Wilderness First Aid training, February 25-26, 2012

This was an 18-hour Wilderness First Aid course sponsored by the Climbing Section of the  Chemeketan outdoor club. 
The course was conducted  on a snowy weekend February 25-26, 2012 at Silver Falls State Park a(8 am to 7 pm on Saturday and 8 am to 5 pm Sunday.)  The course covered practical skills and decision-making using realistic emergency medical scenarios (See pictures below) as might be encountered on a climbing, hiking or backpacking trip in the Cascades.  This was a fun, intense, hands-on course that includesdoutdoor scenarios in the dark and in cold, wet, winter conditions.  

Lead Instructors:
  1. Mike Niemeyer, Wilderness EMT (Bio)
  2. Dorothy Brown Kwaiser, Wilderness EMT
Instructors, coaches, patients and hysterical bystanders
  1. Mike Rudy, RN
  2. Jason Wagoner (Sat morning)
  3. Joanne DeMay
  4. Courtney Carlson (Sunday)
  5. Jackie Niemeyer, RN
  6. Dan Harris, MD
  7. Aslinn Adams
  8. Will Vercoutere
  9. Guy Rodrique (Sat evening)
  10. Miranda Yarbrough
  11. Terry Wallstrom
  12. Mike Gabe, MD (Sunday)
  13. David Leikem (Sunday afternoon)

Students Preregistered
  1. Cynthia Vargo
  2. Bryon Snapp (pd)
  3. Amy Dale (pd)
  4. Mark Olson (pd)
  5. Brett Milliken
  6. Simon Boyd (pd)
  7. Theresa Conley
  8. Mary Wandell (pd)
  9. Brad Wood (pd)
  10. Justin Clark (pd)
  11. Sef McCullough (pd)
  12. Ronald Glaus (pd)
  13. Anne O'Rourke (pd)
  14. Mason Smith (pd)
  15. Sara Dinsdale (pd
  16. Janet Russell (pd)

  1. Must be 18 years of age or older
  2. Must have the ability to lift 40 lbs
  3. Must have current CPR certification (Available through the Drakes Crossing Fire Dept if you can't get this elsewhere in time.)
  4. Course Text book Buck Tilton's "Backcountry First Aid" prior to class. See below for ordering information.
  5. Be familiar with the Mazama Rope Litter (We will cover this in detail in class)
  6. Provide your emergency contact information to Mike Niemeyer.
  7. Sign a class agreement and release form and bring the form with you to the first class.
  8. You will need a watch that displays seconds and a headlamp.
  9. Bring snacks and meals for both days (we won’t be feeding you). We will have a kitchen facility available with a sink, microwave, fridge, stove, etc.
  10. Bring a day pack or backpack that can get knocked around a bit – with supplies you’d typically bring on an outing.  Bring an extra thrift-store quality shirt and pants/sweat pants – should you volunteer to be a patient in a scenario. A small foam pad is optional - something for you to sit or kneel on when you are outside assisting a patient.
  11. Wear/bring warm clothes and a waterproof shell layer or rain pants/coat.
  12. Bring a towel or rags to dry yourself off as we come in from outside scenarios.

Cost is $45 (Mainly to cover the cost of expendable first aid supplies students will use in the training.)  Students will need to purchase the textbook on their own (about $10).   You are on your own for meals.  A State Park parking pass is also required ($5/day).  Payment  is required to confirm your reservation.  Email Mike Niemeyer to register.

Course Wilderness First Aid Report form and Checklist - We will be including this form in your first aid kits for use during the class scenarios - its a good idea to get familiar with it before class.  The form should be printed 2-sided and folded twice so the numbered pages open in order.

