Island Updates

Wilderness Medical Associates

Wilderness Advanced Life Support

This is the second year we have hosted a Wilderness Advanced Life Support (WALS) certification course on Hurricane. We were joined by a talented group of participants with backgrounds ranging from emergency nurses to an anesthesiologist. One of the most challenging aspects of this course for participants is that they are no longer in a familiar resource-and-expertise-rich hospital environment, and have to improvise with the medical bag they brought to the scene, trying to stabilize a situation without much outside support and working with a real time delay until they can evacuate their patient to definitive medical care. 

Olivia, Alice and Chloe get into character before the final evening scenario

One of my favorite parts of this course is that Hurricane staff get to help out and act as patients during full-group scenarios. During the final evening scenario we got moulage to simulate our bruising and open wounds, and we were also given a laundry list of symptoms and afflictions ranging from a dislocated patella to a traumatic brain injury (TBI) to an amputated hand. Covered in fake blood and strewn across the field, we waited to be approached by the response team. You can learn a lot about emergency situations by participating in a scenario-- it was incredible to hear how the team communicated information about their patients, worked out an evacuation plan, and triaged the situation. They worked calmly and efficiently, and recognized each others expertise in certain areas, passing stabilized patients off to one another in order to fully attend to the more extreme injuries. 

Everyone on the course was up to the challenge and got out of their comfort zone to learn a new set of skills and apply their medical knowledge to dealing with emergencies in a wilderness setting. We are looking forward to more WALs programs, and hope to see everyone who participated back out on Hurricane Island in the future!

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5-Day WFR 2015

Participants from the second Wilderness First Responder (WFR) program of our 2015 season enjoyed Hurricane Island at the peak of summer and the peak of our busy season. Along with 14 WFR participants, we were also running our Marine Biology summer program and hosting Overland students as part of their Maine Leadership program. All combined, we had nearly 60 participants and staff on the island for a sun-filled week which was bustling with activity!

Participants learn how to improvise splints using lifejackets, sleeping pads, and other available materials

WFR courses are normally a week long, so the five-day WFR is always a whirlwind of instruction. Participants split time learning in the classroom about how body systems respond to shock and stress, and in the field where staged scenarios gave everyone hands-on learning opportunities to stabilize patients suffering from a range of ailments including lightning strikes, traumatic brain injuries, and hypothermia. One of the realities of living on Hurricane is that we are in a "wilderness" setting and cannot immediately access definitive care. Safety is a priority out here, so is our pleasure to support the efforts of Wilderness Medical Associates and send more certified first responders out into the world! Congratulations, and thanks for helping save lives!

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Wilderness First Responder

Playing out a scenario means that students are engaged both as patients and as responders-- here a student records and assesses the severity of the situation

We are pleased to announce that there are eight newly trained and certified Wilderness First Responders ready to go out and troubleshoot injuries from sprained ankles to lightning strikes. With guidance from their qualified and fearless Wilderness Medical Associates leader, Deborah, students systematically learned the symptoms of and how to respond to acute stress reactions, compensated volume shock, traumatic brain injuries, hypothermia, and anaphylaxis, among other wilderness emergencies.

These programs are hands-on and active, so students were setting up scenarios all around Hurricane. The reality of these scenarios was also reinforced by the fact that Hurricane is 12 miles offshore, and removed from immediate access to definitive care.  The staff got used to pretend shrieks for help, and the sight of someone walking around the kitchen sporting a fake wound or washing off fake blood was the new baseline for the week.

It is always a pleasure to support wilderness medical training programs, as we look forward to the five-day WFR program as well as a WALS and WEMT programs coming up in August! There is still space in the programs, so reserve your spot by registering today!

I can’t think of any location better suited for our week-long WFR training. From brilliant sunrises in the boathouse to outdoor showers overlooking the working waterfront to days spent in our rustic classroom to sunset picnics on the beach, Hurricane Island provided an inspiring environment that promoted a sense of camaraderie that made our experience one for the memory books. I treasure my time spent on the island, and look forward to soon returning to the island, her people and her food!
— Keryn G. WFR Participant

A student gets moulage to act the part of a patient who fell off a ladder in a scenario

Responders team up to safely extricate their patient to a different location so they can properly examine him during a scenario

Newly graduated WFRs!

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