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Avalanche Rescue Dog

This Feb. 26, 2016, photo shows Wylie at Tamarack Resort. The 9-year-old Australian shepherd is trained to quickly find a person buried by an avalanche.

SUN VALLEY — In a trauma case, seconds count. When a victim is in the backcountry, it often takes longer to reach an injured person and begin life-saving care. Providing first responders with training to handle wilderness and remote locations is the goal of the annual Saint Alphonsus Ski and Mountain Trauma Conference.

Scheduled for Nov. 7 to 9 at the Sun Valley Resort, the conference will provide nearly 600 first responders and medical professionals the opportunity to learn the latest backcountry medicine and rescue techniques.

“As the region’s most advanced Trauma Center, Saint Alphonsus is committed to helping our first responders get the training to allow for the best chance of survival in an emergency case,” Dr. Stephen Gale, medical director of trauma services, said in a statement. “We tailor training, lectures and networking sessions to ski patrols, search-and-rescue teams, paramedics and emergency medical services crews to help them manage the unique challenges of backcountry medicine.”

The conference features lectures, hands-on workshops and simulations covering a wide range of lifesaving techniques including full patient assessment, injury treatment and developing evacuation/rescue plans. Other sessions will deal with head injuries, delivering babies in extreme conditions, field management of hypothermia and frostbite and assessing and treating possible opioid overdoses. Stop the Bleed classes will be offered to teach how to pack a wound and the proper use of tourniquets, and experts will discuss mental health issues facing first responders. One new session this year will involve preparing and executing helicopter rescues. With Idaho being such a popular backcountry recreational destination, often helicopters are the only way to access an accident scene and transport the patient to the hospital.

“The time to learn a skill is not in the heat of the moment but in a controlled environment like the Ski and Mountain Trauma Conference. We use the skills that we have been taught at this conference on a regular basis, and it has been of great benefit to the people we serve,” Bert Mecham, chief of the Fremont County Emergency Medical Services, said in a statement.

For more information, call 208-367-6643 or email mark.snider@saintalphonsus.org.

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