From families enjoying day activities to weekend warriors to the seasoned backcountry enthusiast, most of us in the mountains explore the wilderness at some point. However infrequently it may be, accidents do happen. Being prepared to respond is a great way to increase your personal safety and the safety of those around you. Having a first aid kit can help, but the training and know-how that comes with a Wilderness First Responder, or WFR, course is an asset undisputed by wilderness medicine gurus everywhere.

That’s why Apex Mountain School of Vail, Colorado will again offer their renowned SOLO Colorado WFR full certification course from November 7 – November 14, 2010, in addition to a SOLO Colorado WFR recertification course from November 6 – 7, 2010.

The Apex Mountain School – SOLO Wilderness First Responder curriculum uses the principles of long-term care, improvised resources, and varying environmental conditions as the framework for learning. Now the most widely recognized and most oft-required outdoor leader certification, the WFR course was initially developed and taught by SOLO in the mid-1980’s. Created to provide outdoor leaders, guides, and rangers with the knowledge to deal with crises in remote settings, this 80-hour wilderness medicine certification course meets DOT National Standards for First Responder with additional protocols for extended-care situations. Like all of Apex’s Colorado wilderness medicine programs, the emphasis of the WFR is on prevention and decision-making.

The WFR curriculum addresses, among other matters, the issues of medico-legal concerns, blood-borne pathogens and infectious diseases. The Patient Assessment System, the foundation of the course, trains students on the fundamentals of determining and addressing the status and needs of wilderness patients. Sessions also provide instruction in traumatic situations and other medical emergencies response. Environmental issues such as hypothermia and heat injuries are dealt with in great detail, and practical simulations and labs provide practice in backcountry leadership and rescue skills.

A typical day in this Vail, Colorado course consists of a mixture of hands-on practical skills work and information-rich lecture sessions. To increase learning and comprehension of wilderness medicine, we complement our classroom sessions with indoor and outdoor mock scenarios and simulations. No matter your sport, if you are spending time in the backcountry, this certification is priceless. Hunters, hikers, mountain bikers, climbers, campers and professional guides, in addition to government employees, security personnel and ski patrol are among the many enthusiasts that benefit from WFR certification.

There are no prerequisites for the full course, and students who successfully complete the WFR course will receive a SOLO Wilderness First Responder card and an American Heart Association Adult Heart-Saver CPR card (or equivalent). Syllabus, First Aid Book, and Workbook are included in your course fee and will be provided on the first day of your course. Price for the full course is $675. The cost for the recertification course is $290, plus $35 for the CPR update.

To register for Apex’s up-coming Colorado Wilderness First Responder courses, visit our Wilderness Medicine section of the site, call 888-MTN-SOUL (686-7685) or 970-949-9111, or email us.