Tag Archives: first aid

WEMR at Tremont…


The great instructors over at Roane State are teaching a Wilderness Emergency Responder, formerly known as “Wilderness First Responder”, class over at Tremont in January.

I preach that good survival skills, medical skills, and land nav skills prepare you for 99% of wilderness emergencies. The only person responsible for your safety in the wilderness is yourself. A WEMR class is a great step in that direction.


Check it out here: WEMR at Tremont

Survival Weekly – 12/15/14…


Welcome to another edition of Survival Weekly, where the real wilderness survival “reality show” plays out everyday, in the wild places around our world. These unscripted stories will give you insight to the true threats and challenges you may face in your outdoor pursuits. So sit back, relax, and read on to get a dose of reality to sharpen your most valuable survival tool. – BPO

Featured – 

I pulled this story out, not only because it is a good read, but because the following statement is false

“If you don’t have a way to keep the lighter dry, once the flint is wet, it’s not going to work,” said Armstrong. –  http://www.nelsonstar.com/news/285726061.html

A lighter is a valuable tool and has limitations, but with the right knowledge and skills they can be overcome. After spending the night in 28 degree weather with only a sheet of plastic, Carol (and her lighter) soaked in 40 degree water for almost 10 bone chilling minutes. Once she emerged into the 38 degree weather with 10 mph winds, she built a fire with only natural tinder and her wet lighter. 

Methodical, trained, and now skilled..


News – 

EMS in technical rescues – http://www.firehouse.com/news/12025075/applying-ems-capabilities-to-a-technical-rescue-incident

Winter Sports – 

Two snowboarders rescued – http://flatheadbeacon.com/2014/12/08/two-skiers-rescued-hellroaring-basin/

Hiking – 

Stranded hiker rescued – http://www.jrn.com/ktnv/news/Search-and-Rescue-team-looking-for-stranded-hiker-at-Red-Rock-285645901.html

Lost hikers rescued – http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/local/2014/12/14/hikers-rescued-palm-springs/20402215/

Hunter-gatherer – 

Missing Christmas tree hunter rescued – http://www.kcaw.org/2014/12/08/lost-christmas-tree-hunter-found-after-intensive-search/

Missing hunter rescued – http://www.capebretonpost.com/News/Local/2014-12-11/article-3972209/RCMP,-search-and-rescue-locate-missing-hunter/1

Large scale search for missing hunter continues –  http://www.skyhidailynews.com/news/14194849-113/search-rescue-county-gcsar

Search for missing hunter enters two week mark – http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/12/missing_new_cumberland_teen_se.html

Climbing – 

Stranded climber airlifted off cliff – http://globalnews.ca/news/1720500/watch-thai-navy-rescues-climber-stuck-on-cliff/

Fatality in New Zealand alps – http://home.nzcity.co.nz/news/article.aspx?id=198699

Water Safety – 

Rescuer swept into Los Angeles River (with video) –  https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152931017849614&fref=nf

Couple rescued from flooding Los Angeles river –  http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Rescuer-Dives-Into-Swollen-LA-River-Searching-for-Men-Reported-Clinging-to-Trees-285634601.html

Coast Guard rescues four off Keys – http://keysnews.com/node/61117

Fourteen rescued from sinking boat –   http://www.kelownanow.com/watercooler/news/news/Provincial/14/12/12/Marine_Search_and_Rescue_Save_14_From_Sinking_Boat

Stuck in the mud. Girls rescued from tidal flats – http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/watch-incredible-moment-two-teenage-4808684

Vehicles – 

Search and rescue team locates missing boys from stranded vehicle –  http://www.ecprogress.com/index.php?tier=1&article_id=16576

Search underway for missing ATV riders – http://www.adn.com/article/20141213/3-missing-near-kwethluk-atv-recovered-river

Urban – 

Interested in learning skills to handle emergencies like the ones you read in Survival Weekly?   Check out BigPig Outdoors Survival 101 class  – http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.html


Wilderness First Responder class at Tremont…


If you’ve been studying Survival Weekly, you know that a very high percentage of wilderness survival scenarios revolve around injury. The ability to assess, treat, and package a trip member can be a real lifesaving skill.

Kirk Harris and his crew will be teaching a Wilderness First Responder class January 18 – 25 at Tremont Institute in the Smokies. There are a lot of WFR programs run all over the country, but as far as I know, this is the only one that will allow you to test for National Registry First Responder, or EMR now, which is a double whammy. Wilderness skills and National Registry all in one class!!

