Why Wilderness 1st: Chris Sunnen of The Last Adventurer

We’re raising awareness about learning important skills to care for yourself or others who may become ill or injured in the outdoors by spotlighting members of our community who have earned their Wilderness First Aid Certification or higher!

Join us November 4-6 to earn your Wilderness First Aid + CPR Certification at historic Sturtevant Camp!

Christopher Sunnen, Founder of The Last Adventurer, Wilderness First Responder

What inspired you to learn Wilderness First Aid? What was your favorite part of the experience?

If I’m being honest, I wasn’t “inspired” to learn Wilderness First Aid, I was required to get the certification for my job with the National Park Service; and then later renew my certifications for the Department of Parks and Recreation for the State of California. Even though inspiration never struck me to get the certification, first aid and wilderness first aid always had interested me ever since I had been in the Boy Scouts and Junior Lifeguards. For me, my favorite part of the experience was first, learning new things, and second, the practical aspects of the courses as the skills taught can be used in both and urban and a wilderness setting.

Have you ever used your skills in the field? Tell us about it.

Short answer: Yes. As a Ranger in Yosemite, and a park employee for the State of California, I saw all sorts of traumas in both the frontcountry and backcountry, from minor scrapes, to serious medical issues. And, on a couple of occasions after those jobs, I’ve been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time for some people. Rather than get into a list of war stories, let me say that in my opinion, the best skill one can learn (after proficiency in the medical skills, of course) is confidence in one’s abilities. Whether one is rendering first aid in front of a crowd of people, or in the wild, confidence goes a long way to making a patient feel comfortable with the treatment and the situation.

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