March 29, 2021 by Briana Hamilton
Getting certified in various skill & safety courses greatly increases your knowledge and confidence in the outdoors. (Meaning you get to explore more, and more safely!). A few organizations within the Calgary area offer courses including:
Wilderness first aid focuses on adaptive first aid and rescue skills suitable for backcountry and other remote locations. These skills are fundamental for efficient initial first aid care and stabilization in locations with limited physical access and access to emergency and medical resources.
Pet First-Aid courses are designed to teach you how to best respond to incidents such as injuries, heat stroke, poisoning and choking. This can truly be a life savior, especially when you’re in remote settings. They also review how to transport injured pets.
Avalanche Safety Training is a long, in depth process – there’s truly always more to learn. At a recreational level, however, Avalanche safety training consists of two levels; AST 1 and AST 2.
They cover fundamental skills including:
FYI: Above AST-1 and AST-2 there are additional courses including:
Wilderness survival courses review and enhance skills that are necessary to survive the outdoors with limited to no equipment. These skills are highly useful in unexpected, threatening scenarios as they help eliminate fear by replacing it with confidence.
Some of these skills include, but are not limited to signalling methods, building shelters and fire building techniques.
Animal encounters are one of the risks associated with outdoor adventure. When we put ourselves in their territory, we are putting the safety of both us and the animal(s) at risk.
These courses encompass specie identification, how to avoid confrontation and what to do if a confrontation does occur.
This course covers skills on how to complete both self rescue and peer rescues in high angle environments.
Although designed with climbers in mind, rope rescue training is equally useful for other sports! Not a bad skill to have if you find yourself scaling, shredding or scrambling those mountains!
Currently, RMAM is the only organization offering rope rescue training relative to outdoor sport and recreation.
(Various other companies offer rope rescue training but are focused around industrial workplace training and safety)
Swift water rescue courses encompass both proactive and reactive skills. Beyond learning how to properly execute rescues in various scenarios, you learn skills such as reading and reacting to water currents, obstacles and volume.
Even though jumping on a river or lake in a kayak, canoe or SUP seems simple enough, there’s actually more risky stuff below the surface than one may realize. These courses help you learn how to read the water, how to self-rescue and how to paddle smart.
Ice safety awareness goes beyond recognizing ice types and their capacity load. These courses also teach people how various ice types form, how to test them, how to travel on them and what equipment you should have with you during these risky times. The Rocky Mountain course even goes over knots, anchor systems and mechanical advantage – which is super useful for reasons we don’t think need explaining.
Above awareness and accident prevention, these courses also teach you how to execute both self and peer rescue, as well as how to respond to dangerous situations (such as treating frost bite or recovering from a near drowning experience).
(Rescue Canada also offers more advanced programs for ice rescue)
The Canadian Red Cross has also provided tips for ice safety. This is a great resource for an intro and basic overview.
(The courses however, are a lot more in depth. Especially with RMAM… they cover more material and the physical application and practice makes it a lot more effective and memorable!)
Although foraging is prohibited in national parks, it’s certainly allowed other places! Foraging courses help you learn how to identify, prepare and eat safe wild plants.
Extremely useful in survival situations, but equally useful to learn about and connect with nature around you.
I’d love to hear about your experience. What’s the most memorable take away from the course you took?
Being an avid outdoor explorer (with an adventure bug that just won't quit biting), Briana is sharing experiences and tips to inspire others to get outdoors.