TrainWise will host its next Wilderness First Aid course on November 21st and 22nd from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Sitting on the floor, surrounded by dozens of torn strips of bed sheets and camping gear, Sam Miller waited patiently as her partner, Anne Colgate, readjusted the ties on her makeshift leg splint. Nodding with satisfaction, the two women tested their handiwork to make sure the “broken” leg could not be jostled.

This past spring, local hikers – beginners and experts alike – gathered at an historic farm on the outskirts of Boulder to take a multi-day wilderness first aid course. The class is taught through TrainWise, a Boulder based wilderness medicine and community training organization, and is designed to teach outdoors enthusiasts how to be prepared in the event of a medical emergency when the nearest hospital is hours away.Wilderness First Aid

Ian Roberts, co-founder of TrainWise, will teach the 16-hour course. Participants earn a two-year certification recognized by the American Camping Association, U.S. Coast Guard and various guide licensing boards.

The Wilderness First Aid curriculum covers patient assessment, rescue techniques, fractures/dislocations, splint improvisation, spinal cord injury, managing environmental emergencies, shock and preparedness.

“I’m an avid hiker; I hike a couple days a week and I lead hikes,” said Colgate, who came up for the class from her home in Estes Park. “I just felt like anything I could learn would be more than I know now. If I ever got hurt or somebody I was hiking with got hurt, I’m able to confidently help. This is a must-have training for anyone who spends time in the Colorado backcountry”

In the case of most medical emergencies, care within the first few hours – and sometimes minutes – is the key to saving someone’s life or limb, Roberts emphasized. With this training course he hopes to teach people enough wilderness first aid to keep his or her hiking partner alive until advanced medical care arrives.

Wfa3Hands-on practice with medical scenarios is an important part of the course. For example, participants practice splinting broken bones with available materials and bundling up a hypothermia victim. At the end of the last course, students rotated through a series of role-plays where asking the right questions could be a matter of life and death. One of their patients leaned against a building clutching his chest. Another wheezed ominously. Yet another turned out to be diabetic. To learn more about TrainWise courses, see

The cost of $165 covers instruction, certification and supplies. Advanced registration is required. Online registration is available at Questions? Email or call 720-443-3463.