Bird’s Eye View

  • March 07, 2019
  • Posted by Mickey Tommins

The Care Providing teams saw two trucks idling in a head-on collision. Exhaust smoke rose from the tailpipe of an MCC vehicle and wafted over the body of an MCC crew leader lying face down in the snowy parking lot. Another patient in the car was screaming, asking if everyone was alright. Luckily, this was a drill.

But it certainly didn’t feel like it.

The 2019 Crew Leaders at Montana Conservation Corps spent last week at their Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) course taught by Aerie Backcountry Medicine. During the four-day course, crew leaders learned backcountry CPR, treatments for traumatic injuries, and tools to assess medical concerns all while spending hours in realistic practice scenarios.

You play like you train. That was a point that was brought up each day during the course. The crew leaders were put in stressful scenarios that felt and, with the help of fake blood and maquillage, looked real. Each drill was a training ground to practice new skills and work out the difficult procedures of wilderness medicine. Heart rates were elevated, and not just for the scenario’s patients.

The exercises helped to ensure that, when faced with similarly stressful, real situations, the WAFA certified crew leaders would be better equipped to care for patients at the worst time in their lives.

MCC prides itself on having crew leaders trained in wilderness medicine, not only to have the ability to respond to injuries that the crew may face in the backcountry but to better serve their community of outside recreators. Out on the trail, they will have their eyes on the lookout for distressing incidents. Like a hawk on a perch, they will remain vigilant.

The 2019 crew leaders are now prepared to respond to medical emergencies and apply their advanced first aid in order to assist the people who enjoy the public lands on which they serve.

After the ‘ambulance’ and ‘helicopter’ came and evacuated the patients from the scene, all of the crew leaders came together and pat themselves on the back. The leaders felt confident that they could bring their best work, attention, and knowledge to the worst day out in the woods.


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