Wilderness First Responder – Course Review

05 Mar Wilderness First Responder – Course Review

I took a little drive up to McCall, Idaho and I’ll tell you what: That place is prettier ‘an heck. McCall sits on beautiful Lake Payette in a gorgeous valley surrounded by State and National Parks. Although it was below freezing more often than not, the snow gave it a remarkable serene beauty. I was able to go Cross Country Skiing in the mornings and across the frozen lake, discover toasty warm springs carved into the mountain sides to thaw out, try some delicious local microbrews, and exercise some healthy star gazing.

My travels took me there for a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) and Wilderness Medicine Institue (WMI) course for certification as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR).

Taking this course was one of the best decisions of my life. I love spending time outdoors backpacking and mountaineering. The more remote the trip, the better I feel. That said, a lot can go wrong in the great outdoor casino and we take a lot of risks every time we go out. What we often forget is when you’re even just a day out from civilization, a little injury or sickness can quickly become life threatening circumstances without access to definitive care.

What did I learn?:
– Core principles of a proper Patient Assessment. Exposing all injuries, collecting vitals, discovering allergies and pertinent history, and establishing good patient rapport.
– First Aid, Basic Life Support (including Adult and Child CPR).
– Signs/Symptoms for everything from Head Traumas to compound fractures to bee stings, allergies, Diabetes, and much more.
– Stabilization and treatment principles for the above laundry list of ailments.

How was the Instruction?:
Top of the line. I’m not sure I’ve had better instruction at anything in my life. The two NOLS instructors were professional above all, hilarious, serious when subjects required it, and well experienced. These guys were able to capture your attention for 10 days of 8hr per day intense instruction. This was better than any high-school or college instruction I’ve ever had. NOLS and WMI are now, in my book, the go to for outdoor instruction.

In Closing:
Do it. I hate being told what to do so I apologize in advance for this but: YOU SHOULD DO THIS. These are basic life skills and you never know when you’ll be confronted with a heart attack, a seizure, a car accident, or a natural disaster that leads to a sea of injuries around you. Even if you’re not going into the Wilderness this is crucial knowledge and experience. For me, when I go out in the wilderness next, I would be so glad to have someone with me who has decided to invest in this type of training. We never know when the luck drip runs out.

Learn More:
NOLS – WFR Course Information

WFR Class - McCall

Thanks to our instructors Nate and Paul. Thanks also to my classmates and the MOSS Campus.

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