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Risk management through summer leaders

By: Emily Tysinger, hiring coordinator

Whether you’re going abroad for the first time or are a seasoned explorer, safety is a primary consideration on every travel experience. At Broadreach, student management and safety is our highest priority, and the people most directly involved with managing risk during programs are our instructors. Each and every instructor is interviewed, vetted and hired to ensure that the necessary qualifications and highest level of professionalism on every program.

On every adventure we offer, at least one instructor is certified in Wilderness First Aid (WFA), as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or equivalent certification. Students and instructors are often in remote locations on Broadreach programs, so appropriate care must be given by competent, medically trained instructors quickly. Many Broadreach instructors have worked as outdoor educators and have experience working hands-on in a variety of field contexts. They can treat minor wounds, manage potential infections, realign fractures and dislocations, administer CPR and make sound medical decisions in time-sensitive situations. Instructors are also trained to work with students on mental health issues that might arise on programs – something that is crucial for students at these ages.

All of these medical response certifications are given after practical exams with in-person scenarios, preparing Broadreach instructors for real-life situations. In addition, instructors who receive their WFR in the Caribbean with us prior to the start of programs are certified for both land and water scenarios.

Our instructors play a major role in the safety of students on all programs, and we take pride in the care given to each individual student and their needs. Here’s a bit about the certifications held by instructors, and how they can apply on programs:

Wilderness First Aid (WFA): WFAs have the ability to make decisions and create positive outcomes out of unpredictable situations. Instructors with their WFA certification expand knowledge through practical, hands-on exercise and outdoor scenarios. They have first aid training in emergency medicine, strong abilities to lead others, make smart, quick decisions and create positive outcomes for patients.

Wilderness First Responder (WFR): Wilderness first responders are trained to respond to a variety of emergency situations in remote, outdoor locations. The training is typically around 80 hours, covering much of what is taught to emergency medical responders but with the additional hours spent in the wilderness. Instructors with their WFR certification effectively assess situations, improvise solutions using the resources they have available and then identify the best way to get the patient to a stable medical environment for treatment. WFRs are knowledgeable in the principles of basic life support, responding to physical trauma, responding to the onset of sudden illness, and transport/evacuation planning and implementation.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT): EMTs provide out of hospital emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergent patients who access the emergency medical services (EMS) system. Instructors who are EMTs have the basic knowledge and skills necessary to stabilize and safely transport patients ranging from non-emergency and routine medical transports to life threatening emergencies. EMTs function as part of a comprehensive EMS response system, under medical oversight. Instructors who are EMTs can perform interventions with the basic equipment typically found on an ambulance. Emergency Medical Technicians are a critical link between the scene of an emergency and the health care system.

While our instructors are carefully selected and competent in a variety of areas, students also play an active role in managing their own risk, as well as the risk of the group as a whole. This dynamic helps create a positive, supportive environment for students to explore, learn and grow together.