Splints, Cravats, and Gauze: Oh My!

2014-11-06 21:37:35.000 – Kaitlyn O’Brien, Weather Observer/Education Specialist


Our crew came up a day earlier than usual this week to participate in Wilderness First Aid (WFA) training sponsored by SOLO. Every two years, our staff undergoes this training to ensure that we are WFA certified and prepared for the many types of medical emergencies we may encounter. By staging several different emergency scenarios, we were able to simulate what a real-life rescue would be like, particularly in the backcountry where resources are limited. Having some previous EMT experience under my belt, I’ve certainly come to appreciate the convenience of an ambulance!

Aside from learning about the preliminary signs of hypothermia, shock, and heat exhaustion, I can also tell you that it’s not too hard to build a splint for a forearm fracture in the comfort of a heated building with a patient who is merely acting distressed. In fact, it took about 10 minutes. Instead, the real test occurs when the wind is blowing 60mph; your hands and fingers are quickly becoming clumsy in the below freezing temperatures, and you’re trying to prevent your gear and materials from blowing away, all while simultaneously calming a suffering patient and getting a count on their respiratory rate, among other vitals. That scenario could take 30 minutes to a couple of hours before the patient is even transport-worthy.


Needless to say, the detailed course and hands-on training applications provided us with the confidence we need to handle emergencies as they arise. Thank you SOLO!



Kaitlyn O’Brien, Weather Observer/Education Specialist

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