The numerous members of GARNA (Greater Arkansas River Nature Association) have many talents they bring to this valley. One GARNA member, Bob (Robert) Meyer, helped expand the skills of seven more GARNA members recently. Meyer, a certified trainer who works with the Chaffee County Fire Protection District, provided members of the Upper Arkansas Wilderness Volunteers (UAWV) with their First Aid Certification and CPR training in November, 2016.
The training included instruction in the latest methods of CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) and First Aid treatment and was strongly recommended by the Forest Service in consideration of the work done by UAWV in the Forest Service wilderness areas of Chaffee County.
UAWV members often work in crews of 2-3 people in remote areas of the County clearing fallen trees, relocating drainage, rebuilding trails and cleaning up campsites on behalf of the Forest Service. These remote areas are far from first aid resources. The goal of the training was to provide UAWV members with the skills necessary to save a life in the event of an injury or emergency while performing their work in these remote areas.
The seven newly-certified people also learned how to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and were trained in the latest methods for handling wounds, bites, heat and cold related injuries, poison emergencies, head, neck and spinal injuries, broken bones and sprains, burns and electrical injuries, and other injuries—all types of emergencies that might occur working in the wilderness areas of Chaffee County. One attendee, John McCarthy, said, “Bob was an excellent instructor! He provided practical examples of how to apply First Aid skills from his years of experience as a firefighter/EMT. He instilled a ‘Yeah, I can do this’ attitude in me.”
CPR and basic First Aid training are essential skills for anyone heading into the back country. It is important to remember we live in a rural county where emergency response may be 15-30 minutes away. In the case of cardiac arrest or significant injury, it could mean the difference between life and death. “Most folks are unsure of what to do in an emergency, other than call 911,” said Kate Garwood, a training coordinator with UAWV. “But this training provided all of us with information and skills we will need immediately to help save a friend’s life until Search and Rescue or EMTs arrive.”
Costs for the training were covered, in part, by a grant received from the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance (NWSA) through its “Boots on the Ground” program. The NWSA is building a nationwide network of volunteer organizations that provide stewardship for America’s enduring resource of wilderness. Its vision is to see each wilderness area in the National Wilderness Preservation System adopted by a wilderness stewardship organization, like UAWV, dedicated to protecting, restoring and nurturing the area’s wilderness.
UAWV, a chapter of GARNA (Greater Arkansas Nature Association), was one of only 19 organizations nationwide to receive a grant through NWSA.