True North Blog

A Thank You from Venture Outdoors

A Thank You from Venture Outdoors

Last Sunday, True North ran a training program for the folks at Venture Outdoors, a non-profit organization based in Pittsburgh whose mission is to make outdoor activities, like hiking, climbing, and paddling, more accessible to people of all ages and experience levels.  As such, its staff and volunteer trip leaders need to know, not just how to run a smooth program, but how to deal with the unexpected.  So last week’s program was designed to help them better prepare for outdoor medical emergencies.

Today, we received a really nice thank you note from them:


Venture Outdoors & Foxwall EMS

“Thank you for arranging a fantastic training for VO staff and volunteer leaders. The real-time emergency response with actual EMS made the scenario incredibly realistic.  We look forward to setting up more outings with you in the future!

But the simple truth is that this event wouldn’t have been such a success had it not been for the folks at Foxwall EMS, a rescue service that serves the communities of Aspinwall, Blawnox, and Fox Chapel, as well as surrounding communities.

So how was the event run?

Well, the VO crew didn’t even have the slightest idea what to expect!  They thought that they would be going on a routine “scenario hike” where they would simply deal with common problems on outings, most of which are logistical in nature.  Instead, about 15 minutes into their hike, they suddenly needed to deal with a “sick” patient, who, although he was stable at first, unexpectedly slipped into “cardiac arrest.”  At that point, the group needed to use their leadership skills and first-aid training to deal with their patient — which required them to do CPR on a conveniently revealed training mannequin — and then to call “911.”

That’s where Matt Myers, Greg Pollock, and Sean Rice come into the scene!  The three are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) who were staged near-by at Hartwood Acres County Park, the scene of the exercise.  Once they received the “911” call, the needed to be directed to the scene.

All together, the scenario lasted about 45 minutes.  This provided, then, the VO crew a good amount of time for them to use in a very real, and very practicable way, their Wilderness First Aid (WFA) and CPR skills.

A very special thanks to Gordon Fisher, the Operations Administrator at Foxwall, for allowing the use of his ambulance and equipment!

Erik Kulick leaning aginst wall with True North badge on blue shirt

About the Author

Erik is the founder of True North Wilderness Survival School. He is a police officer, EMS provider, a Wilderness EMT, and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He has been featured in national and international media, including CNN, the Associated Press, and Backpacker. To learn more about Erik, visit him on LinkedIn and be sure to follow him on Facebook and YouTube.

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