Sierran Masthead

Sign Up for Wilderness First Aid Training

By Jane Fuller, Chapter Outings Committee Chair

The Hoosier Chapter has once again been chosen to host wilderness first aid certification training. Last year we were part of the national Sierra Club pilot program and one of three chapters in the country to host WFA training.

Fifteen Hoosier Chapter members received three-year WFA certification. All who attended agreed that it was one of their best training experiences.

This year, the training will be held (in late October or early November) at the Hoosier Chapter office in Indianapolis. Class will begin at 8 a.m. and conclude at 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Cost will be $75, a wonderful bargain because you would pay from $300 to $600 for the same training-and have to travel out of state-if you did it on your own. Food and lodging are not covered in the cost. When we have a final list of participants, you may wish to network for accommodation- or ride-sharing.

CPR training is not included in WFA, and it is recommended that you complete CPR training (which can be done through your local Red Cross). However, previous first aid or CPR certification is not required.

After you register, reading materials will be mailed to you so that you can prepare for the training. The WFA instructor uses a combination of short lectures and practice scenarios that make the subject come alive and leave students feeling confident that they will be able to use the skills if needed.

We would like for all of our outing leaders to be trained in wilderness first aid, but you do not have to be an outing leader to take the WFA class. If, however, you would like to lead outings for the Sierra Club, I can provide for basic outing leader training at a mutually convenient time and place.

Red Cross first aid training is good, but it is limited in that it trains one to respond in an urban situation, with the first aider's primary task to access the 911 system and get the victim into the hands of a medical professional.

In contrast, a wilderness situation is defined as being more than one hour away from professional medical care. In that situation, a first aider needs to be able to do a more extensive assessment, provide some treatment, and make a decision on whether the victim needs to be evacuated. Many if not most of our outings, even day hikes, take us more than one hour away from professional medical care.

Space in the class is limited and is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Please call and register as soon as possible. To register or to ask questions, contact me at (219) 942-0076 or or chapter coordinator Lori Hazlett at (317) 822-3750 or

Copyright © 2007 Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, all rights reserved.[08/25/04]efp

Fall 2004