Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
I love the outdoors and enjoy solo hiking as well as hiking in groups. So I was psyched when the Northeast Peak Baggers Meetup Group offered the SOLO WFA (Wilderness First Aid) certification course hosted by JUMP, Inc! I signed up and paid my online deposit right away to ensure my place. I was also happy that the course was held less than an hour's drive from me. I quickly checked the SOLO (Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities) website and started to worry when I read the long list of course topics that would be covered over two days. It was an extensive list but when I got to the class that first day, it was evident I'd have no problems.
The SOLO WFA course was designed for the outdoor enthusiasts, providing skills and knowledge in case an emergency should arise. As a WFA provider, medical emergencies must be quickly evaluated, and care administered as the closest and fastest medical response can sometimes be hours if not, days away. The application of Wilderness First Aid can make the difference for an injured patient chances of survival and comfort.
Taught by John Kascenska of Kingdom Adventures Mountain Guides, John was very organized, thorough and funny. Course manuals were handed out first thing on the first day. There were 19 students in the course and they ranged from the early 20's to 55+! All were outdoor enthusiasts who loved an array of outdoor sports from hiking, biking, backpacking to skiing.
The SOLO WFA course was hosted by JUMP, Inc (Just Understand My Potential) at the Leominster Boys & Girls Club. The clubhouse is situated in a former private school on conservation land, with some parts of the surrounding grounds still under construction.
The course is 16 hours and over the course of two days we covered topics such as Response & Assessment, Musculoskeletal Injuries, Environmental Emergencies & Survival Skills, Soft Tissue Injuries & Medical Emergency. There were in-class lectures, role playing and outdoor rescue exercises throughout the two days. To say that this course is jam-packed is an understatement.
We worked in groups on many exercises, repeating them several times while alternating practicing on all the members in our groups. I especially enjoyed working outside on simulated rescue exercises.
The Hypowrap - Human Burrito!
Transfers & Carries
Lifting & Moving
Under the microscope
One of the most important skills I learned was improvising. For example, I learned how to create splints using the materials I had in my backpack as well as with materials found in the outdoors. I also had the opportunity (pleasure?) to play the "patient" during several of the exercises.
Improvising leg splint (3)
My right leg in a splint
I've also learned about what to pack and have updated my personal first aid kit to include Cravats (Triangular Bandages), Burn Gel, SAM Splints, Rescue Key Shield (disposal CPR Mask) and Nitrile Gloves.
The CPR/AED Certification Course (American Heart Association) was also available so I signed up for it. This was taught after the first day of the SOLO WFA course. We learned how to administer CPR and were given direction on how to use the AED (Automated External Defibrillator).
Lunch was included with the price and provided by Bill Spacciapoli of JUMP, Inc. Bill cooked a mean vegetarian Chili and brought in Panera Bread sandwiches for the first day. The second day Bill brought in Pizza. Coffee, bottled water and snacks were provided for both days.
Bill S. in the kitchen
At the end of the second day, John passed out our SOLO WFA and AHA-CPR/AED certificate cards. We also filled out a feedback form and he suggested Chinook Medical Gear for supplies for our First Aid kits.
Overall, this was an outstanding course! I highly recommend this course especially if you spend a great deal of time outdoors. This was an inspiring two days and I anxiously await for the Advanced WFA! It was a pleasure working and learning alongside Allison and Anne of The Northeast Peak Baggers Meetup Group, as well as the other students. Special thanks go to John Kascenska and Bill Spacciapoli for an exceptional weekend of learning!
Links of Interest:
SOLO Wilderness Medicine
American Heart Association Heartsaver CPR/AED
JUMP, Inc (Just Understand My Potential)
Kingdom Adventures Mountain Guides
Northeast Peak Baggers Meetup Group
Chinook Medical Gear
One Woman, 48 4000-footers (Allison's blog)
SoapNote iPhone/iPad App
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