Things will go awry, eventually. Accidents happen and people get hurt. Whether or not you are prepared to deal with the situation in a constructive manner is up to you. This isn't about building the perfect First Aid Kit, it's about education and utilizing the best medical tool you have: your brain.
Navigating the different trainings and certifications can be quite daunting though, so we've broken it down into the three basic levels and how you can get involved.
First Aid / CPR
One Day, $65
There is no reason you should not have basic CPR certification. It's a cheap, easy, half-day training that could save your friend's life. It should be taught in grade school. It's also a pre-requirement for the USFS Sawyer Chainsaw certification classes we'll be offering later this spring. (stay tuned...) If you're in the Portland area CPR Lifeline offers multiple classes every week. Red Cross offers similar certifications nationwide. Give them a call and sign up now.
Wilderness First Aid
Two Days, $225
Hopefully you'll never have to use your CPR training. Most medical issues in the backcountry won't be immediately life-threatening and can be managed with a few key skills and tools. If you want to build a very solid foundation for wilderness medical knowledge this is your class. REI has partnered with NOLS/WMI to offer this training all across the US. Find classes in your neck of the woods here.
Wilderness First Responder
Nine Days, ~$700
Everything and more for someone starting from square one. This immersive class covers a vast array of knowledge, field activities, and many many hands-on scenarios. It's a big investment of time and money, but worth it if you're spending a good deal of time in the backcountry with other people. Learn more and find classes near you here.
Nothing beats hands-on education from seasoned wilderness medicine professionals but if you're just looking for some basic resources REI has a great overview here. In addition to that NOLS sells high-quality no-nonsense first aid kits in their store.