states, it binds you to a duty to act as a good Samaritan if certified by that state. Good Samaritan laws vary by state, but there is a lot of commonality between them.

Cricothyrotomy is not in any EMT's scope in this county. Being an EMT does not allow or disallow you to do it as a good samaratin. Having an EMT or not, you will probably charged with practicing medicine without a license.

Good Samaritan laws allow you to, in good faith, practice basic first responder level medical care up to the level you were trained in and to a standard of your peers without fear of lawsuit due to unavoidable accident. It doesn't allow you to perform surgery, give medications, or be negligent.
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Old 01-10-2010   #25
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boulder, Colorado
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Originally Posted by SummitAP View Post
If that's what you got out of your courses, then you didn't learn much. Whether that was the course format, the instructors, or the student, can't say.
I agree, I didn't learn much (compared to what I think I know now). I do not agree that the learning amount is a matter of fault of format, instructors, or student. These may be your opinions, but they are not fact.

Originally Posted by SummitAP View Post
Again, either your instructors grossly misinformed you or you weren't paying attention.
According to a search from 5 minutes ago, here is what I have found:

The National Registry for EMT-B derives their testing from the US Dept. of Transportation EMT-B Standard Curriculum; it is 110 hours:

For the National Registry statement on felony charges, see here:
NREMT - Felony Conviction Policy

SOLO, the east coast gold standard for WEMT, has a WFR at 80 hours, and the WEMT at 170+ hours; a WEMT= WFR+EMTB. WMI, a popular course in the rockies has a WFR at 80 hours, and WEMT at 180 hours. their websights are here:
and here:

In either WEMT course, the WFR portion is 80 hours. If you subtract that from the WEMT, you are left with ~100 hours. so there is a bit of overlap in information.

I found the extended care of the WFR more challenging/exciting than much of the EMT-B protocols such as intubating, oxygen management, and AED usage. I enjoyed it all, and did learn quite a bit about the basics of emergency care.

As for good samaritan laws, I am not an attorney. I do not know how summitap interpreted my post to mean that an EMTB has surgery within their protocol, if indeed that is what is being said. the colorado law is here:
Colorado Good Samaritan Law

In NH, where I took my course, they told us that if you are Joe 'no-training whatsoever' samaritan, and you are first on the scene and decide to poke a hole in someone's throat to help them breathe (maybe you saw it in a movie), and they survive because of it, you are LESS liable of negligence under good samaritan law than Joe 'off-duty' EMTB who does the same thing; this is because he has training, and was acting outside of his standard of care [and knows better].

If I remember correctly, this topic was instigated by a student posing unlikely scenarios to the instructors. Again, this is highly unlikely, and it is what I was lead to believe. not a fact, or an opinion, just a statement. any attorneys care to comment?
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Old 01-11-2010   #26
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Jumping into this thread a bit late, some good info here, also some stuff where my opinion differs.

I'm a 20 year EMT, 12 year ski patroller, firefighter, and a WFR instructor for WMA.

In my humble opinion the medicine taught in a reputable WFR class meets or exceeds that taught in an EMT. The EMT curriculum suffers because its created by a huge committee, doesn't empower the student to use judgement or diagnose problems, and teaches mostly to the NREMT test. The reason an EMT class is a 110 hours is a bunch of beaurocrats decided that was a good number. WFR at 80 hours? Thats what it takes to take somebody from no medicine to a knowledge level to make good calls on an emergency scene.

If I find myself on a scene in the front country or backcountry I would rather have a newly minted WFR assisting me than an new EMT.

Jobs wise an EMT is a huge asset for patrol jobs, also in some clinics, or if you want to be medical guy for a wilderness program like those for youth at risk.

Most outdoor jobs are thrilled with a WFR and in my experience its acceptance far exceeds that of OEC. The exception would be ski patrols mostly those that are vollunteer or at the smaller mountains. Many mountains have tiered patrols and WFR is the minimum for the lowest level. Vail would be an example. WFR has become the standard in the US for outdoors jobs and is gaining internationally as well.

