Here are some Frequently Asked Questions regarding advanced first aid training.
What is “advanced ” first aid? Advanced classes provide more details on injuries and illness, provide more choices and treatments for the volunteer provider, and ask students to perform to a higher level (better bandages, more complicated scenario practice, etc). Advanced classes are serious first aid for serious first aid volunteers! We usually teach the Advanced first aid in the minimum 16 hour format, but it can be taught in longer sessions if requested (up to 40 hours).
How do I tell if this class meets the requirements of my organization? Unfortunately, there is no universally accepted document to cover every first aid agency. However, most organizations use the first aid class evaluations published by the American Camp Association to define agencies that should be considered a “regular” first aid class and those that provide “advanced/wilderness training”. Here is their web site. Our class is listed as “NSC – Advanced First Aid”. Since this training includes remote care and wilderness protocols it fulfills the requirement for “wilderness/advanced” training for national outdoor organizations and local business needs.
What is the difference between “remote” response training and “wilderness” training? Volunteers can be trained with additional decisions and options when EMS is more than 30 minutes response time. This is why many advanced classes also teach remote response protocols. You could use this knowledge anywhere…not just in the wilderness! Wilderness training adds environmental, access, and limited equipment issues to remote protocols.
Is advanced or wilderness training from different agencies the same? Is there any oversight or published standard? Unfortunately, no. There is a wide variance in skills taught by different certification agencies. There are also some agencies who teach “wilderness” first aid with high cost and/or many days, but with limited skill sets. There are other agencies that have low cost and limited skills, but still use the title of wilderness first aid. There are no national standards for either advanced or wilderness classes. This means that each certification agency is free to teach as much, or as little, as they judge appropriate. It is a confusing situation for the volunteer shopping for classes.
Does wilderness first aid training have to happen in the wilderness? Remember that wilderness first aid courses are not wilderness survival courses. All skills for wilderness first aid can be taught in a nice warm, well-lit, dry classroom. Wilderness skills such as using expedient materials, transport practice, and environmental protection steps do not have to be done in the rain!
“Wilderness First Aid” may not be “Advanced First Aid”. A class that teaches wilderness emergency can still be a low skill first aid level. Some don’t even teach the full range of basic first aid techniques. The result is a graduate who is somewhat prepared with wilderness expedient techniques but lacks the knowledge for common family situations and rapid response areas. Please note that there are “wilderness first aid” classes offered to the public by companies that may provide a fantastic camping experience but with standard level first aid…and some are very pricey.
I am already CPR/AED certified. Can I skip part of this class? Alas, no. You probably have a layperson CPR/AED card. Colorado First Aid will teach the professional level CPR/AED in this class (Healthcare Provider/Professional Rescuer). You will find about thirty minutes of CPR/AED techniques that are effectively the same as layperson CPR. The rest of the CPR training will be new material about airways, oxygen, suction, and bag-valve-mask use. This will be new material and is taught throughout the class. You will need to attend all sessions.
- There is a lot of hand-on practice with both commercial first aid materials and expedient items. The training is based on a three level foundation resulting in a very effective outcome for the graduate. We learn first aid at the advanced level, preparing the volunteer to deal with first aid emergencies. As topics are presented we discuss/practice the additional remote options. Towards the end of the class we include a module to add wilderness techniques to the advanced knowledge and remote protocols to succeed in the back country. This is definitely not a “class lite” or “dumbed-down” experience!
- This class exceeds the techniques and skills taught at standard first aid or a wilderness only emphasis class.
- The first aid card is issued with a three year expiration date. CPR card is for two years.
- Slides are thorough and detailed, illustrated with real injury/illness pictures and many instructional videos.
- There are so many materials, CPR dummies, and equipment used for this class we need a trailer to bring them in. Each student works with their own CPR dummy.
- Our participants receive a comprehensive text (500+ pages), handouts, and first aid guides. We believe that participants should have a book/materials for future reference and study. Class fee is based on our costs.
- NSC, our certification source, is OSHA and Mine Safety Association standards compliant. Our CPR training is American Heart ECC compliant. These certifications are accepted in the workplace and most medical facilities. Not many other agencies besides NSC, ECSI, and American Heart Association can make this claim.
- Participants will receive a Professional Rescuer/Health Care Provider CPR card…more advanced than the layperson CPR rating.
- Oxygen, airways, transport techniques are included.
- Helicopter operations are included. Our instructors have been trained by medevac professionals.
- Field expedient materials are used for practice during the wilderness portions.
- There are scenarios for practice that are both in-town and remote area.
- Instructors are certified and experienced with both in-town and field medicine.