SOLO’s Wilderness Module (WEMT) is a 40 hour course that upgrades current street First Responders to the WFR level, and current EMTs to the Wilderness EMT level. It focuses on emergency care when separated from definitive care by distance, time, or circumstance. The Module covers subjects such as: Principles of Long-Term Patient Care, Wilderness Patient Assessment System, Principles of Long-Term Soft Tissue Injuries, Principles of Long-Term Musculoskeletal Injuries, Environmental Emergencies (Hypothermia, Frostbite, Non-Freezing Cold-Related Injuries), Heat Stroke, Heat Exhaustion, Dehydration, North American Bites and Stings, Severe Weather, Lightning & Avalanche, Barotrauma and Marine Bites & Stings, Case Histories and Mock Rescues, and is designed to give current First Responders/EMTs the skills they need when the ambulance is a long way off. Participants will take a written and practical wilderness exam. This course typically counts as 40 hours of continuing education for National Registry EMTs.
Course locations vary throughout the San Juan Islands, each utilizing a combination of classroom time and trips throughout the island wilderness to put your knowledge into an experiential “classroom” on the trail. Must be currently certified as an EMT with CPR.
What makes the SOLO Wilderness EMT program different from other medical programs?
SOLO’s Wilderness Medical programs are taught by advanced level EMT’s with many years of backcountry rescue experience. These experiences have prepared them with a wide spectrum of knowledge and practical skills which make the courses rich and engaging. The concepts taught during the programs have been applied in actual wilderness settings in a variety of terrain and weather conditions.
The WEMT course covers three important areas typically not presented in other medical training programs.
1. Prolonged treatment of the patient: when transport times extend into hours and days, the phases of patient care that usually take place in the hospital must be carried out in the field. WEMT training prepares students for this situation.
2. Limited equipment: in a remote wilderness setting there is usually very limited equipment available for use in the treatment of a patient. During the course students learn how to improvise the tools and equipment they need. This is one of the most important concepts of wilderness medicine. WEMT students also learn how to adapt and use standard ambulance equipment for extended transport problems.
3. Difficult environments: remote environments bring many challenges to rescuers. The extremes of cold and heat make dealing with patients even more difficult. During the course, students learn how to recognize the effects of these environmental changes in their patients and how to protect themselves from the same effects.
Are there prerequisites?
Yes. You must already possess certification as Nationally Registered or State Licensed EMT with current BLS certification.
What type of certification do I receive when I complete the course?
You will receive a SOLO Wilderness EMT certificate of completion. This certifies that you have completed the requirements for the 40 hour WEMT program.
Will I receive continuing education credit?
EMT-B’s, EMT-I’s, and EMT-P’s will receive up to 40 hours of official continuing education credit issued by San Juan Island EMS. This curriculum has been approved by the State of Washington. Each state sets its own guidelines for qualifying CE credits. You should contact your state for specific details.
How much time is spent in the classroom and how much outside?
The course includes lecture and discussion as well as hands-on practical training and experience. About half of the time will be classroom discussion. Much of the hands on training takes place outside the classroom. You will be involved in various simulated training scenarios throughout the course during which practical skills are emphasized. These simulations will be developed during the course and represent the various skill areas covered in the curriculum. These simulations are videotaped and used as a learning tool during class.
How rigorous are the outdoor training and simulations?
The main emphasis of the course is rapid patient assessment and the application of life saving techniques and skills. Appropriate evacuation and wilderness rescue are important components of this goal. The WEMT course is not, however, a detailed course in high angle rescue techniques and does not include extended hiking and climbing. Special courses covering these skills are available as separate training programs. The portions of the course that do require physical effort are tempered to accommodate a wide range of skills and abilities. If you have a physical condition or injury which limits involvement in strenuous activities, this does not exclude you from enrollment in the program.
How many written tests should I expect to take during the course?
Students should expect to be presented with a quiz every day of class. There is also a final written and practical exam that will be given during the last day of class. All written and practical quizzes and tests do count toward final credit for the class. A minimum of 70% on the written exam and “pass” on the practical exam are required for certification.
Do I need to purchase a textbook
No. All of the text materials we use will be provided for you
as a part of the fee for the course.
What skills will I be able to use as a WEMT that I am not allowed to use now?
First it is vital that each WEMT student understand that no one is allowed to use any skills (even within the level of your current certification) without appropriate authorization from your state and local medical control. In other words, you must receive permission from your physician advisor before you can perform any acts or skills you learn during this or any other training program. There are several unique skills and techniques that you will gain from the course. These are modified treatment procedures for Wound Care, Fractures and Dislocations, Medication Administration, Modified CPR, Hypothermia, and Spine Management. These modified techniques can only be used when specific conditions exist. These conditions include: Extended transport times (longer than 1-2 hours), appropriate training, and appropriate authorization from your legal state and physician advisor.
Why should I enroll in the SOLO WEMT program?
The SOLO WEMT course is a fast moving and challenging continuing education program for EMT’s at any level. You will learn how to re-package the knowledge and skills that you already have into a compact, down to earth easy to access format. Your assessment skills will be sharpened as you apply them during many hours of hands on practice. Your ability to work with patients over an extended time will be greatly enhanced. If you have the potential of working in unfriendly environments away from the hospital or ambulance, this course provides essential training that may save a patient’s life as well as your own. Whether you are strictly a search and rescue member working in the backcountry, or a person who rarely works away from an ambulance, the WEMT course will help you to gain confidence and make you better at what you do.
What should I bring to the course?
Bring a notebook and writing materials for the classroom. Bring appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. This should include jackets, rain gear, gloves or mittens, hat, shell pants and shell jacket if available, durable water-proof shoes or boots, and a flashlight or headlamp. Bring clothing that is NOT cotton based but wouild be quickly drying such as wool , fleece, and Gortex. You will want waterproof layers and LOTS of clothing to layer. You will need a water bottle, a sleeping bag, pad, and all toiletries and towels. A content specific list will be sent once you are registered.
The curriculum for the WEMT expands the scope of practice for most EMT’s. The material is presented at a higher level and includes the adaptation of ambulance and advanced equipment for use in remote environments. Emphasis is also placed on rapid assessment and evacuation skills.
- review of patient assessment skills
- systems and techniques for prolonged transport
- rapid access of assessment skills
- review of mechanism of illness and injury
- anticipated problems during prolonged transport
- modified treatment procedures for delayed or prolonged transport, including the presentation of wilderness model field protocols for CPR, hypothermia treatment, wound care and the treatment of fractures dislocations and spine injuries
- litters and splints, principles / techniques of improvisation
- use of IV fluids, MAST, oxygen, airways, respiratory equipment and other advanced equipment in extreme environments
- principles of injury and application for prolonged transport
- modified treatment technique for fractures and dislocations
- managing injured spines during prolonged transport in difficult environments
- wound management in prolonged transport
- hypothermia and hyperthermia
- frostbite and cold injuries
- altitude and diving medicine
- lightning injuries
- sun exposure
- snakebite, marine toxins, insect bites and stings, plants and other common backcountry toxins
- management of common medical problems encountered in the wilderness: sprains and strains, diarrhea, minor wounds, infections, dental problems, headaches, etc
- first aid kits designed for the backcountry
- survival kits
- rescue operations
- personal preparedness
- principles of litter evacuation, packaging and improvisation