This past weekend SMU Outdoor Adventures hosted a Wilderness First Aid course. This 2-day course is offered through the National Outdoor Leadership School’s Wilderness Medicine Institute. The 25 person course included a rather diverse group of participants. Several travelled from Houston or even as far away as Oklahoma for this course. Our up-beat and well-qualified instructors were Asa Pape and Jacob Wallace, who WMI sent to facilitate the course travelling from Montana and Seattle. One of our administrators, Albert Mitugo, participated in the course in order to re-certify his Wilderness First Responder. SMU OA Staff Members Connor Flynn, Mandy Trexel, and I also earned WFA certifications this weekend.
I really enjoyed the structure of the course. Each lesson began in the classroom setting, with one instructor introducing the topic. Once they had explained the topic and shown us the skills, we moved from the classroom setting to a hands-on approach. We were expected to put the skills into practice, which was a very effective teaching style. It gave us an opportunity to understand the material and to work the practices into our muscle memory. As the saying goes, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
This was also where our instructors had a little fun. About half of our course took place outside, working with a partner who pretended to be injured. Some of these “patients” where quite convincing, especially covered in fake bruises, cuts, and scrapes. In fact, one or two passersby stopped to try and help because they thought we were actually injured!
Over the course of the weekend, we learned basic emergency protocol for emergency situations, including how to assess a patient, take vitals, clean and dress a wound, create a splint, tape a sprained ankle, deal with dislocated joints, treat a burn, and much, much more. We learned the signs and symptoms, treatments, and prevention of conditions such as altitude sickness, heat exhaustion, anaphylaxis, hypothermia, and shock. Before we left, they showed us how to prepare a good first aid kit. They also gave us a chance to see and purchase some WMI merchandise at their little, traveling mini-mart, which several participants greatly appreciated.
All-in-all it was a fast-paced, intense two days, but we all had a great time, learned a ton of valuable information, and are now Wilderness First Aid certified!
By Jordan Lee.