The course includes a national certification through Wilderness Medical Associates that lasts for three years. The courses are useful for anybody who spends a great deal of time in the Alaska outdoors. Some emergency medical services units, guide services and search and rescue squads require the Wilderness First Responder course for employees or volunteers, and some groups have been known to pick up all or part of the tuition for their students.
The Wilderness First Responder course takes place over 64 hours in eight days. Class times are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. with an hour for lunch, and classes take place in the first-floor conference room of the SEARHC Community Health Services building. No prior experience is required for the class, which also provides three-year WMA certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator use.
Also available is an Alaska Emergency Trauma Technician certification, which is required for many ambulance, fire department and similar emergency services jobs around the state.
The course costs $375, which includes all books and materials. Checks should be made out to SEARHC EMS. There is a limit of 18 students in the class, and students must be at least 18 years old to receive WMA certification.
The registration deadline is 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, and classes are open to all Southeast Alaska adult residents. Students should bring clothing suitable for wearing while working outside, but medical equipment will be supplied.
"Bring what you'd normally wear in the wilderness," said SEARHC EMS Coordinator Mike Motti, who said that part of the course will be taught outdoors.
"The emphasis is on hands-on learning, both in the classroom and outside."
For a more detailed course description and information about the certification process, go to the WMA Web site at http://www.wildmed.com.