Wilderness First Aid

For the last two years we wanted to follow a WFA training. We both took a regular first aid class several years ago. But the Dutch first aid courses teach first aid in anticipation for the ambulance that, in the Netherlands, will arrive within 15 minutes. Because of our remote destinations it is very unlikely that there will be an ambulance within 15 minutes, if at all. So we basically needed a first- and second-aid course.

After a thorough search on the internet we decided to follow the Wilderness First Aid training, a more common training in North America. It wasn’t easy to find a course in the Netherlands. And when we did, we lucked out four times! Not enough participants, too many, the trainer couldn’t make it from Canada and the last time of course because of corona. We already sort of accepted that we would leave without this training, but I searched the internet one more time. And found a different result: “ehbo op reis” (first aid travelling) which also provided the WFA training. We had two dates available, the 5th and 6th of July of the 25th and 26th of July. We signed up up for the latter, but by the end of June we got a mail form Siebe Sietsma, the guy who organised the training. There weren’t enough participants for our weekend for the training to go ahead. Damn, again! We had hoped that our fifth attempt would be lucky. And the training for the 5/6th of July was fully booked….

But Siebe gave us a great opportunity to be able to follow the WFA training anyway. If we were willing to come to Friesland where he lived instead of the training center in the middle of the Netherlands, we would be able to learn everything we needed in a one-day training for just the two of us. If more participants would sign up in the meantime, the training would go ahead as planned before. Well we didn’t have to think twice and immediately said YES! In the weeks up to the training Siebe was very helpful by telling us what first aid material and medication we really needed, so we could order it in time.

Relaxing along a small Friesland lake after an intense course

Saturday the 25th we finally had our long awaited WFA training and it was definitely worth the wait and the drive! In one long day we learned what to do in almost every possible scenario. From a simple blister, to a snakebite, broken limps, hypothermia (catastrophic) bleeding, cardiac arrest and much more. He taught us to follow the CABCDE protocol and to always be aware of your own safety first. We got to practise with 2 “real” cases. Siebe didn’t only explain when, what and how but also why, which is very important if you’re on your own and you’re the one making the decisions. He also taught us what information the medical responders need to make the right decision about how urgent and what kind of help is needed. At the end of the day really all of our questions were answered. We hope we never need to use our knowledge but if we do, we now feel confident we know what to do. We really recommend this WFA training with Siebe for anybody who travels off the beaten track.

And while we were off training, Binkie had a great weekend with the cat-sitter who has more toys, scratching posts, and cat beds than several pet stores combined! I already took a first aid class for cats several years ago and up until now, Binkie’s first-aid kit was better equipped than ours!

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