Wilderness medicine is the practice of medicine in remote places where outside assistance may not be available and additional resources, may be hours, if not days away.  There are many techniques taught in this field that also are useful in humanitarian work, disaster relief, and foreign clinic work. there are also many parallels between wilderness medicine and military medicine.  Wilderness medical courses prepare trekkers, travelers, or anyone who goes out to the wilderness, for virtually every accident or injury which could occur during the excursion.  If a person is knowledgeable about medical and trauma interventions, that person could initiate treatment and become an enormous help to an injured individual.   

Our programs in wilderness medicine teach students, travelers, hikers, climbers, and individuals who appreciate performing outdoor exercises, the essential medical skills necessary with regard to spending time in the wilderness.  These individuals will learn about hypothermia and also hyperthermia, sunburn, dehydration, snow blindness, snake bites and submersion injuries.  In addition, they will be trained on how to examine a victim's ailment, handle bone injuries, manage acute wounds, manage injuries of the head and spinal cord, as well as how to transport a sufferer to a safe location or medical center.

our courses:

Wilderness First Aid Course (WFA)

Our Wilderness First Aid Course is designed for the outdoor enthusiast who spends time hiking, backpacking, camping, or any amount of time adventuring outdoors. This 16-hour course spends 2 days in a fast-paced and challenging environment which teaches students the skills required to manage medical illness and traumatic injuries encountered in the wilderness.  Our WFA course will help you prepare for the unexpected with a fun, hands-on introduction to wilderness medical care. This course is great for people of all ages and experiences, best-suited for those who recreate outdoors where EMS response is expected in a timely manner (< 8 hours).  Students who may benefit from a WFA include those who: take short trips relatively close to help, work at wilderness camps, enjoy weekend family outdoor activities, and/or participate in local outdoor recreation. 

 
Topics include:

  • Introduction to WFA Course
  • Wilderness First Aid Kits
  • Patient Assessment
  • Head and Spinal Injuries & Management
  • Chest Injuries & Management
  • Abdominal Injuries & Management
  • Shock
  • Wound Management
  • Athletic Injuries
  • Fracture Management
  • Dislocations
  • Cold Injuries
  • Heat Illness
  • Lightning
  • The Medical Patient
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Altitude Illness

Certification achieved:

  • VAMS Wilderness First Aid Certificate

Course Cost: 

  • $175.00 per student (all reading materials and equipment required are included)

 

Climber's First Aid & Extrication Course  

The Climber's First Aid & Extrication Course follows our Wilderness First Aid curriculum but with an emphasis on recognizing, managing, and extricating injured rock climbers; as well as particular traumatic injuries and medical emergencies encountered by climbers.  Students will learn rescue and extrication methods based off belay escape techniques along with constructing rope lowering systems; both of which allow access to an injured climber.  By learning about the potential hazards that create a dangerous situation while climbing, students will be able to climb safer by evaluating and selecting routes that are free from objective hazards, as well as within the ability of the climbing team. Upon completion of this 3 day 24-hour course, students will be able to recognize, treat, and manage injured climbers along with performing belay escapes and constructing lowering systems.

Topics include:

  • Planning your climbing trip and medical considerations (e.g., preventive medicine)
  • Route Assessment
  • Belay Escapes
  • Lowering Systems
  • First Aid Kits
  • Patient Assessment (Primary/Focused)
  • Airway Management
  • Breathing Management
  • Bleeding Control
  • Head/Spine Injuries & Management
  • Chest Injuries & Management
  • Abdominal Injuries & Management
  • Fractures/Sports Injuries & Management
  • Soft Tissue Injuries & Management (e.g., wounds, burns, and infections)
  • Environmental Medical Emergencies (hyperthermia/hypothermia)
  • Lighting Strikes
  • Submersion Emergencies
  • Shock Management
  • Allergic Reactions

Certification achieved:

  • VAMS Climber's First Aid & Extrication Certificate 

Course Cost:

  • $255.00 per student (all reading material and equipment required is included; students can bring their own climbing gear but it must be approved by course instructor on the first day)

 

Wilderness Medicine & extrication course

Designed for those who are ready to take their medical and extrication knowledge further, our 5 day 56-hour course is on the leading edge of wilderness medicine.  Our Wilderness Medicine & Extrication Course will expose students to preventative medicine, basic and improvised medical treatment protocols, and the dynamic technical skills that are required to locate, assess, treat, and move patients from point of injury to safety.  From the moment students arrive at one of our camps, our instructors promote a positive learning experience through interactive lectures, practical skill sessions, and building critical thinking skills through participation and succession of each days training.  Group dynamics and team building is also a key to our student’s success because of the importance of working as unit to identify, manage, and solve problems that our students may encounter once they leave this course.  We welcome anyone to attend the course who is interested in becoming knowledgable in the field of wilderness medicine, extrication, leadership and safety. No prior medical knowledge is required for this class.

