On a two-day weekend in November, 2021, members of the NGEE Arctic LANL snow survey field team participated in Wilderness First Aid training hosted by the Los Alamos Nature Center and led by SOLO, a world leader in wilderness first aid education. Together with about 20 other participants, an instructor from SOLO led the team through 16 hours of in-class learning and field scenarios. The in-class learning included lectures, discussion, and demonstrations, supported by a training manual and interactive participation between the instructors and the class. A big part of the training also included practice of specific skills during ‘scenario-style’ events—assessing a patient, treating for simulated injuries, building a splint, and addressing shock, to for example. During these scenarios, the team had a chance to practice what and how to respond to emergencies such as hypothermia, spinal injury, or broken limbs. This type of learning and practice is highly valuable for the team, since in field help will be up to two hours away and field crews would need to stabilize and monitor patients prior to emergency evacuation or other medical support arrives. This type of training is new to NGEE Arctic, and will be implemented at other Labs and institutions over the coming year. The movement towards more advanced medical training for staff and students participating in the NGEE Arctic project highlights the increasing focus on safety, security, psychological safety, and mental health priorities for all NGEE Arctic team members given unprecedented situations that the project faced over the past several years, including consideration and implementation of COVID emergency protocols and responses.
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