Safety Training and Fieldwork Preparation in Alaska

My April with the Chugach National Forest was rainy and full of field trainings!  I attended many informative and crucial field trainings such as shore survival, bear and wildlife safety, radio and dispatch trainings, and various health trainings.  Many of these courses were held at the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center in Portage, Alaska.  This visitor center is located right at the mouth of the Portage Glacier.  When it was built in the 1960s, Portage Glacier almost touched the building; now, the glacier is only visible if you take a boat into the glacial valley.  This dynamic environment was a definite treat as a backdrop for multiple days of safety training.

My favorite training, by far, was the two-day Wilderness First Aid course.  This class was a crash course in human anatomy and field ingenuity with a couple of patient assessment drills and labs, which required us to test our acting and improvising skills!  (In the picture to the left, I have a fake head wound with a possible TBI for a field assessment drill.  I was happy I could just easily wipe it off after class!).  I learned how to make slings out of backpacks and jackets, thoroughly field clean and dress a wound, make splints out of duct tape, sleeping bags, and sticks, and recognize when field treatment is possible and emergency evacuation is necessary.

I learned so much and cannot wait to learn more.  I now hold a Wilderness First Aid certificate which is good for three years.  This course inspired me to continue my medical training, and I am looking to register for Wilderness First Responder and possibly Wilderness EMT training.  I have been working in field archaeology for eight years before this internship, and thanks to the extensive training I received over the past few weeks, I have never entered a field season with more confidence in my abilities to keep myself and my fellow team members safe.  

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