Wilderness Whitewater Rescue and First Aid

wilderness rescue and first aid

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Do you ever wonder what you would do if you ever got into a really serious situation on a wilderness river or creek. What if you are paddling the Middle Kings River in California, and one of your team members breaks an ankle while portaging. Will you know what to do? If you are a Class V or Expedition kayaker, you owe it to yourself and your friends to be well versed in wilderness first aid and rescue. This class focuses on difficult rescue situations that involve injuries with potentially hazardous consequences. Students will learn through realistic scenarios, about first aide in the backcountry and getting the victim extracted to safety. We will build and expand upon the skills learned in the other DSE courses, and apply them to more challenging and life threatening situations. You must be confident on Class V minus whitewater and have swiftwater rescue experience to attend this course. We also recommend taking a basic CPR and First Aide class before attending.

What to expect

This is a 4-day course, and expect 4 long days. We normally start each day around 9am and finish around 5pm. The first two days will be spent learning Wilderness first aid based on the Wilderness First Responder course and river rescue skills. The class will focus on rescue situations where the victim is injured, unconcious, drowning, or hypothermic.  DSE classes are very hands on, with minimal dryland instruction. We feel that you will learn better by actually practicing the skills and learning them in a realistic environment. The level 4 class will learn the following: Wilderness first aid and CPR,  Advanced Rescue swimming, Advanced tethered swimming, advanced river running strategy, communication, leadership, pinned/stranded swimmer rescues in difficult river environments, rescuing injured victims, providing first aid, and extracting them to safety. The last two days will consist of difficult scenarios in a wilderness setting with high exposure and consequences.

What to bring

Kayak
Kayaking Gear
Warm layers (Drytop and pants, drysuit, or wetsuit required) (bring multiple under layers)
Good river shoes
Throw Rope
Rescue PFD w/tether – required
River Knife (I recommend a folding one in the pocket. for mountable knives, use the Bear Claw)
Karabiners (one locking and a few non-locking)
Prussik Loops (5mm cased nylon line tied in loops with double fisherman’s knot. Have several different size loops. bigger loops are more useful)
Webbing (1″ tubular webbing in a length that is double your height)
Pulley (one is sufficient)
First Aid kit
Breakdown Paddle (not everyone needs a spare paddle)
Lunch and snacks – on the go
Notebook and pen

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