Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Recertification

In preparation for the Everest Base Camp trek, I signed up for the Wilderness First Responder (WFR) recertification class.

In April 2016, I decided I needed to take a few steps towards become who I wanted to be. I have always been drawn to the outdoors and felt it was time for me to step up my First Aid/CPR game to more in-depth rescue techniques. After a little bit of research, I decided on the National Outdoor Leadership School’s (NOLS) Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course. The 10-day course was hosted by the Flagstaff Field Institute at both the Colton Research Center (Museum of Northern Arizona) and the Flagstaff Nordic Center.

The WFR course was one of the most well organized and well taught classes I have ever taken. The instructors were extremely knowledgeable with years of wilderness rescue and EMT experience, not to mention incredibly nice and supportive. The course consisted of classroom instruction and practice scenarios. I especially liked the experiential elements of the course because they gave us an opportunity to get hands-on with mock patients and gain a better understanding of the importance and difficulty of the skills we were learning. I passed the course with flying colors and made a ton of friends throughout the process. In fact, one of the people I met in that class is also coming on the Everest Base Camp trek. I can safely say that in that class, I found my people.

The WFR certification lasts for a period of two years, putting me up for recertification in April 2018. This time I will be taking a 3-day NOLS WFR recertification course at Prescott College. I was already planning to recertify, however with my upcoming trip to the Himalayas, it would be extra useful to get a refresher. You can never be too prepared!

The featured image is of when I had the opportunity to play victim in a scenario during the National Outdoor Leadership School’s Wilderness First Responder course at the Colton Research Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Photo Credit: Erin Bonilla

About the author

Erin Bonilla

Erin Bonilla is pursuing a master's degree in Adventure Education with a concentration in the psychosocial components of human spaceflight selection and training. She believes that through the development of a baseline approach to behavioral health within the astronaut selection process we can minimize long term psychosocial challenges and increase participant enjoyment.

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