Wilderness First Aid ala Cubmaster


This weekend I tool the Wilderness First Aid class through REI and Wilderness Medicine Institute in Portland, OR.  It was located at the Audubon Society of Portland.

I am still a Cubmaster and Cubscouts don’t go to Philmont or do high adventure.  So, why did I take it?  I took this class since we do not do high adventure.  Well, several reasons.  First, I like to be prepared.   Knowing how to respond is better than NOT knowing.  I took First Aid and CPR in December 2010.  (Need to re-certify).  Outside of these classes, the last real class I took was in 5th Grade, which was 1978.  My Dad was on the Red Lodge Ski Patrol for 10-12 years when I was growing up.  I also believe even earlier too.  I was always the victim during the on-hill trainings.  So, I picked up a few things here and there.

Being a Cubmaster, and being out the Scouts, I am charged with either safety.   Also, in our Pack we have now held two First Aid Pack Meetings.  Once each year.  This helps with next year’s planning.

So, I am not really trained in First Aid and how to respond.  With these trainings, I am now MORE prepared on how to respond and help.    I took away several key items that I know will help me if I am faced with an emergency.

I know how to approach an emergency scene and those injured and not become one.  I know how to do a patient assessment, what to look for, what to ask and how to do it.  The First Aid/CPR class that I took at the Red Cross taught me the basics of what to do for various injuries.  A lot of that came back during the weekend.

However, WFA while focusing on some of these aspects, worked to get me  to realize about Evacuation, Mobilization and Spinal care.   We learned how to move, when to move and why.  We worked in teams of two, 8 and sometimes solo.  We realized that Urban response is minutes to hours.  While Wilderness is hours to days for evacuation and response.

The Instructors showed us that a lot of what we bring into the backcountry with us, is very usable.  Sleeping Bags, Trekking Poles, Tarps and Thermarests.  We talked about the First Aid Kits for Backcountry compared to Urban.

The scenarios that we were put through were very enlightening.   Since this blog is about Scouting, this was classic EDGE Method.   Yes, I sat in class and saw what the Instructors did.  They used us victims to explain/show others what the issue was.  Then we went out and did it.  Afterwards we did a 360/debrief.  Yes, it was just like what Boy Scouts is like.  Cubscouts is a little different since there is a bit more hand holding.  (Lumping Tigers to Webelos II together).  During these scenarios, I realized that I did not remember all of what was taught.  I goofed up a lot, but I was able to stop, refocus and continue.  My partner was there to help as well since we switched off.  It was a learning experience all around.  Made me realize that practice practice practice is a great thing.  It felt really good to be the student learning something that I had no real clue about.

The laceration that is pictured on here has a bandage from OpSite.  There is another brand called Tegaderm.  It is a waterproof, but breathable see-through bandage that can last for seven days.  WMI has a similar package with the strips in there to help close a wound.  It’s a great thing to have since you do not need to undo dressing in some cases to look at it as you would with gauze.

I did go into this class thinking that I was not right for this class and that I needed others before this.  I was wrong.  There were people in there that had no experience and wanted to take a class to those who are Scoutmasters and those who are recertified for the Wilderness First Responder level.  It was a good group.

The real funny part is that I learned that a fellow Beaver was wait listed for this class.  He got on the same weekend at the Red Cross course across town for $100 less.  That is the only downside to this weekend.  From what Jerry wrote and what we talked about after the first day,  each course was staffed with excellent instructors and material covered was great.  Jerry needed the class since he and the Troop are going to Philmont.  Read his account.  I fully agree with what he says as well.  It’s a great 16 hours of instruction that will help you when called upon.

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One response to “Wilderness First Aid ala Cubmaster

  1. Hi, its such a great pleasure to read a post as awesome like this. Thank you for sharing.

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