Wilderness First Aid, Silver Falls State Park, November 8-9, 2014


This is an 18-hour Wilderness First Aid course sponsored by the Climbing Section of the  Chemeketan outdoor club at Silver Falls State Park November 8-9, 2014.  The schedule runs from 8 am to 7 pm on Saturday and 8 am to 5 pm on Sunday.  The course will cover first aid skills and decision-making using realistic emergency medical scenarios as might be encountered on a climbing, hiking or backpacking trip in the Cascades.  This will be a fun, intense, hands-on course that includes simulated-terrifying outdoor scenarios in dark, cold, wet, chaotic conditions. (See pictures from last years course.)

Instructors, coaches, "patients" and hysterical bystanders
  1. Mike Niemeyer, Wilderness Advanced-EMT (Bio)
  2. Dorothy Brown Kwaiser, Wilderness EMT 
  3. Dr Mike Gabe, MD
  4. Dr. Mark Olson, MD
  5. Michael Gurley
  6. Bryon Snapp
  7. Christopher Salaz 
  8. Joanne DeMay
  9. Mary Francis Jackson
  10. Alicia Niemeyer
  11. Chonteh Rivertree
  12. Terry Walstrom
Students (*=Also attending October 24th CPR class.)
  1. Milan Apeltauer*
  2. Susan Currie Sivek
  3. Marcus Sivek
  4. Forrest Gill
  5. Frosty Gill
  6. MacKenzie Gill
  7. Karen Blocksom
  8. Teresa Gaulin  
  9. Zdenka Apeltauer*
  10. Brittany Kenison   
  11. Christene Bennett *
  12. David Danskey*    
  13. Katie Woodward
  14. Mike McKinney 
  15. Marilyn Holler 
  16. Heidi Sunderman* 
  17. Jillian Sunderman* 
  18. Kurt Sunderman* 
  19. Alexandra Phillips 
  20. Sheri Hilgers
  21. Kevin Compton  
  • A State parking pass is required to park in Silver Falls State Park. Passes are $5 a day and can be obtained from a machine in the North Falls parking lot and 1/4 mile from our training location.
  • Must be 16 years of age or older
  • Must have the ability to lift 40 lbs 
  • Must have current CPR certification. (I'll be offering the American Heart Association, Adult-only CPR AED class Friday night October 24th from 7 - 9 pm for $20 at the Drakes Crossing Fire Station  for anyone who needs it.) 
  • Be familiar with the Mazama Rope Litter (We will cover this and other rope liters in detail in class)
  • Provide your emergency contact information to Mike Niemeyer.
  • Sign a class agreement and release form and mail it with your registration fee (or bring the form with you to the first class if you are registering within 1 week of class.) 
  • You will need a watch that displays seconds and a headlamp.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Wear/bring warm clothes and a waterproof shell layer or rain pants/coat. 
  • Bring a towel or rags to dry yourself off as we come in from outside scenarios.
*********WFA 2014 PICTURES*****


  • Cost is $45 for Chemeketan members and residents of Drakes Crossing Fire District, $56 for all others. These fees cover the cost of expendable first aid supplies students will use in the training. All trainers are volunteering their time.  Students will need to purchase the textbook on their own (see options below).   You are on your own for meals.  A State Park parking pass is also required ($5/day).  Payment  is required to confirm your reservation with checks payable to the "Chemeketans".  Email Mike Niemeyer for additional payment instructions.  
Course reading: 

I've reviewed about every wilderness first aid book out there and have not settled on a clear winner as students vary in their background and your own first aid goals.    This is a highly interactive course that will have you diving into things right away.  To get the most out of it you will need to have read one of the texts listed below prior to the first day of class.   We will have a brief quiz the first day to help reinforce your reading assignment.  Here are some of the text's available and benefits/limits of each.

Wilderness first aid books for the lay person
  • A newer publication (August 2013) that is both waterproof and low-cost is "The Wilderness First Aid Handbook by Grant S. Lipman available at REI and on Amazon at   This text is a good resource with current first aid and CPR protocols. $9.49, Its a packable size at 5 x 7 inches. Also available as a Kindle e-book. 
  • Backcountry First Aid, Buck Tilton.  This book is $5.36 from Amazon .  It’s also available at most outdoor stores including REI.  It is is 128 pages small in size (4 x 5 inches), very inexpensive, and covered the basics needed for a weekend wilderness first aid course. It also fits nicely in your first aid kit.  The 5th edition was published in 2007.
  • Wilderness Medicine: Beyond First Aid Paperback – November 6, 2012 by William W. Forgey M.D. , $12.19, a larger reference book at 288 pages and 9 x 6 inches. It is a well reviewed book by a respected wilderness medicine expert. 
For the medical professional
Online reference materials:

Silver Falls State Park has cabins, and RV and 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. 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.  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.

Carpooling from Salem:  
  • A State parking pass is required to park in Silver Falls State Park. Passes are $5 a day and can be obtained from a machine in the North Falls parking lot and 1/4 mile from our training location.
  • If there is interest I recommend Salem folks meet at 6:30 am Saturday and Sunday at the State Motorpool on airport road and leave at 6:45 am.  But lets confirm this via email to make sure there is interest in this option. 
  • We will be at about 1550 ft elevation.  (See links below for Park weather and webcams).
Other helpful web links:

  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, Slings and splints– includes practice. 
  11. Sprains, strains, 
  12. Foot care and Blisters 
  13. Miscellaneous: rings, eye and dental emergencies, CO Poisoning
  14. Evacuation (Hypo-wrap and evacuation techniques, demo, Litter building demo)
  15. Burns
  16. Shock
  17. Environmental Illness (Cold Injuries, Heat Injuries, Altitude Illnesses)
  18. Sudden Medical Issues and bites
  19. Difficulty Breathing and chest Pain
  20. Unconsciousness (non-traumatic)
  21. Allergic reactions, Bites and stings, Ticks
  22. Diarrhea
  23. Organizing a rescue (Assessing rescue needs, Making an effective 911 report, 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.