First Responder and Basic First Aid are requirements to become an OTP River Guide.
Swift Water Rescue is an extremely important aspect of the river guide makeup, but once you get the person out of the river it is very important you know what to do with them once you have them. Here are some great images to show how our staff trains each pre-season to have the required First Aid and First Responder Skills necessary to become an Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours Guide.
Trip Leaders and more senior staff are required to gain and renew their First Responder Certificates which are basically a high level of care that is above Basic First Aid and just below the scope of care for an EMT.
Injuries are a part of life and on the river there is more potential for injury than on your couch at home safe in your living room. On the river we want to be on our toes and know how to react in a care giving situation. Practicing these techniques on dry land solidifies the process so we are moving with purpose if needed on the river bank.
Head and Neck injuries require delicacy.
Here we are practicing getting someone on a back board to carry them off the river banks to a vehicle or ambulance, that can access our area by the bike trail. The Bike Trail runs the length of the Middle and Lower section of the Youghiogheny River.
Moving a person in this state is moving with purpose. Team work is a must and moving slow and deliberately is crucial to keep from doing more harm to the victim. Practice makes perfect.
Stabilizing the head is what our local senior instructor Packey is calling to attention in this photo. The person controlling the head is the person in charge of everything. Telling the others what to do is their job and moving together when the leader is ready is paramount.
Backboards on the River
Backboards are large plastic or wood flat supports that are very difficult to carry along on the raft for every trip. That is why the DCNR Park Service positions and maintains locations where backboards are stored on the river. Our river guides are trained to know where these are located and how to use them during and extraction. Here you can see our staff "Wrapping the Package", or getting the victim ready to transport.
Moving a person with a backboard is not easy.
The river is made up of large boulders, water, trees and various angles, so is the river bank. Negotiating this environment is slippery and difficult. The worst thing you would not want to do with someone after you have bandaged them up is drop them, but it's not easy.
Although we hope to never use any of these techniques or procedures with our guests we must practice and ready ourselves for such situations. Being a river guide is more than just herding people down the river or telling them where to go. It's a combination of entertaining, providing adventurer, leading and giving care if needed. We take pride in Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours Staff and educating them above and beyond the industry standard is our standard.