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Medical conference heads to Utah wilderness to help first responders save lives

Posted at 5:50 PM, Sep 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-16 20:53:36-04

SALT LAKE — At a first-of-its-kind convention in Big Cottonwood Canyon, doctors, first responders and medical professionals used the outdoors to train to save people's lives on the roads less traveled.

Outside in the beautiful scenery and nature are a group of lifesavers and first responders.

It's called the Crash and Learn Conference and it's all about teaching medical professionals from around the country how to treat patients without the resources of a hospital.

"So we're taking advantage of beautiful weather, the beautiful terrain, and we're doing something a little different," said Mike Boone with the conference.

People are very familiar with medical conferences, but while a normal medical conference would be in a hotel or convention center, this group decided to take things outside.

"Our industry appeals to a lot of outdoors people anyways, just by the nature of what we do flying in helicopters, working in austere environments," explained Boone. "So why not combine those two things and have an outdoor conference?

"Why not put yourself in the training portion of that in the same environment where you're actually going to be transporting patients."

Boone is leading the conference and explained why the location was chosen.

"Utah is the perfect environment because it's so diverse," he said. "And you get a lot of elements that you don't get in a lot of other places." 

People from as far away as Florida attended the conference.

"We have people here that are very outdoorsy, they camp all the time, and we have others not so much and maybe woke up in a puddle, especially with the weather we had last night during the rain," said Boone.

Mississippi flight nurse Brittany Harrison made her first to Utah to attend the conference and gain insight into how she can have more of an impact.

"It makes it more surreal. You can actually envision in your head like. 'Okay, I've got a patient right here, a mountain wilderness, it's cold here, I need to treat hypothermia.'" It just kind of puts it in a little bit more of a real perspective than being in the classroom setting," Harrison said.

Most of these conference attendees, whether they're first responders or physicians, are going to be charged with saving lives.

"In the jobs that we carry, we are expected to be at the top with our knowledge, so also in our careers, everything is everchanging," explained Harrison.

For those getting the training and going back to work in Utah as well as around the country, they have a message to anyone that may one day find themselves in harm's way.

"I want them to know that we are doing this because not only is a requirement of our job, but a lot of us are here due to the passion," said Boone. "Because we want to be as educated as possible so that we can take the best care of patients."