2012 WFA Class

Submitted by: Crista Wakefield

Wilnerness First Aid Class Dodge Park

It was the first really warm and sunny weekend in May and the trees and flowers were in full bloom in Dodge Park with the river running by. It was the perfect setting for blood, heart attacks, bee stings, snake bites and broken bones. Those were just some of the potential issues that we learned how to deal with in the Wilderness First Aid Class. The Class was taught by Abi from Sierra Rescue and assisted by Julie, Tanika, and Pat.  Abi and her assistants were very knowledgeable and personable and made sure that every one had a good experience. I have taken several first aid classes in the past and this one was the most hands on, informative, and relevant one that I have taken. It was great to learn the differences between back country and front country first aid.

What I appreciated most about the class was how hands on it was.   When I arrived, Friday afternoon, I found people being rolled around on the grass and soon discovered that the class was learning the proper way to roll an injured or unconscious person.  The rest of the day was learning how to assess and treat a victim including using a maxi pad as a bandage. (It was very amusing watching the men with that one.)  The main lesson of that first day was how to assess patients using the AVPU method, looking for signs of awake, verbal, pain, or unresponsive.  I also discovered many more uses for a Sam’s splint than I ever thought possible and will definitely be adding one to my first aid kit.

We were warned ahead of time to bring clothes that we would not mind getting fake blood on and that was a fair warning. Most of the weekend was spent with scenarios where we were teamed up and one person would be the victim and it was up to the other s to try and save their life. By the end of the weekend I had severed my femoral artery, broken my ankle, been hit in the ribs with an oar, had contusions on my forehead and arm, suffered from over hydration, been stung by bees and bitten by a snake. In short we had the opportunity to practice what to do in nearly any situation that might come up. At times it was a little unnerving but mostly I was impressed with the way my WFA class members reacted to the situations and used level heads and deductive reasoning to know what to do. The instructor and assistants were available to answer questions and gently guide us in the right direction when needed. Overall I feel much more prepared to be out in the wilderness and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn these skills.