Wilderness First Responder

Wilderness First Responder

I have recently finished a Wilderness First Responder course and I found it to be very helpful.
So here’s a little bit to give you an idea what a WFR is or does

Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and Wilderness EMT are job training programs leading to certifications. Based on the Department of Transportation’s First Responder and EMT curriculums, the WFR and WEMT programs integrate wilderness and medical training. By definition, ” wilderness” in wilderness emergency medicine is based on the concepts of:
1.Distance from traditional care or transport – usually one hour or more
2.Environmental concerns such as severe weather, altitude, heat, cold, and depth
3.Improvisation of equipment so as to minimize weight
4.Difficult or hazardous terrain

Wilderness Emergency Care versus Urban Emergency Care

Time and Distance
Wilderness- beyond the golden hour, more like the golden day
Very delayed notification, usually via foot, may take hours
Very delayed response and evacuation time, usually hours

Urban- within the golden hour
Rapid notification, usually via phone to 911
Rapid response and rapid evacuation time, usually within minutes

Environmental Concerns
Wilderness- long term exposure and weather concerns
Dramatic impact on patient care and on rescuers

Urban- short term exposure, weather of minimal concern

Difficult or Hazardous Terrain
Wilderness- frequent, unavoidable rough handling of patient
Rough, uneven litter ride on evacuation
Difficult footing for rescuers
May require specialized equipment and technical skills

Urban- usually minimal and easily controlled with abundant resources to help

Improvisation of Equipment and Resources
Wilderness- have to carry gear on your back
Maximize efficiency to minimize weight
Improvisation of equipment very common
Very limited equipment and access to other resources

Urban- access to modern equipment and a variety of resources

Specialized Skills Not Commonly Used In Prehospital Care

Wilderness- providing long term patient care and team management
Maintaining caloric intake and hydrating patients
Reducing angulated fractures and dislocations
Managing environmental emergencies
Using bivouac and survival skills, expert outdoor skills
Using map and compass; search and rescue skills
Forecasting weather and surviving severe weather conditions
Utilizing technical rescue skills, ropes and knots, water rescue skills

Urban- rare if necessary call” medical control”

The first day of class was full of information. It was more then my brain could handle and then the next day we had to use it for skill scenarios and more information. By day 4 I was getting the idea of things but I ran into a lot of mistakes and missed things. That was exactly the point. The instructors were constantly throwing a curve ball and it worked. By day seven we had the steps down. And the knowledge to deal with most things. In 8 days I learned the patient assessment system, how to take vitals and fill out a soapnote, how to safety move patients, how to manage an airway, How to give effective CPR, how to handle heart attacks, different types of shock,soft tissue injuries, burns, fractures, dislocations, head and spinal injuries, cardio thoracic trams, abdominal and genitourinary trauma, different medical emergencies, seizures,diabetes,dyspea, environmental emergencies, frost bite, hypothermia, heat stroke, drowning, bites stings and poisons, AMS, HAPE, HACE,how to make a splint out of just about anything, how to build a litter and backboard and carry a patient out, and I learned how to treat these things to the best of my ability with what I might have in a backpack out in the wilderness for extended periods of time.

A person could read books on the stuff everyday and not have the confidence to react. It was a satisfying experience that I will not forget about.

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