Archived Medical Articles

Round-up of published medical topics
Several past editions of The Callout, in its prior incarnation as a newsletter, feature great articles and guides for the medical skills required for Emergency Medical Responders, a certification required of all CoCoSAR Type II and Type I team members.

Compiled below is a list of topics and articles with links to the newsletter. The original author, if available, is also noted. (Please note: requires login to the team members' website to view these articles.)

Step-by-step illustrated guides

Head-to-Toe Assessment, April 2011, Page 8

Bleeding Control and Bandaging, May 2011, Page 8

Splinting and the Sling, May 2011, Page 9


New CPR Procedures, June 2011, Page 10 

CPR and AED FAQS, by Carol and Mike McMillian, February 2012, Page 11 

Vital Signs

Blood Pressure Basics, by Laura Carmody, RN, October 2011, Page 7 

Blood Pressure: A Closer Look, November 2011, Page 12 


SAR Oxygen Pack, by Mike McMillan, August 2010, Page 11

The Little Green Bottle, by Ian Snelson, August 2010, Page 12 

Wilderness Emergency Medical Responder Class

By Joe Keyser

This winter, 16 team members completed the wilderness upgrade to CoCoSAR's Emergency Medical Responder course.
This is a hands-on 30-hour course that focuses on applying the medical skills we learned in the EMR course to a wilderness environment. The course tries to answer the question: What do you do when there is no 911 to call? When YOU are 911?
Students studied a wide variety of subjects, including patient assessment in the wilderness, environmental illness, musculoskeletal injuries, altered levels of consciousness and many others, with a focus on extended patient care and long difficult evacuations. Evacuation decisions, or how to tell "big sick" from "little sick" were a special focus. The class also spent several hours practicing making improvised splints, litters, and bandages out of tarps, trekking poles, and other items commonly in a backpack.
The class had students responding to multiple simulated wilderness medical emergencies. On the last day, the class participated in a simulated mass-casualty incident. This training tested the students' assessment and treatment skills as well as their management and communication skills.
Special thanks to: Walt Eichinger, Todd Rogers, John Banuelos, Larry Fong, John Venturino, Mike McMillan, David Hoyt, Laura Carmody and Jim Gay for their help proctoring the class.

SAR Word of the Day

noun /ˌsfigmōməˈnämitər/ 
sphygmomanometers, plural

An instrument for measuring blood pressure, typically consisting of an inflatable rubber cuff that is applied to the arm and connected to a column of mercury next to a graduated scale, enabling the determination of systolic and diastolic blood pressure by increasing and gradually releasing the pressure in the cuff.


Wilderness EMT Training

By Joe Keyser

So my EMT class was great! I learned a ton of new skills. But as we SAR folks know, you don’t always have an ambulance next to you on a search. How do you manage care when the ambulance isn’t right next to you? To begin learning the answers, I enrolled in a wilderness EMT course taught by the Wilderness Medical Institute (WMI). The course focuses on providing emergency medical care in situations where help is hours—or even days—away.

The class was 48 hours of instruction held over 5 days in a beautiful spot on the Marin Headlands. It was called Wilderness Upgrade For Medical Professionals, offering education credits for EMTs, paramedics and medical practitioners. My fellow students included several doctors, several registered nurses, two physician assistants, a nurse practitioner, an Army Medic recently returned from Afghanistan, and several working paramedics and EMTs. Interestingly, the doctors were not the best students. That designation fell to the working EMTs, probably because they do emergency patient assessments every day.

We spent a good mix of time in the classroom and outside, working through medical scenarios. Some of the scenarios students were presented with included a variety of broken bones and wounds, burns (apparently people spill their cooking water on themselves all the time), hypothermia, altitude sickness, abdominal illness, cardiac issues, an unresponsive patient, and an interesting mental health case. I especially liked the course’s focus on evacuation criteria. All the topics came down to a 3 part decision: can this be handled in the field, is this a slow evac, or do we push the big red switch and get the patient out quickly?

In addition to the simple scenarios, we did two mass casualty incident (MCI) scenarios. The first involved actually throwing 5 students in the Pacific Ocean to simulate a boat wreck. The rest of us had to organize and co-ordinate the rescue and treatment of 5 people who were all hypothermic and had various types of injuries. Working with scene safety as a real consideration was pretty exciting. We also did a night MCI involving patients we were led to believe were not part of the simulation.

Overall the class was an excellent experience. The venue was beautiful. The WMI instructors were highly experienced; both had spent extensive amounts of time working in the field all over the world. I learned new skills, met some amazing people, and got in a tremendous amount of practice with wilderness medicine.