 While I have not taken this class, I have had the pleasure Kirk’s EMT refreshers for the Ranger division over the years and can attest to his level of knowledge, experience, and teaching ability. Kirk was saving lives, while I was still pooping my diaper..

Click here for more info: http://www.gsmit.org/wfr.html

Survival Weekly – 10/27/14…


Welcome to another edition of Survival Weekly, where the real wilderness survival “reality show” plays out everyday, in the wild places around our world. These unscripted stories will give you insight to the true threats and challenges you may face in your outdoor pursuits. So sit back, relax, and read on to get a dose of reality to train your most valuable tool – Bigpig

Featured – 

SOS note launches rescue – http://online.wsj.com/articles/sos-note-delivered-on-horseback-from-himalayas-helps-save-hundreds-of-lives-1413762224

News – 

College SAR team saving lives – http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/acb69a245a2f426fb31a2c43a5ea8ea7/FL–Student-Saviors/

Controversial debate on billing –



Hunter/Gatherer – 

Missing hunters found –http://www.steamboattoday.com/news/2014/oct/21/search-and-rescue-called-search-overdue-hunters/

Stranded hunters rescued – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11345702

Mushroom hunters rescued – http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/crime/2014/10/22/polk-county-search-and-rescue-locate-man-in-coastal-range/17745975/

More mushroom mania – http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/10/22/3446059/tacoma-mushroom-hunters-rescued.html?sp=/99/1683/

Hiking – 

Injured hiker rescued – http://www.summitdaily.com/news/13468968-113/group-rescue-pitman-hiker

Missing hiker rescued – http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/state-regional/missing–year-old-hiker-rescued/article_8d66b084-89d1-5ab4-a9e0-533d8afb3ab6.html

Climbing – 

Zion National Park (UT)
Climber Dies In 80-Foot Fall

A 47-year-old climber from California died in an 80-foot fall on the afternoon of Sunday, October 19th.

Christopher Spencer was hiking with a fellow climber to the base of “Iron Messiah,” a technical 5.10 climb in Zion Canyon near the Zion Lodge which the duo planned to climb together. They were on an approach pitch in easy fifth class terrain when Spencer apparently fell backward, tumbling approximately 80 feet down the steep slope and striking a series of ledges. Spencer was not roped in and was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Rangers were notified of the accident at approximately 11 a.m. via 911 calls placed by his partner and another witness.  Park medics located and reached Spencer by noon. Due to the steep rocky terrain, rangers needed to belay the litter with three attendants down the scree field.  Park medics and a requested Lifeflight medical crew stabilized Spencer during the almost three hour technical evacuation.

Spencer was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center by Lifeflight, where he succumbed to his injuries. This was the eighth climbing fatality in the park since 1983.

Injured climber rescued – http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/2513023-151/smith-rock-climber-injured-in-20-foot-fall?entryType=0

Water Safety – 

Marines rescue Boy Scout troop –           http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/article/20141022/NEWS/310220068/Yuma-Marines-rescue-lost-Boy-Scouts-near-Colorado-River

Two boaters rescued – http://www.airmedandrescue.com/story/two-retrieved-corpus-christi-bay968

Body of missing sailor recovered –   http://www.theolympian.com/2014/10/26/3391225/search-resumes-for-missing-man.html

Coast Guard rescues three – http://www.pressherald.com/2014/10/26/coast-guard-rescues-three-after-sailboat-capsizes-in-portland-harbor/

Vehicles – 

ATV rider found chillin’ at his friends house – http://www.havasunews.com/news/subject-of-search-and-rescue-located-at-his-friend-s/article_a5539604-58e7-11e4-b2bc-fb3650e5d84a.html

Helicopter crash – http://www.airmedandrescue.com/story967

Injured cyclist rescued – http://www.onebakersfield.com/2014/10/kern-valley-search-and-rescue-assist-injured-bicyclist-on-mountain-trail/

Urban – 


Survival Weekly – 9/8/14…


Featured –

Because deer season is right around the corner – http://wthitv.com/2014/08/28/conservation-officers-find-man-almost-24-hours-after-tree-stand-accident/

Hunter/Gatherer – 

Bear chases bow hunter up tree and bites his leg – http://www.wsoctv.com/ap/ap/strange/bear-chases-bow-hunter-up-tree-bites-his-leg/nhGzp/?ecmp=wsoctv_social_facebook_2014_sfp

Body of boy recovered from fishing accident –  http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2014/09/01/reports-crews-searching-great-miami-for-boy/14935449/

Father drowns on fishing trip – http://www.toledoblade.com/Police-Fire/2014/09/07/Man-attempting-rescue-missing.html

Hiking – 

Yosemite National Park (CA)
Visitors Evacuated By Helicopter Due To Fire

A wildfire that started early yesterday afternoon east of Half Dome quickly grew to 700 acres and forced the helicopter evacuation of about 100 hikers from the top of Half Dome, Little Yosemite Valley and surrounding trails.  

