Each Grand Canyon Whitewater guide has to have certain certifications and licenses to work as a raft guide. One of those certifications is the Wilderness First Responder or WFR (pronounced ‘woofer’). The WFR is a wilderness medicine course designed to provide participants with the tools to make critical medical and evacuation decisions in remote locations.
The WFR course is typically a 70+ hour course with required 18+ hour continuing education recertification courses every 2 years. The course is a mix of classroom learning and fake ‘scenarios’. The scenarios are always really engaging and help you better understand and become comfortable with the textbook material.
I recently participated in my 2nd WFR Recertification through NOLS in Flagstaff, AZ along with Grand Canyon Whitewater guide, Holly, and others from various outdoor industries from all over the world, actually! We had folks who worked in Arizona, Utah, Alaska, Colorado, California and Kenya!
To make the scenarios as realistic as possible, the instructors have a heap of moulage clothing, fake blood, fake wounds and makeup (see below). We divvy up in groups and rotate being the ‘patient’ or the ‘rescuer’ in the different scenarios such as… a fallen hiker, an airplane crash, a climbing accident, a skiing accident, etc.