Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lookin' for a head injury...

I've been searching far and wide for a head injury. Or a broken femur or maybe some altitude sickness. No, no I'm not going nuts, I just wanna practice my new skills.

Huh? Let me explain.

Last weekend I went to the REI in Spokane, WA and took a 2-day 16 hour Wilderness First Aid class taught by the Wilderness Medicine Institute of the National Outdoor Leadership School.

No, I'm not a backpacker, a mountain climber or back country river guide (although I met people in the class who were). I'm just me. A gal who wants to know how to save her butt in a wilderness medical emergency. Maybe my family member's butt...or even the butt (or tibia, or ulna) of a stranger.

I want to know how to help, how much I'm capable of doing with limited supplies and when to "evac or not evac" (that is the question). The class taught me all that and I feel empowered now with knowledge and confidence.

The course was about 50% classroom lecture and 50% realistic outdoor scenarios. I, in the rescuer role, was unleashed outside to find my patient. Patient found, I sized up the situation, performed a comprehensive patient assessment (including spinal assessment) and decided what actions should be taken.

I learned how to bandage sprains, splint possible fractures, dress wounds, stabilize possible spinal injuries, and transport patients. I found what was essential to put in my first aid kit, how to reduce dislocations and how to take vital signs. It was a fast paced, lively class!

I may never need this knowledge in the wilderness, but I'm prepared if I do. I encourage you to learn these skills too.

It didn't hurt a bit!

(Photos are with permission and courtesy of: WMI staff of NOLS, Lena Conlan and Brad Christensen.)


penni Thursday, September 30, 2010 5:09:00 PM  

From now on, I travel with you!

SouthernSass Thursday, September 30, 2010 5:10:00 PM  

Good for you! Now I know I will be in good hands one day when I come visit you. :)

clairz Thursday, September 30, 2010 5:13:00 PM  

Fascinating stuff! Good for you.

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