Backcountry Medicine – Let’s Hope You Never Need To Know It!

By Louisville Metro Parks
Natural Areas Division
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What would happened if you were badly cut in the middle of the forest and were hours away from a hospital? What if one of  your kids broke his/her leg?

Jefferson Memorial Forest, in partnership with Green Earth Outdoors and SOLO Schools, is offering a Wilderness First Aid certification course. Wilderness First Aid (WFA) creates a solid foundation in the basics of backcountry medical care. Started by SOLO as the “Mountain/Woods First Aid” course in 1975, it is the curriculum upon which all other backcountry medicine courses are based.

WFA is 16 hours long (two days), and focuses on the basic skills of: Response and Assessment, Musculoskeletal Injuries, Environmental Emergencies, Survival Skills, Soft Tissue Injuries, and Medical Emergencies. It is the perfect course for the outdoor enthusiast or trip leader who wants a basic level of first aid training for short trips with family, friends, and outdoor groups. It also meets the ACA and BSA guidelines. Program meets at the Horine Conference Center.

The fee for the class is $165 per person. It covers instruction, class materials, equipment, handouts, and textbook.

The cost of the course has made more than a few people cringe, but a quick internet search shows classes offered in the Pacific Northwest and Northeast can cost up to $350 for a weekend.

And this testimony comes from Metro Parks own Ryan Zike, a naturalist at the forest who has taken the class. Zike said there are applications you learn in the class that go far beyond what might occur along a hiking trail.

“At training, you will be immersed in active role playing scenarios focused on teaching you how to use the natural elements in ways you’d never expect. This hands-on style allows you to provide stabilizing medical care in situations where getting a patient to a hospital quickly is out of the question.  This course teaches both long-term and short-term patient care. It gives you the opportunity and the know-how to develop situational awareness and remain calm and collected during emergency situations. I absolutely recommend this course to anyone, whether it be those just starting out in hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, etc; or those looking to further their medical spectrum of knowledge,” Zike said.

For more details and to register, visit or call Green Earth Outdoors at 502-475-7445. 

For those traveling from out of town, a camping option with a 10% site discount is available. For camping reservations, please call 502/368-5404.


One thought on “Backcountry Medicine – Let’s Hope You Never Need To Know It!

  1. jackie Corey November 8, 2010 / 5:17 pm

    Perhaps a course like this should be required for those who buy a hunting license and those who have to log a hike with the Forrestry service. It just makes sense to know these things, eventhough one should never be alone in the wilderness. Having a partner helps a bit, but the knowledge would be invaluable.

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