Guidelines for Establishing Wilderness Medicine Protocols for Schools, Colleges, & Outfitters Offering Training and Trips in Outdoor Recreation & Education
For the purpose of this document “Wilderness Protocols” are defined as any protocols outside the traditional EMS curriculum but supported by practice guidelines published by the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS), the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP), and the American Heart Association (AHA), and the Scope of Practice documents published by the Wilderness Medicine Education Collaborative (WMEC). They will likely include but are not limited to:
In conjunction with their physician advisor, each institution should establish written wilderness medicine protocols to act as guidelines for the field management of trauma, environmental, and medical problems. The protocols should define when they should be used based on the timeliness of conventional EMS response. Wilderness Medicine Protocols are usually in effect when a group is longer than one hour from definitive care (with the exception of immediately life-threatening situations: e.g.: severe asthma, anaphylaxis, etc.) Institutions should also develop a first aid kit designed to support their guidelines and staff should be trained in the use of the kit contents on a regular basis. The use of weatherproof Patient SOAP Notes for documentation is highly encouraged.
We recommend that institutions and their physician advisors review the NAEMSP position papers, WMS practice guidelines, and the WMEC Scope of Practice Documents before amending them to the needs of their program(s). Institutions should consider adopting the following general guidelines for staff trained to the Wilderness First Responder Level (WFR):
Authorization should be in the form of a written document that clearly identifies:
Looking for a reliable field reference? Consider consider purchasing one of our print or digital handbooks; our digital handbook apps are available in English, Spanish, and Japanese. Updates are free for life. A digital SOAP note app is also available.
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