Topics include:

  • Introduction to the Basic Wilderness Medicine & Extrication Course
  • Wilderness First Aid Kits
  • Patient Assessment
  • Patient Extrication Planning
  • Head/Spine Injuries & Management
  • Chest Injuries and Management
  • Abdominal Injuries & Management
  • Shock
  • Wound Management
  • Athletic Injuries
  • Joint Immobilization
  • Environmental Injuries
  • Lightning Strikes
  • Medical Patients
  • Allergic Reactions
  • Altitude Sickness
  • CPR
  • Rope Management
  • Anchor System Construction
  • Raising and Lowering Systems 

Certification achieved:

  • VAMS Wilderness Medicine & Extrication Certificate

  • HSI Adult & Child CPR/AED Certification

Course Cost: 

  • $475.00 per student (all reading material and equipment required is included)

 

Technical Rope Rescue & Extrication Course

The Technical Rope Rescue & Extrication Course is a 5 day 56-hour course designed to prepare participants to meet the education and training skills, along with experience required to conduct Technical Rope Rescue & Extrication of patients located in low to high-angle wilderness environments.  This course provides participants the basic fundamentals in the use of equipment, anchor systems, rappelling, lowering and raising systems, as well as critical thinking skills to make sound judgements necessary to conduct these activities safely and effectively.  After completing this course, students will have the knowledge, skills, and experience to operate as a new member of a Wilderness Technical Rescue Team. VAMS also can customize this course to meet the needs of agencies/teams and their specific response terrain and operational level.

Topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Team Dynamics
  • Team Communication
  • Fundamentals of Wilderness Rescue
  • Leadership Essentials
  • Individual/Team/Patient Safety
  • Rescue Equipment
  • Extrication Equipment
  • Anchor System Construction
  • Rappelling
  • Raising & Lowering Systems
  • Rescue Practices
  • Fundamentals of a Search

Certification achieved:

  • VAMS Wilderness Medicine & Extrication Certificate

Course Cost: 

  • $725.00 per student (all reading material and equipment required is included)

 

wilderness first responder course (WFR)

Our Wilderness First Responder Course is recommend for backcountry guides, canoe trip leaders, private expedition groups, college/university outdoor education programs, hiking club trip leaders, park rangers, wilderness therapeutic programs, EMT’s, and adventure race safety personnel.  The 80-hour curriculum takes place over 10 days and includes standards for urban and extended care situations. This course is designed specifically to provide you with the tools to make critical medical and evacuation decisions in remote locations.  Half of your time will be spent completing practical skills, reviewing case studies, and running through scenarios designed to challenge your decision making abilities.  The Wilderness First Responder course is the ideal medical training for leaders in remote areas including outdoor educators, guides, military, professional search and rescue teams, researchers, and those involved in disaster relief. The curriculum is comprehensive and practical. It includes the essential principles and skills required to assess and manage medical problems in isolated and extreme environments for days and weeks if necessary.

Topics include:

  • Patient Assessment System
  • Documentation
  • Medical Legal
  • CPR
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Long-term Patient Care
  • Chest Injuries
  • Shock
  • Head Injuries
  • Wound Management
  • Athletic Injuries
  • Fracture Management & Traction Splinting
  • Dislocations
  • Cold Injuries
  • Heat Illness
  • Altitude Illness
  • Cardiac, Respiratory, and Neurological Emergencies
  • Abdominal Emergencies
  • Mental Health Emergencies
  • Bites, Stings, and Poisoning
  • Allergies & Anaphylaxis
  • Diabetes
  • Search & Rescue
  • Leadership, Teamwork, and Communication
  • Communicable Disease
  • Lightning
  • Submersion
  • Urinary and Reproductive System Issues
  • Medical Decision-Making
  • Common Wilderness Medical Problems
  • Wilderness Medication and First Aid Kits

Certification achieved: 

  • VAMS Wilderness First Responder Certificate

  • HSI Adult & Child CPR/AED Certification

*Currently certified EMT's may receive WEMT Certification instead of WFR.

Course cost:

  • $725.00 per student (all reading material and equipment required is included)