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Jan 08

Wilderness First Responder Training at Big Creek Reserve

During the week of December 14th to the December 22nd, 11 people took time out of their lives to be better prepared for remote medical emergencies by training with the locally based Backcountry Medical Guides to become certified as a Wilderness First Responders.
Students take a break to watch the sunset

Students take a break to watch the sunset from Whale Point at the Big Creek Reserve

We stationed out of the Whale Point cabin at the UC Big Creek Reserve, which became our classroom/kitchen/living room, for our week plus immersive study and training.  Camping and eating together along with our lectures and scenarios provided a rich, studious atmosphere that made the learning fun, engaging and communal.  Most of the students were from the general central to northern California area, with some working wilderness guiding jobs as far away as Colorado and Utah.

The course instructor and co/founder of Backcountry Medical Guides, John Taussig, also works as a flight paramedic stationed out of Fort Hunter Liggett and has extensive remote medical experience.  Other course instructors included Chris Melville-- a member of Santa Cruz and Monterey County's Search and Rescue teams,  Matt Schollard-- retired US Air Force paramedic, and Sean Andrasik-- flight paramedic now also studying to be a physician;  they came together to form a very talented and knowledgeable group of medical and emergency professionals that wonderfully lead the remarkable week of learning, both lecture based and experiential, with the beautiful Big Sur coast as our training grounds.

Students learn to take blood pressure

Outdoor classroom

Students practice the Patient Assessment System

Students practice the Patient Assessment System

IMG_3303

Golden coastal views

Smoke from the Pfeiffer Fire began wafting down to Big Creek

Smoke from the Pfeiffer Fire wafted down to Big Creek on the first day of the fire (Dec. 16th), but mainly blew north

John Tausigg

John Taussig gives a talk on splinting broken bones

Smoke makes for awesome sunsets

Smoke makes awesome sunsets

Hiking to the beach

Hiking to the beach for class

John Tausigg demonstates the focused spine assessment

John Taussig demonstates the focused spine assessment

Group gets ready to backpack to

Group gets ready to backpack to Highlands camp

Matt Schollard gives a talk on the trail

Matt Schollard gives a talk on the trail

to highland ridge

Up to Highland ridge

Warm, sunny and terribly dry

Warm, sunny and terribly dry

Students practice treatment of a suspected spine injury and evacuation

Students practice treatment of a suspected spine injury and evacuation

Students debrief a scenario

Debriefing  a scenario at Highlands Camp

"Hope for the best, prepare for the worst."

They say the number 1 indicator of survival is a positive mental attitude.  Venturing out in remote wilderness settings means you may be hours away from professional medical help.  Being prepared to handle emergency and life threatening situations in a calm, collected and competent manner are crucial skills that may very well save a person's life.  It was a joy to train and learn along side other wilderness enthusiasts, and from such experienced and caring professionals.  Wilderness First Responder is an 80 hour course.  Wilderness First Aid is a similar, though less intensive training, that also prepares one for remote medical emergencies, generally a 16 hour course.   Learn more at the Wilderness Medicine InstituteWilderness Medical Society and Backcountry Medical Guides. 

John Taussig does a fly by

John Taussig does a fly by

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