First Aid Changes


As most of you are aware the 2001 Commercial Operating Regulation (cor's) have been implemented. The big change is in First Aid requirements. The purpose of the changes is to shift the focus of Emergency Medical Service (ems) training to Wilderness First Aid, which is becoming the standard for the industry. The previous First Aid requirements (American Red Cross First Responder) are geared to First Aid in an urban setting (ambulance readily available). This training simply does not prepare one to deal with medical emergencies in the Grand Canyon. Although there will be exceptions to the new requirements, as noted below, the purpose of the changes is to have all guides certified in Wilderness Advanced First Aid (wafa) and all trip leaders certified as Wilderness First Responders (wfr).
In the past few years many guides and trip leaders have certified in Wilderness Advanced First Aid and/or Wilderness First Responder. This has greatly improved the care given to accident victims. Assessment of the victim has improved dramatically. As a result, better decisions are being made as to whether transportation/ evacuation is necessary. Guides following Wilderness protocols and completing soap notes are following protocols similar to those of the nps emt's and Paramedics. This “continuity of care” results in improved patient outcome.

The new requirements are as follows:
Guides:
Must be certified in Wilderness Advanced First aid (wafa) through a program sponsored in the U.S. Higher emergency medical certifications obtained in the U.S. will also qualify (emt, wemt, Emergency Medical Doctor).
Guides certified through the American Red Cross First Responder course prior to December 31, 2000 may continue guiding as long as that certification does not lapse. (In other words as long as your First Responder does not expire you are okay. The idea though is to get everyone to go through wafa rather then continue to recertify in American Red Cross First Responder.)
Trip Leaders (tl):
Must be certified as a Wilderness First Responder (wfr) through a program sponsored in the U.S. Again, higher emergency medical certifications obtained in the U.S. above wfr will also qualify (emt, wemt, Emergency Medical Doctor).
Trip leaders certified through the American Red Cross First Responder course prior to December 31, 2000, also qualify as long as that certification does not lapse. (Again, as long as your First Responder does not expire you are okay. The idea though is to get trip leaders to certify in wfr rather then recertify in American Red Cross First Responder.)
Current Exceptions:
Any certified guide or tl possessing a current guide card is permitted to continue guiding under the 1999 certification requirements until their current guide license expires.
Any guide or tl with a current guide card needing to recertify their guide license prior to January 1, 2002, will be permitted to use the 1999 certification requirements.
Any guide or tl with a current guide card who recertifies their guide license after January 1, 2002, will be required to meet the full requirements of the 2001 cor's.
Michael McGinnis
acting Wilderness District Ranger