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Bronco

Wilderness First Responder vs Wilderness First Aid

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I'm considering taking the Hybrid WFR class offered by AAI this spring but wondering if it's really a good use of the additional time and $ over a weekend of WFA class. I took a First Responder class at Edmonds Community College 25 years ago and can't say I've ever used the more advanced victim assessment skills. Mostly just general first aid stuff - blisters, cuts and bruises, etc.

 

I'm not planning to join Search and Rescue any time soon. I doubt I'd go back and re-cert every two years either. I guess having a WFR is kind of like being the guy with the most up to date beacon and a real shovel.

 

Any thoughts?

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I took a weekend WFA course a number of years ago and didn't feel like I took as much away from it as I wanted. I think a lot of this is just the short amount of time involved and I have always wanted to take WFR since, simply for the longer period of immersion in the material.

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I suppose that's only fair considering most of my partners have relatively extensive first aid and rescue training.

 

One was an Eagle Scout. He always seems to want to cuddle in the bivy "for warmth". Is that Eagle Scout training?

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yes, that's eagle scout training kicking in.

 

IMO WFR, unless you're a doctor/nurse and bringing with you a good 5-10lbs+ of first aid gear isn't most of it really coming down to if you get hurt bad back there, you need emergency rescue/extraction in X time or you're dead?

 

I took a WFA about 5 or 6 years ago and my take away was that I could do CPR if someone stopped breathing, assess if they had a head injury, and maybe splint broken bones.

 

But me and a partner, they fall and break their femur. Okay, keep them warm, splint it/traction, maybe a pain killer (haha), and what, even in the forest in ideal conditions it's not like you'll drag them out. You need help ASAP. Let alone high angle. If there is no possibility for help to come, it's the best WFA and ummphh to get them somewhere marginally safe--you're up shit creek.

 

Which doesn't detract from those who are WFR+..doctors..etc who maybe can help with more complex injuries, but the short and sweet will still be that people need emergency extraction and it is unlikely short of being negligent, that a doctor vs a WFA person is the difference between life and death for a lot of conditions. Maybe i tell myself that because I don't have the bandwidth to become a doctor..

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I think you could be a trauma surgeon but without a good kit you'd pretty much be useless. Whether through WFR or not, aquiring a minimal but efficient first aid kit and the knowledge of how to do basic trauma management - treating hemorrhage and splinting, is probably your best bet I think.

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Thanks for the responses. I've looked at some other feedback and It sounds like most folks who've taken WFA are left a little dissatisfied with the level of detail and the WFR folks report a positive experience. Reducing dislocations might be worth it on it's own. I've done this a couple of times on our kid and it's pretty valuable in the moment.

 

Looks to me like the WFA covers this:

 

Patient Assessment System

Emergency and Evacuation Plans

Spine Injury

Head Injury

Shock

Wilderness Wound Management

Wilderness Wound Management Scenario

Musculoskeletal Injury

Heat Illness

Cold Injury

Lightning

Altitude Illness

The Medical Patient Anaphylaxis

 

The WFR covers this:

 

Body Defenses

Pharmacology

Patient Assessment System

Basic Life Support

Wilderness Adult and Child CPR

Head Injuries

Respiratory Distress

Volume Shock

Extemity Injuries

SOAP Evaluation Process

Splinting

Wound Management

Spine Assessment

Dehydration

Sunburn

Heat Exahustion, Heat Stroke and Hyponatremia

Hypothermia and Cold Injuries

Near Drowning

Spine Management

Wilderness Bites and Stings

Allergies

Lightning Injuries

Altitude

Dislocations

Asthma

Diabetes: Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia

Heart Attack, Angina and Stroke

Issues with Ears, Eyes, Nose, Throat and Teeth

Improvising Litters, Backboards and Litter Carries

 

It seems like the additional class time would allow for an improved ability to assess a victim and decide the next steps (treatment, what kind of treatment, urgency of evacuation) much more accurately. I currently carry a minimal first aid kit and am curious if I will add anything for bigger trips after the class and limit the small kit for day trips.

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Managed to dust off the login and come back to CC... Also, I did a WEMT course a million years ago before medical school so I'm biased

 

WEMT > WFR > WFA, hands down.

 

But it also depends what you are looking to contribute on climbs/bigger trips. As you get more training you get a better idea of sick/not sick, when to bail due to injury/illness, and how to manage the patient/your partner on the way to better care or a flight out of whatever hellhole you've got yourself in. WFR (and WEMT) training will also help you communicate much better with the rescue teams and convey appropriate & important information that can help the decide between ground or air help, resources needed, etc.

 

TLDR: If you can afford the time and money, get WFR. Knowledge is power.

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if you got the free time, take the WFR. the hands on simulations are worth it alone. listening to someone blah blah all weekend is nothing compared to doing it in a simulation. even if you actually remember nothing, it is worth the confidence of knowing that you actually did it right once in your life. and in emergencies, confidence and being calm about things matter more than any 10# first aid kit.

 

right on for you even thinking about such training. Mine elapsed so long ago but the training with a couple real life situations helped when things go bad. I am more calm about it now than when I did the simulations.

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if you got the free time, take the WFR. the hands on simulations are worth it alone. listening to someone blah blah all weekend is nothing compared to doing it in a simulation. even if you actually remember nothing, it is worth the confidence of knowing that you actually did it right once in your life. and in emergencies, confidence and being calm about things matter more than any 10# first aid kit.

 

Definitely agree. The scenarios really help you get the system down for how to manage situations. That was the biggest take home for me rather than the specifics for treating this or that particular injury or illness.

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(tape + opioids + quick clot + suture material) - suck it up + cell phone/spot = all you can do

 

Edited by layton

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(tape + opioids + quick clot + suture material) - suck it up + cell phone/spot = all you can do

 

to be mathematically accurate, you would have to ADD the "suck it up". your equation implies that "sucking it up" actually takes away from "all you can do" :)

 

nice photos from stairway, BTW.

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I took a Mountaineering First Aid (MFA) course through the Mazamas some years ago and was pleased with what I got vs. time spent. It is somewhere between WFA and WFR. I think it was 5 evenings of 3 hr. class/practice and then a weekend in the field, with lots of hands on simulations. You didn't have to be a member of the Mazamas to take the course. Maybe Mountaineers has something similar?

Edited by pcg

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(tape + opioids + quick clot + suture material) - suck it up + cell phone/spot = all you can do

 

to be mathematically accurate, you would have to ADD the "suck it up". your equation implies that "sucking it up" actually takes away from "all you can do" :)

 

nice photos from stairway, BTW.

 

Someone's been doing their clickbait facebook "math" problems!

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