Friday, November 6, 2009

Ski Patrolling - Safety First!

Ski Patrolling - Safety First

It all started while I was on a ski trip to Mont Tremblant with my buddies.  I have skied in a few different places, so I figure a ski trip to Tremblant would be a good way to unwind just before Christmas.  I spent most of the day skiing with my on-again off-again main babe Atousa.  The day I went skiing there was a heck of a snowstorm, and all I can say was Thank Goodness I was somewhere snuggly and warm!

Warm and snuggly

but she got tired and headed to the hot tub early, and I decided to do another run.  I decided to take the South Side Gondola right to the top of the mountain and do a nice easy run down to the bottom... or so I I am in the Gondola.

So I rode the Gondola to the top as planned, and everything was fine as I got off the gondola except I thought I smelled chocolate somewhere and I stopped paying attention to what I was doing and that was when I had "The Accident" which really wasn't that bad but it was really errrr, emberassing.
 See, I was turning left when the person next to me on the hill was turning left too, only they were on my left and they were turning to their other left.  Well, that's how it happened!  and this was the result....


Ski Patrolling - By the Book

It was a good thing that no one was hurt! That whole accident got me to thinking that perhaps if someone DID get hurt (namely me) would I know what to do to help myself get better?  Then I had a nap.

Fast forward to a couple years later and I finally decided to join the Ski Patrol.  I thought you know, just join, show up to a few classes, and then go and ski and get the babes and if you're hurt make yourself better.

Boy was I wrong!  I had to go into a big classroom full of big people who all needed to learn this stuff too!  That part wasn't too bad, but then they gave us THE BOOK!  It's a Big Book!  It must weigh a bajillion pounds and it has everything we need to know in it, so I had to read it... the babes would have to wait.  This was gonna take forever to learn!

Cramming Time
We would listen to someone talk about the book (blah blah blah...) and then we would get to practice what they had showed us.  Boy if only I had paid more attention in class! Oh well, after the lectures it was Skills day and finally

My Turn!

Well, after all the blah blah, it was time for me to show them what I had learned.  But first.the Ski Patroller's Secret Fuel..... COFFEE! and it was a good thing they had lots, 'cause it was an early morning.

Need More Coffee!

It was also a good thing they started us off slowly... so we went with a large paw sling.  The Large paw sling is easy to tie and is used to immobilize something like a sprained paw, if you want sympathy, or someone to carry around all your stuff all day!  Definitely a good one to know....

The next thing we learned was how to use a blood pressure cuff to see if my blood can work under pressure.  In order to do this we use a special device which I seem to remember is called a "spit bomb thumb-ometer" **actually sphygmomanomator.  Now for the life of me I do not know why they don't have a bear-sized cuff for us to learn with, but my buddy convinced me that the best way to use it was to wrap it around my body.  He then pushed a squeezy thing and the cuff inflated and all of a sudden my head felt like it would explode at which point the first measurement was taken, then the pressure was released and as soon as my head stopped pounding buddy took the second reading.  Whew!

Next we demonstrated how to give Oxygen.  Oxygen is important to know how to give.  If you give too much people might blow up like a balloon, if you don't give enough they turn purple and start to deflate.  So In the middle of demonstrating to my examiner how to give oxygen to a screaming baby, I had a panic attack!  I mean the tiny thing was making so much noise and it wouldn't stop and the examiner was watching and I was sweating and after the blood pressure cuff and everything.  When I came to...

Oxygen Please!

my buddy was giving oxygen to me!

and Finally.... C(or B)PR

It is important to know how to properly do BPR (Bear Pulmonary Resuscitation), especially if you are stressed or tired.  Here is how to do it:

  1. Make sure the Bear has no pulse.  If you can't find it at the neck, check at the paw.  Do not do BPR if the bear has a pulse as this makes them grumpy.
  2. Ask for help if the bear is particularly large, if the bear is small (as pictured) you should be okay on your own.  
  3. Draw an imaginary line between where the front legs attach to the body.
  4. Place both hands (if a big bear you may need several people's hands and if a small bear --as pictured-- use index and middle finger) on the chest of the bear.
  5. If the bear starts shaking and laughing and saying "that tickles" then it is faking.  Do not actually perform BPR (see step 1).  Pretend to perform BPR and continue tickling until bear begs for mercy.
  6. If there is no response, quickly pick up the phone and order an emergency pizza.
  7. Return to the bear and push the chest about half the depth of the ribcage and repeat 30 times.
  8. Administer 2 breaths.  This might be tricky if the bear has bad breath.  You may wish to use a mask as in the illustration above.  
  9. Repeat until either the bear comes to or the pizza arrived.  Pizza usually revives bears.
One More Thing..... 

The most important lesson that I learned from all of this was how to practice my wounded animal look.  This is extremely important because this is how you get people to do the first aid on you rather than the other way around!  Practice practice practice!  I was especially proud of this look...

Game Face

Oh, and by the way... I passed!  Here I am with my wrangler at the hill.  I love patrolling with him because I get to use the radio!