This summer I decided to plan for my next level of outdoor emergency care and I was faced with the choice of taking a WFR (Wilderness First Responder) course or OEC course (Outdoor Emergency Care). Because I have always been interested in volunteering in a ski patrol I opted for OEC – it also seemed that the training was similar in nature to WFR. OEC is the National Ski Patrol mandated course, meaning that all NSP ski patrollers need to be OEC certified (some are EMTs which is kind of the same).
After looking for a class on the NSP site I found that the patrol I wanted to join in Mammoth did offer a class in Burbank and it seemed very convenient except that I was going to be out of town for too many classes (running UTMB for instance) and I wasn’t sure I could commit to two nights a week (and teaching also two nights a week). So I settled on two weeks intensive in Squaw Valley in November – I found the class through the NSP web site. I got in touch with the instructor and he had a web site set up and directed us, students, to read the OEC book on our own, some 1300 pages of emergency medicine instruction. I read the book twice over the summer until I became confident taking the exams and scoring about 94% on my own (we had access to a number of past exams). It was a lot of medical information to digest but I loved it, there’s so much to know about the human body and trauma.