Due to the difference in conditions in the wilderness as compared to the general work or home environment, wilderness first aid courses must cover emergency medical attention in different settings with different conditions and hazards. Types of injuries that occur in the wilderness frequently differ from those occurring in traditional settings. Courses are available for the casual outdoor enthusiast, for wilderness tour guides, and for others who act as first responders in remote locations.
Courses for those who work or travel in less remote locations are not as intense as courses for those who venture far from traditional help. Basic wilderness first aid courses teach emergency treatment as the first response to an accident or injury before medical assistance arrives. The typical course explains patient assessment and exam, taking vital signs, documenting the injury or illness. Short-term initial care for spinal cord injuries, head injuries, and shock is covered. Stabilization of fractures, dislocations, and sprains that occur in the outdoors is taught. Extremes of cold and heat experienced outside can bring on hypothermia or heat stoke. Lightning strikes, insect and animal bites, and plant toxins are more frequently experienced out of doors. Without cell phone reception or emergency care minutes away, those who hike or guide tours must be able to care for the patient for several hours or more. The care given during this time can be the difference between full recovery and lasting effects from the event.
Advanced courses are appropriate for river guides, mountain climbers, survival school personnel and others who work in remote locations. Due to the distance from traditional emergency medical responders, the time spent caring for the patient can lasts from days to even weeks. Intensive knowledge of all body systems, evacuation techniques, long-term care for fractures, spinal cord and head injuries, and full treatment of shock victims are some of the subjects covered.
All wilderness first aid classes teach the use of materials on hand for emergency situations. Elaborate first aid kits are rare in the wilderness. Splints and braces can be made from materials such as snowshoes, skis, straps from backpacks, and padding from packs or clothing. A quick response and creative use of available materials are essential in the wilderness.
Source by Michael Morales