Imagine that you’re paddling a remote river
swollen by snow melt in early spring with a couple of friends. Your group has done the run in previous years and everyone is excited to get out there and shake off the winter rust.
About half way through, someone misses their combat roll and is forced to wet exit and swim in the middle of the rapid. Your friend is able to get themselves safely to shore a hundred yards downstream but wasn’t wearing a full drysuit – only a wetsuit and drytop (remember those blown gaskets you meant to replace on your drysuit last fall but never got around to?).
It’s a cloudy day with air temperatures hovering around 40 and water temps in the upper 30s. Your friend’s unexpected swim has just turned into a dangerous situation. They are shaking uncontrollably, are having difficulty with motor skills and conversation, and their lips are turning greyish-blue.
You’re only half way through your trip, there aren’t any roads nearby, and there isn’t any cell phone reception.
What do you do?
If you can’t immediately answer this question or if you don’t have the confidence to know what to do in such a situation, you need to take a Wilderness First Responder course.
The fact is that any outdoor activity has inherent risks. We, as individuals and groups, do our best to identify, mitigate, and hopefully, avoid them. Unfortunately, our best intentions don’t always follow the plan.
The Wilderness First Responder Course
Our Wilderness First Responder course is designed for people who often travel where dialing 911 is not an option. It is experiential and tough, with emphasis on practical sessions and videotaped simulations using mock victims. This intensive course runs for seven days and will help you:
- Assess situations/scenes
- Build the confidence needed to assume leadership in a group
- Identify actions to take and in what order
- Provide care/stabilize the victim
- Utilize resources/what you have on hand/what is available to you
- And finally, get the victim to help or get professional help to the victim
The course begins on the first day at 8:00 AM and runs until about 6:00 PM each evening. Sometimes the other days of the course may have different start or end times. Some days will include evening video critiques or simulations. Your instructor will let you know what the schedule will be on the first day. Since this is an intensive course, you should plan on spending time in the evenings, after the course is done, working on homework.
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If you’re considering enrolling, you should also consider inviting a friend or family member that you typically enjoy the outdoors with to enroll with you. Afterall, what if you’re the one who needs help?