There were no reported injuries or structures affected by the wildfire.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Throughout the afternoon, seven helicopters, an airplane, and ground crews worked to extinguish the fire. The area, which is at an elevation of about 7,000 feet, features rugged terrain.  Ground access requires a several mile hike to the area affected by the fire. 

Yosemite National Park firefighters are working with fire crews from Cal Fire, Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks, Mariposa County Fire, California Highway Patrol, and U.S. Forest Service.  There are over 100 firefighters dedicated to the fire, with more resources en route. 

Yosemite National Park remains open and all facilities within Yosemite Valley.  Trails near the Half Dome area, the Little Yosemite Valley area (a backcountry camping area near Half Dome), Merced Lake and Sunrise High Sierra Camps, Clouds Rest, and Echo Valley remain closed due to fire activity.  All roads leading into Yosemite remain open as well. 

Visitors are urged to check the park’s website to get updated information in the smoke impacts to Yosemite National Park.  Updated information can be found at www.nps.gov/yose

Olympic National Park (WA)
Search Underway For Missing Backpacker

A search was begun late Saturday for Kelly Hall, a 64-year old Bainbridge Island man who was two days overdue from an intended six-day, 39-mile hike in the northeast corner of of the park. 

Hall began his hike on Saturday, August 30th, setting out from the Obstruction Point Trailhead near Hurricane Ridge.  Family members expected to meet him at the USFS Slab Camp Trailhead last Thursday afternoon.  He was reported overdue on Thursday evening.

Hall’s planned itinerary was to hike through Grand Valley to Grand Pass, then continue over Cameron Pass, pass through Dose Meadows to Gray Wolf Pass, and follow the Gray Wolf Trail into the Buckhorn Wilderness in Olympic National Forest. 

Hall is described as being 6’5” tall and weighing 220 pounds. He’s carrying a blue backpack and wearing a blue Mountain Hardware stocking cap. He’s believed to be carrying a blue-gray tent and to have orange flip flops and a fishing pole tied to his pack. Anyone who’s seen him or knows something about his possible whereabouts is asked to call the park at at 360-565-3120.

As of late yesterday, there were 16 searchers in the field, including National Park Service employees and volunteers, plus volunteers from Olympic Mountain Rescue, Clallam County Search and Rescue, and German Shepherd Search Dogs. 

Lake Clark National Park & Preserve (AK)
Four Hikers Rescued From Copper Mountain

On the evening of Sunday, August 31st, four hikers were rescued from Copper Mountain in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.  Three of the hikers were off-duty Lake Clark employees.

The National Park Service’s Alaska Region Communication Center received a distress call from a park radio around 7:30 p.m., reporting that a seasonal maintenance employee in the group had sustained a life-threatening injury in a fall.  Members of the party provided first aid, but they were unable to move him due to  unstable terrain.

National Park Service personnel and Alaska state troopers in Port Alsworth worked with the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center to rescue the hikers. The Air National Guard responded with an HC-130 aircraft and an HH-60 helicopter with pararescue jumpers. 

During the hoisting operation, another seasonal maintenance employee for Lake Clark, who was on furlough from the Grand Canyon, sustained a significant head injury as a result of falling rock debris.  

All four hikers were brought aboard the helicopter and flown to Anchorage.  The two injured men are currently receiving treatment at Providence Alaska Medical Center.  


