Deep in the Maine wood.. paramedics, nurses and doctors go bump in the dark!

As the videographer for WMA, I had been looking forward to the Wilderness Advanced Life Support (WALS) night simulation for some time. Thought it would be exciting and interesting for our web viewers to see real-life medical professionals training to respond to emergency situations in the wilderness.

I had recently participated in a simulation as part of my own Wilderness First Responder(WFR) training, so I sort of knew what to expect –“patients” made up with fake blood, lots of yelling, screaming, and general chaos. So, I was ready. Or so I thought.

The simulation “story” was a group of 8 neophyte hikers who had been caught in a hurricane while looking for wild mushrooms in the woods. The scene was a chilly Maine evening, completely dark, with the hauntingly beautiful cries of loons in the background.

I set off with one of the 3 teams and couldn’t believe we were actually going to bushwack in the dark to find our patients. And no one was screaming or yelling. How will we ever find them?? The teams eventually did manage to locate the 8 “patients” who had an assortment of nasty traumas.

It was amazing to see how these paramedics, nurses and doctors worked quickly and efficiently in treating their “patients”. There were limited medical supplies, no backup hospital technology, and they were working in the darkness of the Maine woods. Headlamps can do just so much.

Unlike my WFR class, which was mostly non-medical camp counselors and outing trip leaders, these folks had lots at stake if they screwed up. And they were being videotaped by the WMA medical director to be reviewed in class the following day. The pressure was on!

I was so impressed with the dedication to learning and practicing in adverse conditions these 19 students showed during the WALS simulation. It is reassuring to know that such folks are well-trained and available to provide medical help– be it in the wilderness, a rural area, or an urban setting turned wild due to a disaster. Bravo and thanks to each of them!

Anne Rugg
WMA General Manager

Lyme Disease Prevalence in the United States

Lyme Disease Prevalence in the United States

According to the CDC Lyme Disease is the “most commonly reported vector borne disease in the United States.” This map shows the prevalence of Lyme Disease cases in the United Sates. As you can see cases are concentrated in the upper Midwest and Northeast. Incidence of Lyme disease is highest among children, ages 5-14.

Prevention and early intervention efforts are especially important. When traveling in woods and grassy areas in the spring, summer, and fall frequently check clothing and skin for ticks. Remove ticks promptly. Use repellants on skin and clothing that are 20-30% DEET. If you are responsible for children help them check their skin and prevent tick attachment.

Read more in this CDC MMWR Report Surveillance for Lyme Disease — United States, 1992–2006

Submitted by:
Greg Friese, MS, NREMT-P, WEMT
President, Emergency Preparedness Systems LLC


Fixing Your Feet E-zine

Do you want to learn more about foot care? Subscribe to the Fixing Your Feet E-Zine by John Vonhoff. Fixing Your Feet is dedicated to “Foot Care, Skills, Tips, Techniques, and Products.”

John is the author of Fixing Your Feet: Prevention and Treatments for Athletes. The author shares from his years of experience as a hiker, marathon runner, and ultra marathon runner. One of my favorite features of each issue is the Bad Feet Photo.

Check out the current issue of Fixing Your Feet.

Submitted by:
Greg Friese, MS, NREMT-P, WEMT
President, Emergency Preparedness Systems LLC

The Horror of Ear Wax

During a WMA course introduction I often ask students to tell me and the class their name, where they are from, what they do, and as they think about providing first aid what would gross them out. Since I usually go first I unequivocally tell students that ear wax grosses me out. Big hunks of brown, gray, and stinky ear wax. I developed this aversion during several years of dissolving impacted ear wax while I worked as an urgent care EMT. You could be in pieces on the floor or vomiting days of partially digested food and I would not mind. I would stare at maggots erupting from your skin or puss oozing from infected blisters. But if ear wax was hanging on the tiny hairs of your outer ears I will look away in horror and tend to my sympathetic ASR.

Bloggers Mark Leyner and Dr. Billy Goldberg muse about cerumen at this blog post, Eww or Eureka? An ode to earwax.

Submitted by:
Greg Friese, MS, NREMT-P, WEMT
President, Emergency Preparedness Systems LLC

Training in Paradise


“Thought you might enjoy some pix of the Backcountry Medicine Rodeo: when it’s too hot to sit in the sun, relax in the water! Students in Bahamas holding their backcountry medicine topic cards and their responders using the Field Guide to assess.”
-Jeff Baierlein, WEMT

Where Did Your First Hear About WMA???

As General Manager of WMA, I carefully read over all of the student evaluations of our courses. I ran across one today from a Wilderness First Responder course that I found particularly noteworthy and amusing. In answer to the question, ‘Where did you first hear about Wilderness Medical Associates?’, the WFR student replied,

“I’ve worked as an outdoor professional. Hell if I know – it’s WMA. Where did you first hear of McDonald’s?”

Anne Rugg
WMA General Manager

How did YOU hear about WMA?

A Gratified Student

The following excerpt is from a professor in athletic training who just took a Wilderness Medical Associates WFR (Wilderness First Responder) course this past week.

“First, I want to tell you I learned more than I could ever imagine, I had a great time, and our instructor Brad Sablosky was incredible. The main reason I wanted to email you though was because of your course content. As a professor of athletic training I need to make sure I am teaching my students “evidence based medicine” as often as possible.