An EMT can challenge the OEC test and thus get the cert pretty easily, that option is currently not open to WFR's.

If you decide on a WFR just make sure its a good company and maybe even look into the experience of the instructors. There are a lot of folks out there teaching these classes with little or no patient care experience. Most folks here have endorsed WMI, and they are top notch. Also check out Wilderness Medical Associates, we have a pretty extensive schedule in Durango, Crested Butte, and BV and I think our classes are some of the best as well.

Also there's no evidence that in actual lawsuits that advancing your training results in an increase in liability. Also if you talk to 100 big city medics you might find 1 or 2 cases of a save with a cricothorotomy (sp?). Its such a low possibility occurence with high possibility of problems that its not even worth mentioning. Now reducing a shoulder dislocation would be a good example. WFR's are taught to do that, lots do in a variety of situations, there's also lots of stories out there in Good Samaritan situations of EMTS doing it and even no training folks, no-one's been sued yet. I'd be interested in hearing the story if somebody knows of one.

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Old 01-11-2010   #27
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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Thanks for that info Brad.

I have withdrawn from the EMT course, and currently planning on taking the WFR through WMA Wilderness First Responder Course - Colorado Outside 04/11/2009- Wilderness Medical Associates
According to the National Ski Patrol's website there is an OEC course being offered at Eldora next week...I have been having trouble getting in touch with anyone who knows anything about it though.
I am not opposed to getting my EMT certification, especially since it seems to be a necessity for patrol. However, I can wait and take it next year.
In doing this, I should have enough money to take a swiftwater rescue course and get ACA certified this spring, in addition to the WFR.
GARNA’s mission is to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences.
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Old 01-11-2010   #28
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That course will be taught by Darren Stokes, he's a great instructor and is currently working EMS in Chaffee county. He's also got a good backcountry resume, and he used to manage four corners rafting. Its a good course for boaters.

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Old 01-15-2010   #29
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I'll jump in with a few tidbits...

As you likely found, OEC class schedules can be found at NSP:
NSP Member Home
(it really links to the calendar despite it's name)

That said, they typically run late Aug/early Sept to early December. The Eldora class you mention is an EMT bridge class to familiarize EMT's w/OEC protocols. Unless you've already got an EMT (which you don't), you would not be able to take it. On the plus side, they are typically evening classes in order to facilitate most work schedules.

As others have stated, EMT is not a necessity for all patrols, it just depends where you want to go. If you want to do ski-patrol as a volly, and get a skill set that's a bit better suited for backcountry stuff, I'd err towards OEC. That said, OEC still generally assumes that you have a first aid room within say an hour of you and a toboggan within a radio call's distance. It does discuss what to do for longer distances, to some extent.

Having not taken WFR or WEMT (which is tempting) or EMTB I may stick my foot in my mouth, but I suspect that WFR/WEMT will actually go into more detail about how to handle a true backcountry emergency and improvise with what you have at hand than either EMT-B or OEC. This is one of the more annoying things (to me) about OEC (having taken it and taught it) for a backcountry patrol (which I'm on). OEC is good, but it really only devotes one small chapter (appendix A) to backcountry considerations.

To me it really depends on what you want out of the material. If you are planning on going on river trips, backpacking in remote areas, etc and working with what you have, I suspect going for WFR will do much better for you than OEC, or if you want more knowledge WEMT. But if you really want to do ski patrol, than OEC or WEMT/EMT-B would be great choices.

Good luck with whatever you choose.
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Old 01-20-2010   #30
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Originally Posted by ajpz View Post
I found the extended care of the WFR more challenging/exciting than much of the EMT-B protocols such as intubating, oxygen management, and AED usage. I enjoyed it all, and did learn quite a bit about the basics of emergency care.
Seriously? Intubating as an EMT-B? Random dudes performing cricothyrotomy saves? Did you learn anything in all of these classes? I'm not usually into calling people out on the Buzz that I don't know, but lots of your medical information is so mis-guided that I think you need to stop posting on this topic.


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