Wilderness First Aid & Rescue Resources

Keeping Skills Sharp

The old adage, “If you don’t use it, you lose it”, is certainly true. Therefore, we encourage all of our students to feel free to sit in on any of our classes for free, up to the time that their certification expires. Meanwhile, here’s an easy way to keep your rescue skills sharp: run scenarios in your mind. Simply imagine a realistic scenario requiring the skills you’ve learned. Then, walk yourself through the scenario with a focus on what you would do first, second, third, etc. When you come to a step that you’re not sure of, look up that step in the material you received in class, and start over, or feel free to call us. We’d be more than happy to review the information with you. We’ve included a number of scenarios in the “More” section of this website.

In the fire service, we’ve found these exercises to be invaluable.

Safe Excursions

Television programs such as I Shouldn’t Be Alive, have a common theme which runs throughout these near tragedies: simple lack of preparation. The following are a few basic considerations which can help assure an enjoyable adventure.

Solo Traveling

Any sort of wilderness travel by one’s self holds the promise of wonderful solitude, but it also increases the potential for trouble. Consider the following prior to your trek:

  • Have a plan specifying which route you’ll be taking.
  • Share that route with someone you trust, and a time you expect to be back. If they’ve not heard from you by an agreed upon time, they are to call for help. Choose this individual carefully; they could be your lifeline.

Traveling with a group

  • Take the same precautions as listed above, which the group has agreed upon.
  • Know your companions’ abilities and medical considerations, long before you depart. Be sure that differences in individual abilities and medical considerations are compatible with the group’s goals.
  • In regards to individual medical needs, be aware of their condition, how to recognize the onset, and how to help them manage an episode, should it occur. Check in with these members prior to the trip to ensure that they’ve packed their meds.

Communications
Many hiking destinations will not have cell service; here are a few other options:

  • Delorme’s Inreach Explorer and SE are exceptional in regards to communication with the outside world.  Well worth the price, about $300.00  You can not only notify emergency crews via satellite, you can receive emails and texts to anyone.
  • The Spot II EPIRB is only $150.00, is relatively inexpensive, and via satellite, can send out a distress signal along with your location. There are a number of EPIRBS on the market that offer a variety of options along with varied pricing.
  • Many small hand-held radios can be programmed to accommodate HAM frequencies, and obtaining an operators license is both inexpensive and relatively easy.

Alternative Rescue Options
Many rescues are best accomplished by helicopter, either due to location or because of the severity of the medical emergency. Medical flights are tremendously expensive. For instance, a flight from southern Mendocino County to the Bay Area can run up to $20,000.00. Here are some possible considerations.

  • Both Reach & CalStar offer insurance. Fifty-dollars will insure your entire family for one year. These offers are not reciprocal, and need to be purchased separately.

Wilderness First Aid & Rescue Skills

  • These skills are fun to learn, will give you self-confidence, and the skills to not only avoid hazards, but to effectively deal with them should they arise.
  • First Aid Kit Contents
    Depending on your activity and the length of your adventure, you may find that you can pare down your first aid kit or that you need to supplement it with other items. In cold and wet conditions, a hypothermia kit is a good thing to carry as well.Personal Protection:

    • Gloves
    • CPR Shield
    • Latex Gloves (several pairs)
    • Soap and Antibacterial Wipes

    Major Trauma:

    • Shears-Irrigation syringe
    • Sam Splint
    • Steri Strips
    • Gauze Roll
    • 2×2 Gauze Pads
    • 3×3 Gauze Pads
    • 3×4 Gauze Pads
    • 5×9 Trauma Pad
    • Knuckle Bandages
    • Transparent Dressing
    • Medical tape
    • Triangle Bandages
    • Butterfly Bandage

    Minor Trauma & Blisters:

    • Band-aids (variety of sizes)
    • 2nd Skin Liquid Band-aid
    • Triple Antibiotic Ointment
    • Mole Skin
    • Mole Foam

    Meds:

    • Acetaminophen
    • Tylenol
    • Ibuprofen
    • Iodine Solution
    • Tec-nu (if you are traveling somewhere there is poison oak or poison ivy)
    • Benadryl
    • Sting Relief  (20% Benzocaine)
    • Hydro-cortizone cream
    • Compound Tincture of Benzoin

    Hardware:

    • Tweezers
    • Safety Pins
    • Pen & Pencil
    • Wilderness First Aid Book
    • Zip Lock BagsThermometer
    • Patient Assessment Form
    • Biohazard Label (for any trash with blood in it)
    • Whistle
    • Signal Mirror
    • Scissors

    Hypo Kit: (Extra) 

    • Heat Blanket or Shell
    • Matches
    • Lighter
    • Extra clothing including a cap, socks, gloves
    • Electrolytes (something like Clif Shot Blocks or Gatorade mix work well)
    • If you have a lot of extra room (such as at basecamp or on a rafting trip) bring an extra sleeping bag as well