I recently took a 9 day course and received my Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification. It is commonly called a “Woofer” certification. Included as part of this course is my CPR Certification. This course teaches you the basics of what to do when a medical emergency occurs in the backwoods. Basically, anytime you are either one mile into the woods and/or are more than 1 hour from patient care (hospital, EMT’s, etc) this is considered Backcountry versus an Urban environment.
This was probably one of the most practical and best courses I have ever taken. You hope you never need to use most of it! A few pictures are located here.
This course was taught in Conway, NH. The facility and 300 acres around it were incredibly nice. Below are some pictures of the main building where the classes were taught.
At least once in the morning and afternoon, sometimes twice, we went outside and practiced evaluating injuries and treating them. The simulated injuries were fun and building splints was a big part of this.
Near the end of the course, we broke up into a few groups and practiced building shelters with tarps and whatever we had in our personal gear. This was a fun exercise because they gave us zero instructions and just let us come up with our own designs. The first two pictures were ones our group made. The last one was another group. They all had their pluses and minuses.
The very last group exercise was a simulated rescue of 4 people who were in an avalanche. We got the word and put together teams based on the National Incident Command System protocols and started a search for the victims. We hiked about a mile and found them and had to assess each injury and get them to safety.
Two patients had to be carried out on litters. This is a pretty painful process but luckily, because of the snow, once we reached the top of the hill we were able to sled the victims down most of way back.
Below are some pictures of the exercise.
The last image shows the results of one of the snowstorms we had. We actually had two storms like this during the course!