Two weekends ago I took the Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course and I truly enjoy the experience. With the increasing amount of activities I do outdoors ranging from rock climbing to snowboarding, high risk factors are unavoidable, hence, knowing how to deal with an emergency situation was on my mind for a while. This course totally gave me what I was looking for.
Here are a few key points for me:
Risk management is still main key of WFA, preventing and reducing chances of a situation from happening. It could mean drinking enough water during a hot sunny day or as simple as changing out wet socks to avoid blister. Many these little things would be considered as “common sense” for experienced adventurers but Rome isn’t built in a day and it starts from the groups up. Therefore, the “guide” or so to say the most experience hiker needs to provide these tips and tricks for the rest and lead them to a pleasant journey with a safe return. This key also includes recognizing symptoms before a situation happening or getting worse, such as headache with pale cold skin (signs of heat stroke).
Second key would be the management of the situation. When encountering a situation, it is very important not to add more causalities to the count. The person with the most experience should first secure him or herself in order to manage the situation at hand. Then manage the rest of the group, finally, the person who is in need of help.
The assessment and the best possible treatment of the patient is the third key. Recognizing signs, how to check for injuries, and keep a record of vital signs. Many hands on skills that is in need to continue practice and review.
The last key is essential survival skills, to sustain life as much as possible. Emergency shelter, making fire, etc. This also relates how well you prepare yourself for the trip. Headlamps, extra batteries, and many essential items which might be considered unnecessary but it could make a great difference in a situation.
I strongly recommend people who enjoy outdoor activities to at least take WFA course and if possible going for WFR certification.