I am officially a WFR!!!!
What Is A WFR?
The WFR stands for a Wilderness First Responder. I recently completed an 80 hour, 10 day course through NOLS to receive my WFR certification!
The WFR is the “industry standard” certification for anyone recreating in the backcountry, getting a job in the outdoor industry, or hoping to be equipped to help others needing medical assistance in a wilderness context. Through NOLS, I received certifications as a Wilderness First Responder, CPR/Epinephrine Auto-injector, as well as three college credit hours.
LOTS Of Learning
The WFR course is a “Cognitive overload”
(Side note- the educational content shared is for informational purposes only)
There was a copious amount of learning done in these 10 days. We learned how to thoroughly assess a patient in the backcountry, improvised techniques in wilderness wound management, assessed vitals signs, various illnesses and conditions, leadership skills, making evacuation decisions, and many more topics.
The last day of the course we had a test on the full patient assessment process, CPR, improvised splinting, and a 100 question multiple choice portion.
I absolutely loved studying for the material we were learning. It’s a wonderful thing to actually want to learn the material that you are given (which is quite the contrast to many of the lessons taught in high school;)
Hands On Learning To The MAX
The great thing about this course is the hands on approach to learning.
On the eighth night we all trekked through the snow at the chilly hour of 10pm to conduct a “mock rescue” in the forest, not knowing quite what we were going to find there. We assessed many “patients” who had severed fingers lying in the snow, people impaled with tree branches, patients who required improvised tourniquets and splints, and other various obscure injuries.
I’ve never seen so much fake blood…
In one scenario I had to pretend to have a tonic clonic seizure. I convulsed in the snow for a while before becoming “unresponsive” and then listened to my team assess the situation and figure out the best way to deal with what had happened. The scenarios that were simulated were exhilarating to say the least…
Just like the trail, these kind of activities bring together some awesome individuals. I am super thankful to have had this opportunity to meet some incredible folks (including some past and future thru hikers!!!)
Take This Course!!!!
I couldn’t recommend it more, especially for any thru-hiker.
My rationale for taking this course was because I want to be equipped on trail if something were to go wrong. I would never want to be in a position where I am unable to help out a fellow thru hiker if they got injured. This course has given me vital skills for medical emergencies that might occur in the backcountry, and I am stoked to get out on trail and have that knowledge.
NOLS was an awesome company to take this course through- it’s respected by the outdoor industry all over and getting this certification through them is extremely beneficial.
Go sign up for one of these! It’s hard work, but it will be rewarding and worth it at the end!!!
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