January 2016

Brevard College WFR Course 2016

There are many reasons you might have for spending time in back country settings, probably none of them include getting seriously hurt or ill while out there. That of course doesn’t stop those things from happening from time to time; and learning how to manage those situations when they arise is a wonderful way to feel more confident while adventuring. Whether you are in the woods as a professional, with friends and family, or a lone operator you can benefit from the information taught during the Wilderness First Responder course.  

Our week was fascinating, grueling, and very satisfying.  The combination of classroom time and active scenarios did an excellent job of reinforcing principles and practices. Instructors were thorough and engaging with experiences of their own to share. All of the participants came from intriguing backgrounds and it was impossible to not be friends by the end. All the way from being dunked in frigid creeks to learn to treat hypothermia to understanding what medicines can help in the event of a heart attack, this class never failed to be informative and entertaining.

-Rachel Meriweather

Hypo-Burrito: New special! Tarp tortilla with toasty Channell filling, lined with colorful sleeping bag and fleece sauté. Cuidado! Muy Picante!

Imagine yourself completely submerged in nearly freezing river water. Your toes are stinging as the water flows over them, your muscles are completely tensed up, and for a moment, you might have forgotten how to breathe. Imagine coming up from under and seeing that immediately to your left, right next to your face, is a branch of four or five icicles. Your clothes are soaked, your muscles are cramping, and the 40 degree weather isn't doing much to warm you up even as you get more of your body out of the creek's flow.

Now imagine the moment that you volunteered for this. 

 

Given that my two least favorite words in the English language are "cold" and "wet," I was not what you would call an enthusiastic volunteer in this scenario. In fact, I thought it was downright cruel that I was expected to "simulate" hypothermia when I was convinced that I was a real candidate for the illness - I guess I'm a bit of a drama queen. 

 

Yet even with my melodramatics and, honestly, fear leading up to our class's Submersion Scenario, I have never felt more safe or taken care of in a medical environment - which is a loaded statement considering a) I am horrifically accident prone and seriously injure myself once a year, b) I was in a creek, and not an actual medical environment, and c) I was being treated by technically uncertified WFRs. 

 

While that sounds terrifying in its most basic description, Landmark Learning prepared both myself and my classmates for the situation in such a way that made me feel completely comfortable (once my nerves and self-pitying attitude quieted). I went from "hypothermic" to a happy little patient/tarp burrito in a matter of minutes, all in an environment that perfectly balanced student control and teacher (most importantly, professional) monitoring. 

 

I really cannot speak enough to the knowledge, humor, professionalism, and enthusiasm of the Landmark staff. Whether they were creating gruesome fake wounds with stage makeup, or using a whiteboard to walk us through pages of notes on the Patient Assessment System, both John and Rob were passionate, open (and encouraging) to questions, and prepared. While High Altitude Pulmonary Edema is not the most cheerful of topics, the staff made learning fun, and I feel as though the education I've received has been top-notch. 

 

Would I recommend this course? Absolutely. Would I do it again? As long as I'm not the one in the creek.

 

Leigh Channell

Pulling into the gravel drive the parking lot already full, I jumped out of the car grabbed my pack and ran inside.  Everyone was already sitting except for the three of us who rolled in an hour late.  The previous night was full of chaos including a broken down car, dead batteries, lost wallets, and a speeding ticket.  We each introduced ourselves briefly and took our seat, it wasn't the best way to start off the week.  The first few days where the longest, having to adjust combined with the information overload.  By day four it started to become more like a family than a group of random people.  We started the week working on and small rescues and by the end we where able to work in large teams to preform full on evacuations.  The structure of the course enabled us to take our knowledge from the classroom to realistic scenarios, I still see the patient assessment triangle every time I close my eyes.  The end of the course was full of emotion, the excitement we all felt for completing the course had us all on cloud nine.  As soon as we realized what that meant however things dialed down.  All the hugging and cleaning could only mean one thing, it was time to go home.  In ten days we went from complete strangers to a family, making connections that will last a lifetime. 

Annabelle Cooper 
Parks Recreation and Tourism Management 
Clemson University '15