Fall is the Time to Learn First Aid
If there's one set of skills I would urge all hikers to take a course in, it's wilderness-oriented first aid (or WOFA). While non-wilderness first aid and CPR courses cover good skills, they deal exclusively with urban/surburban situations where paramedics will arrive within minutes.
Wilderness first aid, on the other hand, teaches you skills to deal with a variety of injuries and medical conditions when you're in the backcountry, hours or days from medical care. These courses generally take two to three days and are extremely informative. These are skills that could save your life or the life of someone else when you're on a hike. The skills covered range from treating a twisted ankle to dealing with cuts, falls, or heat or cold-related injuries.
I highly recommend taking a WOFA course, and many are scheduled in the fall. They're a bit of a commitment, but the skills you learn are worth it. All WTA crew leaders and hike leaders are required to be certified in WOFA, and if you hike regularly, you should too. Here are some upcoming WOFA courses:
REI Flagship Store, Seattle
$165. Register here. Another class is offered in February: info is here. (Added 9/29, Thanks to Mason White for alerting us to this class).
Wilderness Medical Training Center WOFA
Wilderness Medical Training Center, Mazama
$225, registration form here or call (509) 996-2502
Highly recommended, these instructors have trained WTA staff and volunteers.
National Outdoor Leadership School WOFA
Jepson Hall, Gonzaga University
$185, registration and info at this e-mail or call (509) 313-6396
Intermountain Alpine Club WOFA
City of Richland Maintenance Bldg., 2700 Duportail St., Richland
$170, registration and info at (509) 943-5257
The Mountaineers also offers more extensive mountaineering-oriented first aid (MOFA) courses in the the fall. These are multi-day courses, and are also a good option for hikers and backpackers looking for outdoor first aid skills. MOFA courses coming up include Redmond (Sept. 30-Oct. 23), Olympia (Oct. 9-19), Meany Lodge near Stampede Pass (Nov. 7-Nov. 9) and Tacoma (Nov. 8-23). Schedules of Mountaineers current MOFA classes are here and more info is here.