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post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
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Default Advanced Wilderness First Aid

I recently took an EMR course (Alberta), and was wondering if there is a big difference between knowledge between an EMR course and the 80 hour advanced wilderness first aid course?

Thanks a bunch.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 03:00 PM
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Some, but your EMR is more comprehensive in terms of anatomy and treatment. The main difference is in learning what constitutes the scope of practice with respect to "wilderness setting" as defined as two hours from ALS. As an example, you can do a spinal clear in the field in a wilderness setting. You also cease CPR after 30 min in a wilderness setting, where in an urban environment, it's until ALS arrives.

The WFR (80 hour) also deals with rescue and evac techniques that are unique to wilderness settings, so how to use sleeping bags, pads, poles, axes, skis, etc as first aid materials. Dealing with hypothermia is a big WFR topic.

If you take EMR and then WFR, you're going to be repeating a lot of stuff, but the last 20hrs or so will be quite interesting. Many go the other route. If you're thinking of taking WFR, contact some providers and let them know you have EMR and ask if they have the WFR-upgrade or something similar that would save you some dough and repeating of information. I originally did my WFA-40hour and then took the WFR upgrade which was another 40 hours.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Ah, very good to know, thank you. I figured the scope of practice would be slightly different.
I guess I'll hafta to wait to shell out another 750 for the course, and another two weeks off.
Who has time for a two week course when you have a job...haha Granted I was unemployed when I took the EMR course.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 03:57 PM
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quote:Originally posted by johngenx

Some, but your EMR is more comprehensive in terms of anatomy and treatment. The main difference is in learning what constitutes the scope of practice with respect to "wilderness setting" as defined as two hours from ALS. As an example, you can do a spinal clear in the field in a wilderness setting. You also cease CPR after 30 min in a wilderness setting, where in an urban environment, it's until ALS arrives.

The WFR (80 hour) also deals with rescue and evac techniques that are unique to wilderness settings, so how to use sleeping bags, pads, poles, axes, skis, etc as first aid materials. Dealing with hypothermia is a big WFR topic.

If you take EMR and then WFR, you're going to be repeating a lot of stuff, but the last 20hrs or so will be quite interesting. Many go the other route. If you're thinking of taking WFR, contact some providers and let them know you have EMR and ask if they have the WFR-upgrade or something similar that would save you some dough and repeating of information. I originally did my WFA-40hour and then took the WFR upgrade which was another 40 hours.
Different in Alberta than BC if that's the case. In BC, generally speaking, CPR is ceased after 30 minutes, and most of the province doesn't have ALS.

I still maintain my AWFA even though I'm a primary care paramedic in BC. It's not so much the content, but the environment. It's good to know how to and practice working with other outdoors people to improvise your way through an illness or injury in the wilderness. Unless you're actually getting patient contacts on a frequent basis in the wilderness, which you're not, getting your AWFA and re-certing every 3 years is an excellent way to keep up the skills.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 04:45 PM
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If you need either cert, they won't transfer. If you're looking for the knowledge, you might be okay.
As above, EMR has a lot more detailed anatomy and such info, and additional procedures, plus you tend you learn specific ways to do things with specific equipment.

An 80-hour wilderness first aid doesn't include much in the way of first aid information that you don't already have, but comes at it from a different perspective, and talks about the survival aspect as well.
It seems to me that for people who are reasonably decent self-learners, if you have the technical information from an EMR, you should be able to think through it yourself (or read a few WFA books) and get an idea as to how to apply your skills to the different setting.

I would only take an 80-hour WFA on top of your EMR if you need the cert, or strongly prefer organized instruction.
If you could find someone offering some sort of bridge course, that would certainly be a major help.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 05:35 PM
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quote:Originally posted by Rachelo

If you need either cert, they won't transfer.
True, and a good point.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 05:41 PM
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quote:Originally posted by Kid Charlemagne

CPR is ceased after 30 minutes, and most of the province doesn't have ALS.
I suppose then in many areas ALS is more than 2 hours away, and then wilderness protocol kicks in, which is ceasing CPR after 30 min.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 09:15 PM
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quote:Originally posted by johngenx

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Kid Charlemagne

CPR is ceased after 30 minutes, and most of the province doesn't have ALS.
I suppose then in many areas ALS is more than 2 hours away, and then wilderness protocol kicks in, which is ceasing CPR after 30 min.
It's not wilderness protocol, its BLS protocol. Wilderness first aid doesn't have protocols, licensing, or a scope of practice, to be accurate.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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As far as I know, there is no such thing as BLS in Alberta and that BC's medical support is super wonky.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 02:47 AM
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quote:Originally posted by wildtrekker

As far as I know, there is no such thing as BLS in Alberta and that BC's medical support is super wonky.
Go STARS!
EMR's and EMT-A's in Alberta are both BLS. Kind of scary that you don't know that. And on behalf of BC's hard working medical support, thanks for calling us super wonky.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 06:10 AM
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the content for basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS) come from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada guidelines so should be standardized nationally.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 12:24 PM
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Having just finished a Red Cross Wilderness Instructors course I'll throw in my 2 cents. Red Cross does have medical direction for its training and the protocols for lack of a better word are different than EMR. In the wilderness course we were taught how to re locate dislocated shoulders which is not allowed as an EMR but as an EMR with BCAS I can apply a traction splint. The difference between an 80 hour and a 40 hour wilderness course is not much. The greatest difference is the length of the scenarios. Parks Canada was doing 80 hour courses but have switched to the 40 hour as it wasn't necessary for them to do a 2 hour stretcher evacuation scenario. Red Cross only offers 20 and 40 hour and about half the course is actually spent outside doing the skills. If someone already holds a certification beyond a standard first aid ie EMR, then the outdoor application in a 20 or 40 hour would be enough to show you how to apply your knowledge and skills in an outdoor setting.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 02:36 PM
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I really disagree with there being no difference betweeen a 40-hour WFA and an 80-hour, unless the Red Cross teaches quite differently from the other outfits I've seen.
It seemed to me that a 40-hour WFA is simply city Standard First Aid skills applied to a semi-wilderness setting, and a 20-hour the same information but with less evaluation and less practice time. So if you just need the skills, and have SFA, a 20-hour will teach you how to do SFA on a daytrip, and a 40-hour will certify that you theoretically know how to do SFA on a daytrip. But again, a decent self-learner can apply their SFA from a book just fine.
It wasn't until the 80-hour WFA that I found there was actually any substantially additional skills/information so you come out knowing more in general, rather than just in application, which is similar to higher medical courses, except that the higher you go, the more ambulance/hospital procedures start to diverge from wilderness.
The 80-hours I've seen include a lot more detailed anatomy (or at least expects a higher understanding), and information about illnesses and medical conditions and how to diagnose what can be waited out vs. needs a rescue and whatnot. This is related to the length you are expecting to possibly treat people for, but actually teaches you how to assess and help things.
I found the 40-hour to be basically SFA - radio/send for help, and sit and wait for a helicopter, while doing whatever you'd do in the city while sitting and waiting for an ambulance, plus a bit of sheltering.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 11:33 AM
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I've got to agree with Rachelo, there's very significant differences between the content of the 40 and 80 hour WFA courses, as she's outlined.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 11:59 AM
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I originally did the 40hr AWFA, then the 40hr additional training to upgrade to WFR, and I agree that the 80hr is much more comprehensive in not only wilderness setting methods (evac, etc) but in the first aid as well. That said, the training in the 40hr is pretty good (from the provider I used, anyway) and would not considered it akin to Standard First Aid.
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