Whistler Adventure School hosted their first WFR Course earlier this month. While it is a fundamental component of the Bike Guide Course, many other WAS students from a variety of programs chose to also enroll.

This 80 hour, hands on, in field course was offered through Raven Rescue. Widely-regarded as the best course of its kind, this comprehensive wilderness first aid course is designed for professionals or other individuals who work or play in austere environments for extended periods of time, particularly when transportation to a medical facility will take an extended period. The course teaches the critical thinking and focussed patient management required when self-evacuation is the only option. This puts the first aid provider in the position of being responsible for patient care for an extended period.

“I walked away from this course feeling so much more confident in my ability to take care of myself and my friends in any situation; on the river, in the mountains, anywhere in the backcountry or even in my own backyard” – Raphael Boudreault Simar

This course challenges students by teaching medical concepts in “systems-oriented” approach to patient care. Advanced medical techniques dealing with anaphylaxis management, use of epinephrine for asthma, spinal clearing, CPR cessation, high-risk wound management, and reduction of simple dislocations. Students claimed to have “learned more about makeshift splints, backboards, and rescue strategies than we ever knew existed”.

The learning was complemented with real life scenarios where students actively put their new knowledge to the test. The theory behind this is the more exposure and practice a student can get, the more likely they will feel confident in responding to an accident if it were ever to occur in real life. The completion of the course involved a complex multi patient, multi rescuer simulation where actors were brought in to play out a challenging scene. After hours in the elements the responders completed their task of treating and evacuating each patient.

“One of my favorite parts of the course was learning how to lead in an evacuation. There is chaos, human factors, and potentially difficult decisions to be made. Gaining the knowledge to be a calm, organized, and decisive leader in these scenarios was invaluable. Being able to successfully step into this role was only made possible after countless hours of practice, lectures, and playing the role of rescuer (and patient) over and over again.” – Dani Huff
Read more about Dani’s experience in her blog post here!

Photo credit: Raphael Boudreault Simard, Wilderness First Responder student at Whistler Adventure School