Context: Community-based first aid training is the collaborative development of locally relevant emergency response training. The Sachigo Lake Wilderness Emergency Response Education Initiative was developed, delivered, and evaluated through two intensive 5-day first aid courses. Sachigo Lake First Nation is a remote Aboriginal community of 450 people in northern Ontario, Canada, with no local paramedical services. These courses were developed in collaboration with the community, with a goal of building community capacity to respond to medical emergencies.
Issue: Most first aid training programs rely on standardized curriculum developed for urban and rural contexts with established emergency response systems. Delivering effective community-based first aid training in a remote Aboriginal community required specific adaptations to conventional first aid educational content and pedagogy.
Lessons learned: Three key lessons emerged during this program that used collaborative principles to adapt conventional first aid concepts and curriculum: (1) standardized approaches may not be relevant nor appropriate; (2) relationships between course participants and the people they help are relevant and important; (3) curriculum must be attentive to existing informal and formal emergency response systems. These lessons may be instructive for the development of other programs in similar settings.
Key words: Aboriginal health, community-based participatory research, emergency responders, first aid education, prehospital medicine.