Wilderness First Responder Courses This November

A WFR student stabilizes the head of his patient, suspecting a possible spinal injury

This November, we are offering a full 5-day Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course (11/5 – 11/9, $750) and a WFR Recert course (11/7 – 11/9, $425). Most outdoor professionals and many outdoor enthusiasts already know all about WFR, but for those new to WFR, I thought answer a few common questions:

What is WFR?
Wikipedia explains it better than I could:

“Wilderness First Responder training focus on teaching the students to assess a situation, improvise solutions using available resources to stabilize the patient, and identify the best way to get the patient to definitive medical treatment. In many courses, students are encouraged to develop the habit of systematically thinking through and documenting their assessment decisions/plans using a SOAP note. Topics covered usually include, but are not limited to, the following principles

  • Basic Life Support
  • Responding to results of trauma: burns, wounds, infections, fractures, spinal injuries
  • Responding to the onset of sudden illness
  • Transport/evacuation planning and implementation”

Students discuss the evacuation plan while an instructor records the discussion for later review

Who is WFR for?
WFR courses have become a defacto training job requirement for anyone working in the outdoor industry. Many non-professional outdoor enthusiasts, however, also take WFR courses to stay safe and able in remote environments. Whether you’re a backpacker 20 miles away from a road, a climber 1200 feet above your car, or a snowmobiler 8 miles away from the nearest town with an empty fuel tank, it can really pay to be prepared.

What is a WFR course like?
WFR courses are half classroom work and half experiential. Students receive materials ahead of time and are expected to study beforehand, so they are ready to dive into substance straightaway. Typically, a class might lecture for an hour, then practice a skill for an hour, and so on. Once or twice a day, the entire class participates in medical “scenarios,” where students split into patients and “rescuers” and practice applying skills in-situ. Near the end of the course, there is typically a long, evening scenario, involving search and rescue and evacuation transport components.

How can I find a WFR course near me?
We are very lucky to have Wilderness Medical Associates (maybe the best WFR program in the country) running our November courses, and I highly recommend this opportunity. If our courses don’t fit your schedule, however, take a look at the course calendars at Wilderness Medical Associates, Wilderness Medicine Institute, or SOLO; you’re sure to find a course date somewhere near you in the next six months or so.


About Nick

Nick Wilkes found ZAC in 1996, working first as an outfitter, then a guide, then as webmaster. An ardent adventure enthusiast, Nick's recent exploits involve laying down roots in Wisconsin, chasing his kids around the house, working as a Madison, WI photographer and growing his Wisconsin climbing business. Connect with Nick on Facebook, Google+, or directly via email.
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