Tuesday, October 27, 2015

EMH Instructor Lindy Reese Completes Wilderness First Aid

by Erik Ritschard, Administrator

Miss Reese teaches EMH courses and English
Over the weekend of October 3-4, Ekklesia Mountain High instructor and DPCA teacher Lindy Reese completed her Wilderness First Aid certification, raising her first aid skills from general first aid with AED and CPR to more advanced abilities suitable to EMH wilderness courses and instruction.  Here's what Lindy had to say about her experience taking the class:

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take a class through the National Outdoor Leadership School on Wilderness First Aid. The course was taught by instructors from the Wilderness Medical Institute and included twenty hours of fast paced, hands-on training. Classroom lectures and demonstrations were combined with realistic scenarios in order to practice knowledge and skills.  In two short days, we studied patient assessment techniques along with a wide range of treatments options geared towards wilderness settings. In addition, we learned how to make critical medical and evacuation decisions for remote locations. I found this course to be expressly applicable to working with EMH students as well as to my own lifestyle and outdoor pursuits.

The most challenging and helpful aspect of this course were the scenarios integrated throughout. These situations required quick analysis and creative critical thinking. Instructors would pull aside people from the class and give them incredibly realistic wounds using stage make-up. They would assign each “patient” a personal medical history, symptoms, levels of responsiveness, and a detailed rendering of the situation involving their injury. The patients would go outside and position themselves accordingly - sometimes crumpled on the ground moaning from a fall or hyperventilating from shock - each patient really committed to acting out the scene in order to make it as realistic as possible. Then, the instructors would prepare the rest of the class separately by describing the scenario in which we would come across the patient. The rescuers would go outside, sometimes to find fairly gory scenes, and begin to figure out how to connect with and care for the patients.

These situations felt very realistic and challenged me to immediately implement the things I was hearing, seeing, and writing down in class. They also tested each participant’s ability to remain calm, communicate clearly, act efficiently, and administer care accordingly. The variety and frequency of these scenarios continually reinforced skills taught in the classroom. This unique format was effective in solidifying skills and in building confidence.  I found that I loved learning about the detailed medical aspects of patient care and, perhaps just as importantly, I discovered that my personality was very well suited to performing in high-pressure situations...

Kate on winter mountaineering course winter 2015
Ekklesia Mountain High provides high adventure for students - and we want to be sure our instructors are well-equipped for the task of leading students in meaningful, adventurous wilderness courses.  On-going training for our instructors is part of our program and helps ensure that EMH courses are run well and carefully to provide great experiences for the students.  Both Lindy and Jordan Euler, our lead instructor, will be completing additional avalanche training in early December, and Mr. Euler holds and keeps current a Wilderness First Responder certificate, yet another level of training above Wilderness First Aid, and the eventual next step in Lindy's first aid training as well.   I am really proud of our wilderness instructors' conscientious and careful efforts to provide such great care for our kids when they are on course, and appreciate Lindy's diligence this last weekend in completing her Wilderness First Aid. 

For more information (and great pictures!) about DPCA' EMH program, please visit www.emhweb.org.

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