The Wilderness First Aid Committee is responsible for the development and administration of a local first aid training process that has been very successful for the Chapter. By using volunteer instructors, who have been professionally trained as Wilderness First Aid (WFA) instructors, and by using local facilities, we offer our members the highest quality WFA training available, at a reasonable cost and in formats convenient to their lifestyles. Our primary goal is to increase the number of people who have been trained in WFA, and who are therefore, better able to assist in emergency situations. Our instructors have been certified as WFA instructors by the Emergency Care and Safety Institute. The course is an official collaboration of the Wilderness Medical Society and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. You do not have to be an AMC member to take one of our WFA courses; however, to take a course at the member rate, you must be a current AMC member.
What is Wilderness First Aid?
Standard first aid practices are generally based on the assumption that help will arrive shortly, and that the patient will be out of your hands and at the hospital in under an hour. Wilderness First Aid training intends to prepare you for the medical situation that arises where there is no ambulance, no roof or walls to provide shelter from the elements, your supplies are few, the wait for help is unknown and moving the patient a short distance might take hours. While teaching you how to deal with these situations, WFA also teaches how to avoid the problems that cause these situations through increased awareness.
Wilderness First Aid is not a course in herbal or naturalistic remedies. It is not a course in wilderness survival or backcountry skills such as map reading and shelter building. The course is based on modern emergency medical care practices modified and expanded for backcountry environments and focuses on patient care and prevention.
The Wilderness First Aid Course
The ESCI Wilderness First Aid course is an intense yet fun journey through the world of wilderness emergency care and is recommended for all outdoors people. It is a 2-day, 16-hour course (8 hours/day, generally 9am to 5pm). It covers a full range of situations, from scrapes and blisters to life-threatening emergencies. In addition to wilderness medical care, participants learn accident scene management and how to communicate effectively with the outside world. (Or, how to give yourself the best odds that the rescue party turns up in the right place with the right equipment the first time.)
There is a 2-year Wilderness First Aid certification available to those who successfully complete this course. There are no prerequisites for this course. However, it is recommended that participants take a separate Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) course. Contact your local chapter of the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, National Safety Council, or your local hospital or first aid squad for more information on CPR courses.
How to Become a Volunteer WFA Instructor
The WFA Committee is looking for a few good EMTs/Ski Patrollers to train in and instruct the Wilderness First Aid course for the NY-No. Jersey Chapter.
- Must be an AMC member.
- Must hold certification as an EMT or NSP/OEC Tech (or higher) and hold a professional level CPR card.
- Candidates should have significant pre-hospital emergency medical experience (ALS or BLS).
- Candidates must have significant outdoor experience. For example: hiking, backpacking, canoeing/kayaking, backcountry skiing, technical rock/ice climbing, etc.
- Teaching experience is helpful but not necessary.
- Candidates must be willing to take our 16-hour training course to become WFA certified.
Please contact the WFA Chair, Richard Dabal, at WildernessFirstAid@amc-ny.org or 201-414-0801 (before 9 PM ET).
If you would like more information, or if you are interested in volunteering to become a WFA Instructor, please contact the Wilderness First Aid Committee at WildernessFirstAid@amc-ny.org.