Outward Bound to Co-Sponsor the Wilderness Risk Management Conference


Continuing its tradition of providing premier expeditionary learning opportunities while prioritizing safety, Outward Bound will co-sponsor the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) in Atlanta, Georgia, October 1- 3, 2014.

Wilderness Risk Management Conference

With over 50 years as a leader in the experiential education industry, Outward Bound experts and staff will share lessons and safety principles they have developed in its five decades leading students on wilderness expeditions. Outward Bound uses the WRMC to build partnerships and provide its peers with valuable tools to help them continue to evolve the safety of their own programs, while garnering information on safety trends and progressions.

“The Wilderness Risk Management Conference helps Outward Bound to stay current with industry trends, understand public attitudes and to continue to grow our network of resources,” Mark Vermeal, Vice President of Safety for Outward Bound, said. “Outward Bound achieves its mission through challenge and discovery, and to accomplish that mission we must be able to preemptively identify hazards and mitigate the risks of the environments in which we travel while teaching our students to do the same.”

The WRMC is the only national conference with a sole focus on wilderness risk management, featuring hands-on, peer-driven presentations from a wide swath of safety experts and leaders from around the world.

In this year’s conference, both Mark Vermeal and Outward Bound’s Director of Safety, Billy Roos, will be presenting. Vermeal will present a targeted session on how to conduct emergency response simulations. During this interactive lecture, participants will gain an understanding of the value of utilizing simulations to prepare administrative staff to effectively manage critical incidents. Participants will be taught a framework for conducting simulations that highlight strengths and expose gaps in their incident management. Vermeal will discuss the benefits, relevant considerations and potential pitfalls of conducting simulations and also provide participants with a continuum of simulation models that can target incident management goals.

Billy Roos and Mark Vermeal will be offering a Pre-Conference session titled, “Incident Reporting and Analysis.” Incident reporting, data collection, and analysis provide a critical function for outdoor (and other) organizations to enable them to better prevent or mitigate future incidents. This presentation is designed to provide participants with a variety of options for documenting, archiving, and analyzing incidents.

Other Outward Bound presenters include Program Directors Joshua Cole and Graham Ottley, and the Director of Struggling Teens & Young Adults Programs for North Carolina Outward Bound School, Katie Dalbey. Additionally, Frances Mock, counsel to Outward Bound, Skip King, Outward Bound crisis communications consultant, Aram Attarian, Chair of the North Carolina Outward Bound School Board Safety Committee and Bill Frederick, member of the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School Board Safety Committee will also be presenting at this year’s conference.

Since the time Outward Bound helped create the conference in 1992, alongside other leaders in the experiential education and conservation fields, the WRMC has attracted leaders, including: field instructors; administrators from outdoor programs, colleges, universities and secondary schools; professionals from the insurance industry; lawyers specializing in outdoor recreation, wilderness skills instruction and experiential education; professional mountain guides; wilderness medicine instruction providers; and state and federal land management agencies. Since its inception the conference continually has provided insight into trends and issues within the wilderness and wilderness-related industries. If you work in the outdoor industry or are embarking on a career in outdoor education, join us. You’ll be impressed with the quality of the presentations, breadth of topics and thoroughly pleased that you participated in this premier event.