Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Snakebite – Treatment Costs How Much?!

Snakebite - Treatment Costs How Much?!

If you are ever unlucky enough to be bitten by a venomous snake, don’t panic and assume that you are going to die, because the chances are, despite common belief, you won’t.  In the United States, there are roughly 45,000 snakebites reported each year, of which 8,000 are confirmed venomous.  Of this, only about 8 people die, usually due to some complicating factor — the victim was likely very old, very young, or suffered from an underlying medical condition.  What, instead, is the greater likelihood, which most don’t seem to appreciate, is that the snakebite will cause you a major life altering change.  In particular, amputation of the bitten limb.  And a catastrophic medical bill. Just ask 11-year old, Benjamin Smith, who, as the Gainesville Sun reported, was bitten last month by an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. Thankfully, Ben will be just fine thanks to the excellent medical care that he received […]

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Test Yourself — Wilderness First Aid Scenario

Test Yourself -- Wilderness First Aid Scenario

On a sunny, very hot and humid day in early August, you are hiking along the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail when, at about 3:30, you spot up ahead two hikers who look to be resting in the shade.  As you approach them, one of them asks if you have any medical training.  Hesitantly, you acknowledge that you are Wilderness First Aid certified (and you suddenly begin to perspire a bit more heavily than you did a minute before).  She then explains that her companion, Robert, has grown increasingly ill over the last hour and she isn’t sure if he should be evacuated or if he can continue to their planned shelter site. You introduce yourself to Robert and with his consent you begin your assessment of him after putting on your blue nitrile gloves.  Robert, who is 42 years old, complains that he is feeling nauseous and even vomited 30 […]

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Survival Skill: Lightning Safety

Survival Skill: Lightning Safety

Now that the warm season of Spring and Summer is upon us, so is the season for thunder and lightning.  The Wilderness Medical Society (WMS) reports that an estimated 400 lightning injuries occur annually.  Still, the chance of death is quite low as the WMS reports, at roughly 40 deaths per year (as compared to approximately 70 flood-related deaths and 30 avalanche-related deaths which occur yearly). Still, who really wants to be struck by lightning?! Whether it is a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) or wilderness survival course, True North likes to believe that prevention is the best form of medicine.  So, since many of us will be spending much time outdoors, especially hiking and camping along the Alleghenies or paddling the Three Rivers and surrounding waterways, and even quite a few of you will be leading groups outdoors and so will be responsible for their safety, I thought that I would share […]

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Preparation: The Key to Survival

Preparation: The Key to Survival

The key to being best able to get through any emergency is being prepared before it even happens. Learning new skills, and practicing them, then, will help you better and more safely respond when the moment counts. That’s why Pittsburgh firefighters, police, and EMS volunteered yesterday to train along Slippery Rock Creek in McConnell’s Mill State Park yesterday.  Why?  In the wake of the flash flood in August 2011 along Washington Boulevard in the Highland Park section of Pittsburgh that killed four people and stranded many dozens of others, they wanted to be better equipped to handle urban flooding should the same situation ever arise. To learn more about what they did, check out the article in the Tribune Review and their additional photographs: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/4192672-74/rescue-creek-park#axzz2WK7CvgAP Would you, too, like to be better prepared the next time that you had out on your next outdoor adventure with friends and family — […]

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YMCA Ranger Staff Training

YMCA Ranger Staff Training

I just finished a very busy, but very wonderful, week working with the four leaders of the Ranger Program at YMCA Camp Ockanickon & Matollionequay located in Medford, New Jersey. Monika and Jessica, and Matt and Zach, will be spending this summer leading trips that hike up a portion of the Appalachian Trail through Northeastern Pennsylvania, then paddle down the Delaware River. So we worked together to get them certified in Wilderness First Aid (WFA), learn the fundamentals of land navigation, and develop their backcountry skills as they get ready to soon head out on their own with their groups. With only three days to train, our schedule and work was compressed and intense, not to mention the rain, heat, and ticks. But these four worked extremely hard, and they did so with smiles on their faces, sprinkled with much laughter, the entire time. Trust me, they may have had […]

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More WFA News

More WFA News

True North just completed yesterday a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course for a great group. Several of them are Boy Scout leaders who are preparing to take their Scouts to Seabase next month, while two others are getting ready to head to Brazil with Engineers Without Borders as part of a development project. Many thanks to all of them!

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WFA News

WFA News

Last night, I started the first of a four session Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course with Scout leaders at BSA Camp Guyasuta in Sharpsburg. Not only are they a great bunch, but Camp Guyasuta is truly a hidden gem. Most people (including me) have been whizzing by it on Route 28 for years, not really knowing that it’s there. Trust me, it is truly a slice of peaceful wilderness tucked away in a largely urban landscape. I’m thinking that True North may need to hold more classes there!

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Butler Outdoors Club Workshop

Butler Outdoors Club Workshop

Erik spent part of his Memorial day with a great group from the Butler Outdoors Club as part of their “Outdoors Extravaganza” teaching them how to build a fire. Now they are better prepared in an emergency to build a knee high fire in the pouring rain in five minutes. Don’t think it can be done? It can. Just ask this group. Don’t know how? Then consider enrolling in one of True North’s upcoming survival courses. Many thanks to Becca for helping out. Hope that you are all enjoy a safe and happy holiday.

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Let’s Not Forget the Rescuers

Let's Not Forget the Rescuers

Yesterday marked the end of a rescue story in Southern California that gripped much of the nation this week.  In Cleveland National Forest, which boasts 720 miles of rugged mountain wilderness, two young adults parked their vehicle on Sunday at a trailhead not more than a handful of miles from suburban housing tracts, shopping malls, and a Starbucks.  While the details have yet to fully emerge, it looks like the pair set off for a day hike without proper equipment or clothing, including water, and then, at some point soon after their start, ventured off the well blazed trails to try to get a better view of the area’s waterfalls.  They soon, though, became lost and then, somehow, became separated.  As a Sheriff’s spokesman stated to the Associated Press, “I have no doubt that they came out here with the best of intentions … but this is a complicated environment and […]

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Special Course Discount from True North!

Special Course Discount from True North!

Would you like to volunteer your time to do something that is valuable for the environment … And learn potentially life saving skills while definitely saving some of your hard earned money?  Then read on! Erik has already registered with Paddle Without Pollution (PWP) to volunteer his time on Saturday, 25 May at their cleanup on the Allegheny River near Tarentum.  He believes that PWP is offering another fantastic opportunity to enjoy a wonderful Spring day helping the river and its surrounding region that he has grown to love, while meeting a lot of great people in the process. But Erik certainly doesn’t want to keep such a great opportunity all to himself … He wants all of his friends from the True North community to join in too! So as special incentive for you to join in the event, Erik is offering a 20% discount on True North’s upcoming Wilderness […]

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