Injured hiker rescued – http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2014/09/rescue-underway-for-injured-hiker-near-mount-pugh/

Missing couple rescued – http://www.kpax.com/news/missing-couple-in-bighorn-national-forest-found-alive/


Climbing – 

Body of climber missing for weeks – http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/body-of-missing-blodgett-canyon-hiker-located/27927548

Climbers rescued – http://www.cfjctv.com/story.php?id=21045

More climbers rescued – http://www.wkyt.com/home/headlines/Rock-climbers-rescued-in-Wolfe-County-after-rain-floods-creek-274275681.html

Watersports – 

Search for missing swimmer – http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/rescue-crews-continue-search-for-missing-msu-student/27830804

Another search for a missing swimmer – http://www.havasunews.com/news/search-operation-on-lake-havasu-lasts-much-of-labor-day/article_c6939a0a-3257-11e4-acda-0019bb2963f4.html

Kayaker rescued from Lake Michigan –  http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2014/09/kayak_trip_across_lake_michiga_2.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+michigan-news+(Michigan+News%2C+Updates%2C+Photos%2C+Videos+and+Opinions+-+MLive.com)

Missing boater found – http://abc7chicago.com/news/man-missing-for-20-hours-on-lake-michigan-rescued/297441/

Alcohol and boating lead to body recovery – http://www.thewesternnews.com/news/man-s-body-recovered-from-middle-thompson-lake/article_b57f7eec-354e-11e4-b015-0019bb2963f4.html

Foot entrapmment of 9 year old boy – http://magicvalley.com/news/local/breaking-news-update-boy-rescued-from-pillar-falls-after-accident/article_2de6604e-361c-11e4-a359-001a4bcf887a.html

Vehicles – 

Stranded dirt biker rescued – http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/search-and-rescue-crews-looking-for-missing-dirt-b/25290/Yrnj2l3xrEKDKL3EZC3gwA

Horseback rider rescued – http://www.svherald.com/content/derek-jordan/2014/09/02/388731

Injured mountain biker rescued – http://www.kbzk.com/news/mountain-biker-rescued-near-triple-tree/

Small plane crash due to loss of cabin pressure –  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/unresponsive-u-s-plane-crashes-off-jamaica-official-says/

Survival Weekly – 6/8/14


Yellowstone National Park (ID,MT,WY)
Pilot Seriously Injured In Plane Crash In Park

A 54-year old man was injured when his single-engine airplane crashed in the park on Monday morning.

Shortly before 8:30 a.m., several callers reported that a small plane had crashed just north of the Gardiner Cemetery and east of Yellowstone Trail inside Yellowstone National Park. The accident site is south of the publicly-owned Gardiner Airport, which is outside the park boundary.

The seriously injured pilot was removed from the wreckage and transported by ambulance to Gardiner Airport, then transferred to a Summit Air Ambulance helicopter and taken to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital for treatment.

The plane is an Aero Commander agricultural aircraft, which is designed to carry a single pilot and no passengers.  The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have been notified of the accident, which is under investigation.

The Park County Sheriff’s Office and Gardiner Ambulance joined Yellowstone National Park law enforcement rangers, firefighters, and EMS personnel in a park ambulance in responding to the incident.


Mount Rainier National Park (WA)
Six Climbers Killed On Liberty Ridge

The search for a party of six overdue climbers on Liberty Ridge came to a tragic conclusion on May 31st when an air search identified personal items and detected avalanche beacon signals at a location 3,300 feet below the ridge in a debris field on the Carbon Glacier. This area correlates with the fall line in the area of the climbers’ last known location.

With all physical evidence at the scene suggesting that the party was buried in the debris field for nearly three days along with the 3,300 feet fall, it was determined that there was no chance of survival. 

Evidence suggests that the party was swept off the mountain in an avalanche-like event.  The final fall location is extremely hazardous due to continuous rock and ice fall from the ridge above.  Recovery efforts would require ground and aviation resources and would put recovery personnel in the direct path of these hazards.  Incident command made the decision to not conduct those efforts in light of the unacceptable risks to recovery personnel and the operation transitioned to a limited, continuous search at that time. Recovery efforts will be evaluated on an ongoing basis as conditions change. 

The party consisted of two Alpine Ascents International climbing guides and four clients. They last contacted their office on May 28th at approximately 6:00 pm by satellite phone from about 12,800 feet on the Liberty Ridge route. They reported that all was well at the time. The climbers were planning to make their push to the summit the following day. Alpine Ascents reported the overdue party at 4:30 pm on May 30th. 

Approximately 50 people were assigned to the operation, including park staff, commercial climbing guides and military personnel. A team of three climbing rangers conducted a ground search along the Liberty Ridge climbing route.  The US Army Reserve 214th Air Division out of Joint Base Lewis McChord and Northwest Helicopters provided the helicopter assets vital to locating the climbing victims. 

The combined efforts of the ground search and aerial search teams ensured that the suspected accident area was methodically searched for any evidence associated with the climbing victims.  