It is a common part of my life to come across medicine that has not caught up to the science because individuals don’t do the research and want to hold onto old adages. I have to admit I was expecting to run into this in a few content areas going into your WFR course. I was so impressed and over-joyed to find that was not the case at all. Your course content was definitely grounded in “evidence based medicine” as best as possible. I especially noticed this in wound care and exertional heat illnesses. I have been conducting heat and hydration research for over
6 years now. I’ve given many “H&H” talks over these years and find people who are taught wrong information. Your information on this topic was phenomenal! The course content provided the best and most accurate information on this topic I have ever come across. I greatly appreciate this and wanted to let you know. Along those lines, I have attached two publication and a slide for you to peruse that support the use of cold water immersion for heat stroke and the use of rectal temperature in the assessment of exertional heat illness. Let me know if you have any questions.

Additionally, I wanted to express my gratitude that the instructors gave my profession of athletic training trust and respect that I greatly appreciated. They knew what my skills were and what my profession is capable of. They were able to push me “out of my comfort box” during the WFR course to be a better practitioner as well as help me with my weak points. I hope you organization continues this excellent tradition and looks into furthering a relationship with our profession (recognition and CEU’s).

Once again, I had a wonderful time during my WFR course and learned a significant amount of information. Thank you for working so hard on the course content.”

To check out Wildmed.com to learn how to take a course from “The world leader in wilderness and rescue medicine,” Wilderness Medical Associates!

What was the best piece of information YOU learned in your course?

MedWAR

There will be a Wilderness Medical Race held at Grafton Lakes State Park near Albany, NY, on 9/27/2008.

Click here for more information!

Made in the USA!

Scheduler here again-
International courses are great and exciting, but for those of us “grounded” by rising airfare costs and things like jobs and school, here are two new domestic sponsors to shift the focus to WMA courses in the grand ol’ U.S. of A.

The first of those sponsors is Yellow Breeches Educational Center in Carlisle, PA. Yellow Breeches is a private school for grades 6-12, and they are known for their excellent 5:1 student to teacher ratio and the variety of activities they make available to their students. Heidi Whitmer, a school employee with a Wilderness First Responder certification from WMA, contacted me in late June to explore options for putting on a Wilderness First Aid class at the school. This is an excellent example of WMA course graduates recognizing that the training provided in our courses is valuable to many different people and in a variety of situations. They often approach the organizations, companies, schools, and camps with which they are connected and bring WMA there to teach a class to their students and/or coworkers! Their class in August is closed to the public, but we are happy to teach Wilderness First Aid to their 27+ students!

Geyser Whitewater, in Big Sky, MT, is another new sponsor deserving of the spotlight. Building on the success of the Wilderness First Aid class they put on in May, they are offering a Wilderness First Responder in October. Situated in an area that is as ripe with outdoor adventurers as it is remote, this part of Montana will be an idyllic spot for students to spend 8 days learning about wilderness and rescue medicine, and the same number of nights sleeping under the stars. Wow- quite a salesman I am… The WFR course at Geyser Whitewater is October 19 – 26, and there are plenty of other lodging options available. Visit our online schedule or www.raftmontana.com for more information.

We are happy to offer courses in new locations and for different pockets of people, and we certainly appreciate these two, and all other new sponsors for this reason! If you’d like information on sponsoring a course, please contact me at 207-797-6005 or send an email to sean@wildmed.com.

Cheers,
Sean Hoskins
Scheduling Coordinator
Wilderness Medical Associates
www.wildmed.com
207-797-6005

New International Sponsors/Courses

It seems as though there has been an increased “international flair” on the scheduling side of things recently. I guess this makes sense, with the world becoming more globalized- internet, etc.- though you should still buy your produce locally… Seriously, it is exciting to be able to go home at the end of the day and say, “Yeah- I set up courses in Belgium, Japan, and Taiwan today.” One of the most interesting things to know about Wilderness Medical Associates is that all of our courses, WFR’s, WEMT’s, WALS’s etc. held around the country and around the world, are supported by one compact, yet very efficient office in Maine!

Two new international sponsors with whom I’ve worked to set up courses in the past month are The Outsider Club VZW in Belgium, and Crux Professional Limited in Hong Kong. Both new sponsors found WMA through word-of-mouth recommendations from other groups who sponsor our courses.

The Outsider Club is an organization centered around making outdoor experiences and training available to people 6-30 years old. They provide leadership camps, natural, volunteer and group teambuilding opportunities, and emergency training in several locations around Belgium. I was happy when they contacted me to set up a WFA class in December, at the tail end of the WMA courses (open recert and WAFA) already set up by Outward Bound Belgium. It made it an even more enticing “package” to offer the instructors: to be able to teach 3 courses for 2 sponsors in Europe! The WFA course they scheduled is in Oudenaarde December 16-17. Visit www.theoutsiderclub.be for more information on this interesting international organization with which we’re now proud to be connected.

Crux is a similar organization. They provide expeditions around the world, and their program offerings center around corporate and personal adventure-based training, professional wilderness education, and “leave no trace” programming. More information on this dynamic company can be found at http://www.crux.com.hk/Main_page.html , and their WFR is scheduled for September 14 – 21.

That’s a good place to end my update from the Scheduling Desk. As always, the online schedule is an up-to-date list of the courses we’re consistently adding, but I’ll write again soon for more highlights.

Sean Hoskins
Scheduling Coordinator
Wilderness Medical Associates
www.wildmed.com
207-797-6005