Wilderness in the Islands

When spring arrives in the San Juan Islands, so too do young campers, camp staff, youth leaders, and outdoor enthusiasts. Before their arrival, San Juan Island EMS (SJIEMS) receives many requests from organizations desiring wilderness first aid courses. First aid responders need training tailored to the challenges of primitive settings.

To accomplish this training, SJIEMS affiliates with the SOLO Wilderness Medicine School based in Conway, NH. Classes include Wilderness First Aid (WFA), a 16-hour course, the Wilderness First Responder (WFR), an 80-hour course, and refresher classes for both courses. Occasionally in the fall or winter, SJIEMS also offers a 40 hour Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician Module. Participants in this module must be certified EMTs.

This year on June 9 and 10, YMCA Camp Orkila, one of this area’s largest camps, hosted Instructor Karl Kuetzing to teach the Wilderness First Aid course to 21 students. Just two days later, Karl and co-instructor Kaitlyn Johnson boated over to Camp Nor’wester on John’s Island to instruct 24 students in Wilderness First Aid. On June 14 and 15, a third Wilderness First Aid class was presented on San Juan Island by Kaitlyn and co-instructors Lainey Volk and Margaret Longley for 14 students from the Conservation Corps plus two other agencies. Altogether, 59 outdoor enthusiasts and youth leaders on 3 islands received three 2 day courses. Much was accomplished in less than a week’s time.

San Juan Island EMS congratulates students upon completion of their certifications supporting a safe summer for campers.

For more information on wilderness medicine classes offered through SJIEMS, go to www.sanjuanems.org.