For the last two weeks, Kat and I got to skip out on work in order to attend a special Wilderness First Responder (WFR) class being hosted by the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute. The course was taught by two instructors from the NOLS Wilderness Medical Institute, the premier organization for wilderness medical instruction.
Wilderness medicine is a special set of first aid and medical practices that are necessary when definitive care (a modern hospital or an ambulance with highly trained EMT’s) is more than two hours away. An 80-hour WFR course trains rescuers how to manage a patient and a scene if they are the first to arrive. The course teaches a well-rounded skillset, and is more about critical thinking, problem solving, and improvisation than about the memorization of lists or protocols. In the United States, WFR is the definitive wilderness medical certification.