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Discussion Starter #1
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.....:rolleyes:
 

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Training

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 this..as 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 ;)
 

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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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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.

Alex
 

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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.

Dan Caldwell
Rapid Media TV Guy
 

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Hi,

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.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter #10
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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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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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.
KJ
 

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Discussion Starter #13
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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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?
 

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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.
KJ
 

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WFR/CPR/SWR/ACLS/ETC.

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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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!
 

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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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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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