Wilderness First Responder Isn’t Just for the Wilderness
By Quinn Banning-Arndt, Broadreach HQ
WFR IS NOT JUST FOR THE WILDERNESS
In September 2014, I had the exciting opportunity of training for my Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification. This 80-hour course is designed to provide participants with the knowledge needed to assess situations and then provide appropriate medical care. While the information taught in this course is applicable to daily life, it is largely targeted towards handling situations which occur in more remote locations. This has resulted in the WFR Certification being considered the standard for expedition leaders and outdoor professionals.
LEARN WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY
The first five minutes following a critical accident are very important and the actions taken within this time can be the deciding force behind whether or not a person survives their injuries. The WFR Certification course works to educate participants on how to quickly and calmly assess the situation, how to decide on and begin administering care, and on how to reach out for advanced medical attention. The skills I learned during this course are not only valuable in a wilderness situation where additional help may be farther away but have also prepared me for the possibility of witnessing an accident in my daily life – a car crash or a bicycle accident – and how I can most immediately provide assistance to those who may have been injured.
The situational crossover of the skills taught in the WFR Certification course struck me as strong supporting evidence that this type of training should be more actively advertised to the public, not just those in specific outdoor professions. Babysitting, playing at a nearby park, exploring, and even walking down a crowded street can bring you in contact with situations where medical attention is needed. The Wilderness First Responder skills can not only help you keep yourself safe but also allow you to possibly save the life of a neighbor or stranger.
WHY ISN’T IT MORE WIDELY OFFERED?
This leads to the question of why this type of valuable training isn’t included in high school curriculums. Whether taught as a full core course or as a semester-long elective, the knowledge learned and the practical application would make a WFR Certification course, or something similar, a valuable addition to a student’s job applications, transcripts and everyday life.
To study for this certification, individuals must be at least 16 years-old meaning that high schools could offer this as a Junior/Senior student course. High quality instruction can be expensive and time consuming. By including them in the offered school course book, school systems could provide their students with opportunities that may not be possible otherwise. Similar to an AP Course, the fees could be greatly reduced by only requiring students to pay a final certification fee upon completion.
READY WITH CONFIDENCE
Since earning my certification, I feel more confident in my abilities to respond quickly and appropriately to emergency situations. Whether I am walking to lunch, taking a day hike, or even heading out for a longer expedition, I know that I possess the skills to keep myself and others safe and to handle myself in whatever situations may come my way.
If you’re interested in earning your WFR certification, check out our Dominican Republic Wilderness Emergency Medicine program.
Quinn Banning-Arndt works full-time in the Broadreach HQ as an Enrollment Support Coordinator. She received her BS from North Carolina State University in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management with a concentration in Program Management.