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Wilderness first aid necessary skill for recreating outdoors in Montana

Wilderness First Aid Class Screen Shot 2022-08-28 at 2.19.15 PM.png
Posted at 8:53 AM, Aug 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-29 10:53:00-04

KALISPELL - Outdoor recreation is abundant in Montana, but have you ever thought about what to do if you are injured in the backcountry?

“Especially living here in the Flathead Valley where we have numerous outdoor recreation activities. A course like this is invaluable in learning basic wilderness first aid, and how to do things like manage wound care and really help to recreate in the wilderness safely," said Grant Hughes who took part in a wilderness first aid class.

Students learned everything from CPR to wound care and splinting techniques and how to avoid getting into situations where there is a possibility of an injury during a three-day Wilderness First Aid Class through Flathead Wilderness Medicine.

“It's really important information. Especially here we have a lot of wilderness area. A lot of activities you can do that may involve some risk in the wilderness. And so I think it's just good information to have," said Flathead Wilderness Medicine Owner and wilderness first aid teacher Cameron Johnson.

Students learned the skills through lectures, acting out scenarios and hands-on activities. Although it was just training, Johnson tried to make the class as real as possible by using different techniques like pig feet to practice wound care because it is similar to human skin.

“We try to make it as real life as possible. I think a lot of ends up being a lot of highlight for people's classes in these scenarios because it can be entertaining but also we tried to make them serious because it adds some stress to it because, you know, you run into accident or something like that," said Johnson. "It is very stressful. So we tried to get them serious, but inevitably, they end up being pretty fun as well."

Classes like these typically happen in the spring and fall to prepare tour guides for seasonal outdoor tours in Montana. But the knowledge gained through this course is valuable for anyone who recreates outdoors.

“Whether it be for myself and my friends and family when we're recreated in the backcountry or if we happen to come across something while we are out, it really gives me the confidence and excitement that I'll be able to make a difference," said Hughes.

For more information or to find a class you can visit wildmedcenter.com and flatheadwildernessmedicine.com. Additional information can be found by contacting Johnson at cam@flaheadwildernessmedicine.com.