Wilderness Medical Training with Lifesigns ECP – A Review
As things start to ramp up for next year’s long haul trip we decided some time ago to improve on our work based first aid training by supplementing it with a more in-depth course. This would hopefully allow us to diagnose, treat and stabilise a patient until definitive care was established either by mobilising a CASEVAC (Casualty evacuation) or driving to a clinic or hospital if circumstances allow. If you Google ‘Wilderness First Aid’ there is a plethora of companies, individuals, corporations all vying for your hard earned $$$. I made a number of phone calls and sent a number of emails outlining what we were doing and what we wanted to achieve. Some got back, some didn’t, some needed ‘groups’, some were too far away, some were ‘wishy washy’ with details and others were just to darn expensive!
In the end I contacted Ian at the Expedition Care Program (part of the Lifesigns Group) as their no nonsense choice of 5 programs seemed to fit our needs. We were looking at the Expedition Medicine course which was level 3. Ian Confirmed that this was a good choice given our undertaking and also advised us to consider the Expedition Medic level 5 course if we felt it necessary. We booked onto the Expedition Medicine Course for October 21/22nd and made our way to their base in Puttenham near Guildford.
The Expedition Care Program was developed by Royal Army Medical Corps Trauma Medics and experienced outdoor instructors to meet the rising demand for medical needs in the expedition and travel industries. Our instructor for the weekend was Andy ‘ Pinkie’ Salmon. Andy has his fingers in many pies, having been a paramedic, a field medic, emergency responder, trainer as well as being involved in a number of situations that required his expertise.
The course ran through the responsibilities of a first responder, patient assessment, resuscitation and advanced airway management. Everything was thoroughly covered, many questions were asked and answered accordingly. Through the afternoon we moved onto remote fractures, shock and wounds and how all these things can usually be linked. It was a lot of information for the 1st day.
The Sunday saw us looking at burn management, spinal injuries and vehicle evacuation techniques. Andy built this into a scenario during the afternoon where we had to apply our knowledge gained to stabilise two casualties. It worked reasonably well but it was clear we were slow at decision making and responding. Time is crucial in many incidents and you would need to act fast to save a life.
Overall the weekend ran smoothly and a lot of good information was shared. There was no time to look at your watch and the days was packed from 0900-1700. Andy’s teaching methods were also spot on as it takes a lot to hold my attention but this didn’t wane once with Andy at the helm. On completion of the course I had the opportunity to chat to Andy about international rescue situations and run through our all ready comprehensive 1st aid and medical supplies. There are a few more items to now add to the list and that should cover us.
I fully recommend the Expedition Care Program to anybody travelling to remote destinations where definitive care could be some time away. The 1 day first aid at work courses here in the UK just do not cut it for expedition and overland travellers needs and this is an often overlooked avenue for adventurous travellers in their planning stages. Do yourself and your travel partners a favour and go prepared.