The OAG Wilderness First Responder (OAGWFR) course is the compulsory medical training for all outdoor adventure operators, expedition rangers and guides, professional search and rescue teams, and those involved in disaster relief under the OAG. Without this certification no one can be licensed under an OAG adventure discipline. The course provides essential training in wilderness medicine, leadership, and critical thinking for professionals and leaders working and traveling in outdoor, low-resource, and remote environments. The OAGWFR curriculum is both comprehensive and practical and involves a minimum of 70 hours of both virtual and practical instruction. During the course, students learn the essential principles and skills required to assess and manage medical problems in isolated and extreme environments for days and weeks if necessary.
To earn certification, students must meet the criteria set forth in the OAG Wilderness First Responder Manual, as well as the minimum OAGWFR performance and testing standards by the last day of the course. Upon successful completion of the course, students will receive a Wilderness First Responder certification and certification of CPR taught to an equivalent health care provider level.
OAGWFR Learning Modules
The OAGWFR course includes an e-learning module and an in-person module. The e-learning module requires 30+ hours of online, computer-based learning that must be completed prior to participating in the 40+ hours of in-person learning over the course of three (3) days. The course is suited for those new to wilderness medicine as well as for those with some previous medical experience. The online learning modules are designed with multiple learning preferences in mind. Interactive videos, readings, self-practice assignments, quizzes, and case studies prepare students to apply the curriculum during in-person drills and scenarios. Students are expected to have a working knowledge of computers and access to high-speed Internet. Students must register at least two weeks before the in-person course date to receive access to and adequately complete the required online course work.
Dates, Costs & Assessments
The OAGWFR 001 course runs online from Sunday, December 11 to Tuesday, December 13, and in-person on the Trident from Wednesday, December 14 to 16, 2022 and costs 1,000-GHS. The Assessment cost is part of the Training Course. The assessment consists of a written exam and a practical field assessment during the in-person training.
“OAG wilderness first responders are trained individuals who in the early stages of an incident are responsible for the protection and preservation of life, property, evidence, and the environment, as well as emergency management, public health, and clinical care. These skilled personnel provide immediate support services during prevention, response, and emergency recovery operations.” Caleb Nyarkoh
The following qualifications, competencies, and tasks are required of wilderness first responders. Wilderness First Responder certification will only be issued to those students who fulfill these requirements. Students who participate in a course and pass all written and practical exams but do not meet the following qualifications, competencies, and tasks may receive a Letter of Successful Completion in place of a certification:
1. You must meet the required minimum age of 16 for the course for which you are registering by the first day of that course. If you are under 18 years of age, written proof of parental/guardian consent is required.
2. You must have the ability to communicate effectively with instructors, classmates, coworkers, and other rescue personnel; calculate medication dosages based on body weight/mass; interview patients, family members, and bystanders; document all relevant information in the prescribed format; and perform the physical and diagnostic skills required for the level of certification. For OAGWFR 002 and 003 certification levels, the required skills also include determining blood pressure and lung sounds.
3. You must have the ability to assist in lifting, carrying, and balancing a person weighing up to 300 pounds (136 kilograms). You must possess the dexterity necessary to perform all tasks related to the highest quality patient care. You must have the ability to access another
person on uneven terrain, to work in confined spaces, and to work in extreme environmental conditions.
4. You must have the ability to use good judgment and remain calm in high stress situations.
5. You must successfully complete written exams and practical assessments conducted by OAG Wilderness Medicine instructors.
1. You must demonstrate competency in assessing a patient, handling emergencies, and utilizing Basic Life Support equipment and procedures to the level of certification.
2. You must be able to assess lung sounds at the OAGWFR 002 and 003 certification levels.
3. You must demonstrate the ability to perform CPR, control hemorrhaging, properly assess and stabilize an injured spine, manage fractures and other musculoskeletal injuries, reduce simple dislocations, cleanse, and dress wounds, and manage environmental emergencies.
Description of Tasks
Below is a generalized summary of tasks a wilderness first responder may perform. When performing these tasks, the wilderness first responder is expected to provide high quality patient care while using discretion and professionalism. This includes but is not limited to acknowledging and practicing respect for the patient’s rights and privacy. A certified wilderness first responder:
1. Determines the nature and extent of illness or injury, measures pulse rates and blood pressure, assesses respiratory status, observes changes in skin color, searches for medical alert identification, establishes priority for emergency care, and renders appropriate care to competency level. For OAGWFR 002 and 003 certification levels, tasks also include determining blood pressure and lung sounds.
2. Accesses and assists in the extrication of a patient from an entrapment. Is knowledgeable and able to use or assist in the use of accepted rescue and medical techniques, procedures, and devices as needed. Assists in evacuating patient to an ambulance or medical facility. Uses accepted emergency medical techniques, procedures, and devices.
3. Reports nature and extent of illness or injury to ambulance personnel or receiving facility. Establishes on-line medical control as needed. Continually reassess patient during evacuation and provides care as needed.
4. Is able to work in extreme environmental conditions and various terrains. Documents and reports in the prescribed format to ambulance or hospital personnel.
The OAG will provide all group and specialist equipment for this course, but students are to bring their own equipment where available. Students are required to have their own suitable outdoor clothing and footwear, and need to pack with the list below as a guide. Meals, water and tent-camping equipment are included in the fee. Return transport to the training location is each participant’s responsibility:
- A 40-litre backpack
- A 10-litre day pack
- 1 good outdoor tent
- A pair of good hiking boots
- Outdoor walking sandals
- A cap or hat
- 3 water bottles
- 3 sets of outdoor clothing
- 1 sleeping bag or thick blanket
- 1 sleeping mat
- Wash kit – small towel, sponge and soap
- 1 bowl for meals
- A can of insect repellent
- A box of matchsticks
- Rain coat
- 1 machete
- Hiking poles
- A compass
How to Apply
Fill out the OAG Wilderness First Responder Course Application. It has all the information you need to provide to be a candidate for the Course.