OEC Skills Are Perishable – What Can You Do About It?
Unless you actively teach Outdoor Emergency Care or are a medical provider, such as an EMT or physician, your skills will diminish simply from the fact that you do not actively using them for seven or eight months out of the year. While the fall OEC refreshers are helpful in restoring skills and our confidence in applying them to real injured or ill patients, is attendance at a one day-refresher enough? Will you be confident that you can meet your ski area’s standard of care one the day the area opens and every day thereafter? It’s too late when you get to an accident scene and you draw a blank or make a mistake that further injures that snow rider. And refreshers only cover one-third of the manual so it takes a three-year cycle to get through it. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember what to do about an abdominal evisceration two years after we see it in a fall refresher. Part of it is just getting our minds back in gear.
One obvious way to do that is to review the 4th edition OEC Manual – but that is a daunting task. Another resource is OECzone.com. It’s a quick way to refresh and it’s interactive so you don’t need to wade through pages of a manual. You can find videos of skills and Interactive simulations at Interactivities. Another useful section is the Online Chapter Pretests. These are quick and easy to take and you get feedback immediately after completing the quiz. The OECzone site has some other useful practice items such as Flashcards. Look it over – while it doesn’t replace hands-on experience is does get the “OEC juices” flowing again after a long summer off.
+ OEC Refresher Information:
The fall refreshers are coming and the schedule is in the EPA calendar. National indicates that On Scene will be out in the first two weeks in July so watch for it in your mailbox. The format for refreshers this year will be pretty much the same as last year’s, with an emphasis on skill-paced, self-paced progression through the stations. Come prepared!
Remember that you must bring your properly stocked pack and your current OEC card & CPR Card & Completed Study Guide. The current study guide can be downloaded from the NSP WEB SITE. Find that card now and set it aside for the refresher. If you can’t, or it’s not current, get a replacement from NSP HQ well before the refresher. Watch this site for updates as we get closer to the refreshers. If you go out of region, ensure you have the refresher IOR sign your OEC card and the Supplemental Roster Information form (located in On Scene) and give the completed form to your patrol director.
OEC - Outdoor Emergency Care
Developed in the late 1980s for the 28,000 members of the National Ski Patrol, Outdoor Emergency Care is a training program that is tailored to the nonurban rescuer.
Over the years, OEC has evolved to address the needs of other outdoor-based emergency care providers too, including wilderness medical technicians, river rafting and mountaineering guides, members of search and rescue groups, mountain bike patrollers, and parks and recreation employees.