Thursday, July 25, 2013

Southern Utah University Students Earn Wilderness First Responder Certification

Cedar City, UT - Sixteen students from Southern Utah University recently completed a nine day intensive course in wilderness medicine to become certified as Wilderness First Responders (WFR). From May 6 to 14 student’s spent a minimum of ten hours a day both in the classroom and in the wild covering everything from basic pharmacology and patient assessment to environmental hazards and medical simulations. After the day’s instruction had concluded, the students were expected to complete assigned homework, which consisted of reading, quizzes, and case studies. The Wilderness Medicine Training Center describes the course as mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding. 


The WFR certification is a graduate requirement for the Southern Utah University’s Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism (ORPT) program. In partnership with Bryce Canyon National Park, the Wilderness Medicine Training Center and SUU’s ORPT program, WFR certification is offered only once a year during the first of May.


One of the students enrolled in the WFR course, Kevin Koontz, used this opportunity to fulfill multiple requirements towards his graduation from SUU. “The WFR certification is a basic program requisite, but SUU also requires all graduates to complete an additional curriculum of experiential learning, known as the Education Designed to Give Experience program (EDGE),” said Koontz.


Through the EDGE program, each student must design, propose and complete a hands-on project in the hopes of giving their graduates an advantage as they apply their education beyond the walls of the classroom. Koontz recognized early on that the WFR field experience would give him an extra benefit and decided to apply this course towards his EDGE project. 


“It was a very challenging nine days, but I felt incredibly accomplished when I was handed my certification,” said Koontz. “Not only did I form life-long bonds with the other fifteen students, I also learned a lot about myself as a leader and outdoor enthusiast. I hope future SUU students interested in the outdoors use the WFR course for their EDGE project because I know they’ll grow as an individual and leave SUU with a great hands-on experience.”  


To learn more about the Wilderness Medicine Training Center visit


To learn more about the SUU EDGE program visit

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