In the wilderness, awake and at home

I don’t mean to jinx it. I really don’t. But winter seems to be loosening its grip and camping season is nigh. Overnight lows are consistent, the sun exists (yes, there was doubt) and I biked yesterday sans jacket (a la the tiny example to the left). So with camping just around the bend, it’s always a good idea to brush up on advanced first aid skills — especially when your campsite or bike route is a solid 30 minutes from emergency medical services.

Warning: Obligatory anecdote. Call me nerdy. I’m that weird Eagle Scout kid you knew in high school. I memorized knots, hung food from trees and learned how to go number two in the woods (yes, there is a right way and a wrong way). More importantly: I learned all kinds of backcountry first aid skills. And the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago is about to offer a program so you can learn these skills, too.

The class is called Wilderness First Aid. The course combines classroom lecture, skills practice and role-playing to teach the response steps and treatment of injuries and illness in delayed-response situations. The course focuses on:

• Primary and secondary assessments
• Head (brain), neck and back injuries
• Heat-related emergencies and hypothermia
• Altitude-related illnesses, allergies and anaphylaxis
• Bone and joint injuries
• Burns
• Wounds and wound infection

… but that’s just the start of it. In short, the class is a very in-depth look at several outdoorsy first aid situations. Bee sting in the woods? Broken bone in the backcountry? Severe burn at the campsite? There’s a class for that.

Want to enroll? I thought so. Starting Monday, classes will be scheduled and enrollment will be open for Wilderness First Aid classes in the Chicago area. So if you’re a nerdy ex-scout, a connoisseur of the outdoors or just enjoy the occasional jaunt through the forest preserve, taking this class will help you save a life in cases of delayed emergency response.

Happy Friday! Now, Allen Ginsberg, if you’ll kindly take us into the weekend.

And maybe make an image
of my wandering, a little
image — shrine by the
roadside to signify
to traveler that I live
here in the wilderness
awake and at home.

Written by Brian Lewis-Jones

2 responses

  1. Hi … great to see Wilderness First Aid being taught. As an ex-Canadian Red Cross Wilderness Remote First Aid Instructor Trainer it gets me heart going pitter-patter when I see others benefiting from a great course – with the knowledge and skills transferable in many ways. As I mentioned to the instructors I taught over 20+ years – make sure to cover preparation and prevention. Help people understand how not to have to do first aid and use survival skills. And yet, If they have to then the preparation and prevention insights they have can be brought to the foreground for decision making.Best wishes with the course … Steve

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