Course required reading
  •  Backcountry First Aid, Buck Tilton.  This book is $5.95 new from Amazon or a dollar or two used.  Its also available at most outdoor stores including REI.   We selected it because it was small in size, very inexpensive, and covered the basics needed for a weekend wilderness first aid course.  You must purchase and read this book prior to class - we will be giving you a short quiz on the first day of class - just to keep you honest.
Optional reading
  1. For the medical professional: Medicine for the Outdoors: The Essential Guide to Emergency Medical Procedures and First Aid, Auerbach.  If you have a medical background you'll appreciate the information in any of the books by Paul Auerbach, MD.    I frequently use his Field Guide to Wilderness Medicine as a handy desktop reference (I usually have a medical dictionary nearby when I'm reading it).  Also for medical professionals: Wilderness Medical Society Practice Guidelines for Wilderness Emergency Care, 5th Ed. This text is often cited as the standard of care for wilderness medicine.
  2. Other good wilderness first aid books for the lay person: Mountaineering First Aid by the mountaineers - This is a good text for a wilderness first aid course (We used it for this course last year.)  Wilderness First Aid, Third Edition: Emergency Care for Remote Locations by AAOS is a nicely produced and illustrated work.
Accomodations and Carpooling
  1. Silver Falls State Park has cabins, and RVand Tent sites for those who want to stay at the park during the course.  Some students have indicated they might want to share a tent site.
  2. There is no staying in the N Falls lodge overnight (Our training venue).  The N Falls lodge is located in the group camp area but we didn’t reserve that camping option due to expense and limited amenities. The tent sites at the main campground are a few miles south of where we will be but have hook ups, heated restrooms and showers.  The campground cabins are all full as of 2/21/12 but there may be  rooms and cabins in the Silver Falls Conference Center (located within the park).  They have cabins and meals:  http://www.silverfallsconference.com/cabins    You might just give them a call if the reservations link doesn't work. 866-575-8875.
  3. Carpooling from Salem: Meet at 6:30 am Saturday and Sunday at the State Motorpool on airport road and leave at 6:45 am.  Amy Dale will be driving her Suburban.  We may need other drivers.
  4. Carpooling from Silverton: Email Mike Niemeyer if you are interested in this option.  We will leave from Silverton Safeway parking lot at 6:30 Saturday and Sunday.
  5. Given the weather forecast 4wd vehicles or good snow tires may be best. We will be at about 1550 ft elevation.  (See links below for Park weather and webcams)

Helpful weblinks:
  1. Silver Falls Park Weather (NWS)
  2. Silver Falls Current Conditions and webcam
  3. Wilderness First Aid - legal issues
  4. Hypothermia Guidelines - Alaska (This is an advanced protocol for EMS folks but provides a detailed discussion of cold injuries.)
  5. Military Survival Manual (See chapter on "Basic survival medicine")
Course Outline
  1.  Course safety considerations
  2.  Legal, moral and ethical issues in wilderness first aid
  3. Scene survey and scene safety
  4. Initial Patient Assessment and Urgent first Aid
  5. Focused Pt Exam (secondary Survey)
  6. Wounds and Bleeding
  7. Head, neck and back Injury
  8. Chest and Abdominal 
  9. Extremity injuries
  10. Overview of fractures, dislocations,
            b.    Slings and splints– includes practice.
c.    Sprains, strains,
   11.  Foot care and Blisters
   12.  Miscellaneous: rings, eye and dental emergencies, CO Poisoning
   13.  Evacuation
a.    Hypo-wrap and evacuation techniques, demo
b.    Litter building demo
   14.  Burns
   15.  Shock
   16.  Environmental Illness
a.    Cold Injuries
b.    Heat Injuries
c.    Altitude Illnesses
   17.  Sudden Medical Issues and bites
a.    Difficulty Breathing and chest Pain
b.    Unconsciousness (non-traumatic)
c.    Allergic reactions
d.    Bites and stings, Ticks
e.    Diarrhea
17.  Organizing a rescue
a.    Assessing rescue needs,
b.    Making a 911 report,
c.    helicopter operations
Course Philosophy
  • This outdoor class is the place to "Take chances, make mistakes and get messy"(Ms. Frizzle) so you can be prepared for your next outdoor trip, aid other hikers, enjoy life's legitimate messes (i.e., dirt) and avoid unnecessary suffering (i.e. giardia.)
Training Location: Note that you will need a state park day use permit (NW forest pass does not work here) to park at the N Falls Lodge.  You can get these permits at the automated machine in the parking lot at the North Falls trailhead which is about 1/4 mile past the entrance to the group Campsite - if you are traveling South on Highway 214 .  This is also a good reason to carpool.