The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) conduct a variety of canoe/kayak and outdoor/wilderness trips throughout the year, as part of their program focused on nature in Ontario’s Mississippi Valley. Having some persons trained in canoe safety and first aid as participants in these trips is essential. To ensure there are people with up-to-date knowledge in canoe/safety and first aid, MVFN recently sponsored a full week-end of training for fifteen members who all became qualified help responders.

The first day of training was devoted to Canadian Red Cross Emergency First Aid CPR/AED Level A, and was held on Saturday, July 12 at the Gatehouse, Mill of Kintail. Attendees received eight hours of training in such topics as responding to emergencies of all types, respiratory and cardiac arrest, CPR and how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator), caring for wounds, and managing situations until the arrival of Emergency responders.

The next day, the members took to the water at the beach in Almonte to learn how to respond to all sorts of water emergency situations. Each team took turns capsizing into the Mississippi River and being rescued by another team. Skills learned included changing positions in a canoe, throwing a heaving line, assisting people in the water, canoe over canoe retrieval, and canoe towing. All received a two hour on land session to discuss situations that included risk management, environmental hazards, hypo- and hyperthermia, emergency kits and legal requirements for canoes and kayaks.

Instructor for both sessions was Karen Hurd from the RA Canoe Camping Club of Ottawa. Karen has had years of training and leadership in long-term canoe treks and wilderness adventures. Her enthusiastic and professional approach to the topics was much appreciated. MVFN is fortunate to now have a cadre of trained members to accompany all of their outdoor activities.

MVFN leader for this training was Sheldon Scrivens from Stittsville. Sheldon is in charge of the MVFN Canoe/Kayak programme. The next MVFN canoe/kayak outing is scheduled for July 27, 2014. For full details of scheduled events, please visit MVFN’s website for the events calendar at http://mvfn.ca/events/, and also recent posts and club information. Keep up to date via email notifications and support MVFN by becoming a member of this local charitable field naturalist group (a member of the Ontario Nature Network).

Canoe over canoe rescue 2014
MVFN members practice canoe over canoe rescue during weekend training session held at Almonte beach. Photo © Olga Janoska