Drugs, phantom bears, and rescue – http://fox13now.com/2014/06/04/search-and-rescue-underway-in-logan-canyon/

Injured climber rescued http://www.ksl.com/?sid=30127569&nid=148

Stranded hikers rescued – http://fox13now.com/2014/05/31/search-and-rescue-crews-assisting-hikers-near-mt-olympus/

Boaters rescued – http://globalnews.ca/news/1367587/4-boaters-rescued-by-rcaf-search-and-rescue-crew-near-sooke/

Injured ATV rider rescued – http://www.kbzk.com/news/atv-rider-rescued-east-of-bozeman/

Rescue launched for missing man in lake – http://www.heraldargus.com/news/local/man-missing-in-lake-michigan/article_72ae67cc-e9b8-11e3-b884-001a4bcf887a.html

Lost on a jungle islandhttp://www.mysinchew.com/node/98781  &  http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/06/03/Huntley-is-probably-injured-says-search-and-rescue-specialist/

Injured and lost motorcycle riders rescued – http://www.krtv.com/news/search-teams-rescue-2-men-in-lewis-and-clark-national-forest/

Stranded hikers rescued – http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/261717631.html

Search initiated for injured hikers – http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/latestlocalnews/2237877-8/search-and-rescue-crews-deployed-to-help-injured

Injured hiker rescued by helicopter http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/comorant-search-and-rescue-helicopter-crew-transports-injured-hiker-to-hospital

Dehydrated hiker rescued – http://krwg.org/post/one-lucky-manthanks-grant-county-search-and-rescue

Lost climber rescued – http://www.antaranews.com/en/news/94350/rescue-team-finds-lost-climber-in-semeru

Tasmanian rescue crew locate three missing men – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-07/police-rescue-three-men-missing-in-tasmania/5507658

Mountain biker rescued – http://www.cowichannewsleader.com/news/262313161.html

Injured cyclist rescued – http://www.pentictonwesternnews.com/news/262297921.html

Stranded hiker rescued – http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/69ed17eee7184872b155fd50df92133d/NM–Mountain-Rescue

Survival Weekly – 6/1/14


Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Teenage Visitor Rescued From Ledge On Longs Peak

Samuel Frappier, a 19-year-old visitor from Quebec, was ascending Longs Peak with a friend on Tuesday when they became separated. As Frappier attempted to descend, he got himself stranded in an extremely precarious location on Broadway Ledge and called for help.

Although Frappier was reported to be fit, he had no technical climbing equipment and no experience as a mountaineer. He was also unprepared for a night on the mountain in snow and ice and near freezing temperatures.

A rescue operation was immediately launched. The park’s SAR team was joined in the effort by Rocky Mountain Rescue and a Teton Interagency helicopter. Nearly 30 people were committed to the operation.

Frappier was helped off the ledge, flown to an LZ in Upper Beaver Meadows, and taken to Estes Park Medical Center.

For additional details, see the news story and a minute-long video at the link below.


Another hiker stuck on a ledge – http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/central/provo/crews-rescue-hiker-in-rock-canyon/article_29d3a3d1-d453-51f6-a5f7-003f5b7c79cb.html

Six climbers missing on Mt. Ranier – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/31/mount-rainer-six-lost-search-rescue-washington

Updated: All six presumed dead: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/05/31/six-climbers-reported-missing-on-mt-rainier-helicopter-search-launched/

Search conitinues for missing Alaska hiker – http://www.adn.com/2014/05/28/3491047/juneau-outdoorswoman-missing-since.html?sp=/99/188/

Missing rafter – http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.krextv.com/story/23-year-old-center-of-rafting-search-and-rescue-20140527

Stranded climbers rescued – http://www.summitdaily.com/news/11594314-113/climbers-summit-mount-rescue

Stranded and injured hikers rescued – http://www.summitdaily.com/news/11594314-113/climbers-summit-mount-rescue

Rafters capsize and rescued – http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.theprogress.com/news/260674771.html

Skiers rescued after triggering avalanche – http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://mtstandard.com/news/local/military-helicopter-rescues-skiers-in-highlands/article_7319d1d4-e502-11e3-b178-001a4bcf887a.html

Missing hikers rescued after night out – http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/2-San-Diego-Hikers-Missing-on-Mt-Baldy-260685831.html

Injured hiker rescued – http://www.kptv.com/story/25606535/search-and-rescue-respond-to-injured-hiker-in-the-gorge

Missing ATV rider located – http://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna/115826/Okanagan-wilderness-rescue

Snowmobiler injured after driving off cliff – http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57987145-78/lake-helicopter-peck-able.html.csp