PUBLISHED: 5:55 PM on Wednesday, October 24, 2007
EMS to offer Wilderness First Responder course
SITKA- The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Emergency Medical Services department is offering a Wilderness First Responder course that takes place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and all day on Saturdays from Thursday, Nov. 8, through Saturday, Dec. 15, at the SEARHC Community Health Services building in Sitka.

The Wilderness First Responder 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 organizations have been known to pick up all or part of the tuition for their students.

The WFR course usually takes place over 72 hours in eight days, but this particular class is designed for local residents who might not be able to give up a full week of work in order to take the class. Class times are 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with an hour for lunch on Saturdays. Classes take place in the first-floor or third-floor conference rooms of the SEARHC Community Health Services building, depending on availability. No classes will take place on Thursday, Nov. 22, and Saturday, Nov. 24, because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

No prior experience is required for the class, which also provides three-year WMA certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator (AED) use. Also available is a State of Alaska Emergency Trauma Technician certification, which is required for many ambulance, fire department and similar emergency services jobs around the state.

The WFR 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. on Friday, Nov. 2 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 more information on the class, please contact Mike Motti at 1-907-966-8771 or, or contact SEARHC EMS/WFR Instructor Eric Van Cise at 1-907-966-966-8769 or For a more detailed course description and information about the WFR certification process, go to the WMA Web site at