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Redcliff Ascent Wilderness Safety Protocols
Oct 12, 2007, 13:27

Redcliff Ascent Wilderness

Redcliff Ascent
Wilderness Safety Protocols

Stephen C. Schultz

October 11, 2007

Wilderness Safety Protocols

As parents, educational consultants and lawmakers consider the role of therapeutic wilderness programs, RedCliff Ascent is pleased to provide the following information on our safety systems.
These protocols are standard operating procedures, most of which have been in place for years. Combined with therapeutic excellence, these systems make RedCliff the premiere youth wilderness experience.

  • We are licensed and regulated by the State of Utah Department of Human Services.

  • Our student to staff ratio is one to three, even lower than that required by law.

  • Our staff are certified in First Aid and CPR. Field staff are also certified in what is known as PCS - or Positive Control Systems.

  • All field staff must complete a rigorous one week in-field training camp and a three week internship prior to their employment. Training includes wilderness living skills. Field interns must complete the same curriculum as our students.

  • 67% of our field staff are college graduates.

  • All staff are randomly drug tested and pass a background check prior to hire.

  • Upon intake, each student is drug tested and examined by a pediatrician.

  • Our medical director communicates with parents as often as needed to discuss specific health concerns for individual students or any health related conditions that may arise.

  • A registered nurse or emergency medical technician visits students in the field every 14 days to assess any health complaints or concerns. Students are weighed, blood pressure taken, and a general health assessment is completed.

  • Any medical or behavioral concerns are related to RedCliff headquarters daily.

  • The first three days of a student's enrollment at RedCliff are spent becoming acclimated to the altitude and environment with no strenuous physical activity.

  • Students are provided a 3,000 calorie diet each day which has been developed in consultation with a nutritionist. This diet includes whole grains, dehydrated and fresh vegetables, fruits, and a fruit and nut trail mix. In addition, students eat tuna fish, peanut butter, and cheese. Students are also offered a daily multi-vitamin and electrolytes when applicable.

  • RedCliff tracks each student's Body Mass Index (BMI) from the day they enter the program until graduation. On average, boys lose 7 pounds of fat and 2 pounds of muscle mass. Girls lose 9 pounds of fat and gain 6 pounds of muscle mass. Body composition data has been gathered for the last seven years.

  • Our Outpost facility offers field groups emergency shelter and food. The facility covers 168 acres in the center of our field operation. Outpost is always stocked with food, fresh water, blankets, and clothing. An on-site support staff is often just minutes away from responding to field groups.

  • Student apparel and sleeping bags are appropriate to weather conditions. Sleeping bags are exchanged three times yearly and range in temperature ratings from 20 degrees below zero to 20 degrees above. Students typically dress in several layers of clothing to provide protection from wet and cold. Hats and boots are worn throughout the year.

  • Field instructors remain in radio contact with RedCliff base at all times. Staff are required to call into headquarters at least three times each day using two-way radios. Instructors report location, staff or student needs, temperature and weather conditions, and any changes in itinerary. If two consecutive calls are missed a search is automatically initiated.

  • An Incident Review Committee, or IRC, meets weekly to discuss any safety concerns and make certain field staff are following operational protocols. Minutes of each meeting are recorded and filed.

  • All RedCliff clinicians are Ph.D. and Master's level therapists. They meet weekly with students in the field to assess student behaviors and provide the most effective therapeutic intervention possible.

  • All RedCliff Clinicians meet weekly to discuss their respective case loads as a treatment team. This allows therapists to collaborate with each other and provide consistent and reliable therapeutic interventions with each student.

The RedCliff experience is deliberately designed to address student weaknesses and provide an environment where they can develop strengths. It is also carefully coordinated to make certain each student is safe while undertaking what can become a life-changing journey.

For additional information please contact Steve Nadauld or Steve Schultz, (801) 491-2278.

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