Southwest Rescue: Aaron Ball
Southwest Rescue

Wilderness Medicine

Wilderness EMT upgrade (WEMT) 7 Days (65 hours) Course Schedule

The Wilderness EMT upgrade course is designed to meet the needs of experienced medical practitioners who are practicing their skills as ski patrollers, SAR team members, expedition medics, etc. Participants must be a licensed EMT (basic, intermediate, or paramedic) with patient care experience. Nurses, physicians, or veterinarians may also attend but will receive a completion card in lieu of certification and may be eligible for CEU. The WEMT upgrade focuses on assessment and treatment of traumatic, environmental, and medical emergencies in a wilderness environment. Labs teach students the skills they need to improvise in the field. Lectures are brief and focused on the need-to-know information. The skills taught during the WEMT upgrade may be applied directly to situations where prolonged EMS transport is unavoidable (e.g.: disaster relief, interface with local SAR units, rural EMS calls, etc.)

WEMT [course curriculum]

Wilderness First Responder (WFR) 9 Days (80 hours) Course Schedule

The Wilderness First Responder course has been designed specifically to meet the needs of wilderness guides, expedition leaders, and outdoor instructors. It is the outdoor education and recreation industry's standard for wilderness medical training. It is the wilderness medicine training course for outdoor professionals...and the course you want your friends to have taken before you travel with them. The course includes WMTC adult CPR certification.

WFR [course curriculum]

Wilderness First Responder Review (WFR Review) 3 Days (27 hours) Course Schedule

This course may be used to recertify Wilderness First Responder and Wilderness EMT (wilderness portion only) certifications. Students must possess a valid WFR certification of at least 72 hours or the wilderness portion of their original WEMT upgrade of at least 64 hours in order to recertify through this course. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that their certification meets this standard. If unsure, please contact Southwest Rescue before enrolling in a course. If the certificate or certification card does NOT contain the course title (Wilderness EMT or Wilderness First Responder), the number of course hours, and an expiration or course completion date, you will need to supply a course syllabus that shows this together with a breakdown of the course topics.

The WFR Review & Recertification course is over 60% hands-on skill review, role plays, and simulations. WMTC Wilderness CPR certifications are included with this course. All Review students need to download and complete the pre-course practice exam prior to arriving at the course.

WFR Review [course curriculum]

Wilderness First Aid (WFA) 2 Days (18 hours) or 3 Days (27 hours) Course Schedule

The Wilderness First Aid workshops are designed to introduce participants to the concepts of medical care in a wilderness setting. The two-day course focuses on Basic Life Support skills, minor trauma and selected environmental topics. The three-day course covers the same material plus students examine the spine ruling out process, allergic & toxic reactions, and have additional simulation time. 80% of the course is hands-on skills practice and simulations; lecture is limited to basic anatomy and physiology. There is no formal testing. A completion card is given to each participant at the end of the course. Due to time constraints CPR certification is not included.

The 3-day WFA course may be used to recertify WFR and WEMT certifications. To receive certification, graduates must download and complete the exams in the Renewal Packet within two months of completing their WFA course (directions are in the packet). A senior WMTC instructor will correct exams and students will receive an in depth written report on any mistakes (there is a $25 processing fee for grading the exams).

WFA ~ 2 Day [course curriculum]

WFA ~ 3 Day [course curriculum]

Swiftwater Rescue

Swiftwater Rescue Technician Unit 1(SRT1) Course Schedule

The SRT Unit 1 is an intensive three-day, 24- to 30-hour class. It has one day of classroom instruction followed by two days developing and practicing water rescue skills. The initial emphasis is on self-rescue skills. Other objectives include an in-depth look at such subjects as water dynamics, handling hazards and obstacles, using basic rescue equipment, setting up technical rope systems, controlling in-water contact rescues, and much more. Information from this course is applicable to anyone confronted with potential water rescue, as well as, the possibility of self-rescue.

This course is the first of three classes needed for personnel to meet the requirements for the Technician level NFPA 1670 Standard on Operations and Training for Technical Rescue Incidents and the NFPA 1006 Standard for Rescue Technician Professional Qualifications in the area of water.


  • 18 years of age or older
  • adequate health insurance coverage
  • basic swimming ability
  • in good physical condition

Whitewater Rescue Technician (WRT) Course Schedule

The WRT course is for people who find themselves on or around the river for either work or recreational purposes. Professional guides, fish and game personnel, park service employees, and private boaters will find this course applicable to their needs. Fire and rescue personnel should take the NFPA-compliant Swiftwater Rescue Technician Unit 1 (SRTU1) course.

The course is two and one-half days long with the first four to six hours classroom instruction. It consists of intensive training using techniques and simple equipment to assess and perform river rescues. The emphasis of the class is on fast, low-tech and improvised rescue techniques.


  • 18 years of age or older
  • adequate health insurance coverage
  • basic swimming ability
  • in good physical condition

**This course does NOT meet the requirements for NFPA 1670 Standard and does NOT qualify as a prerequisite for Swiftwater Rescue Technician Advanced™ (SRTA).

Avalanche Education

All avalanche education courses are provided through Southwest Adventure Guides.

AIARE Level 1: Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain

The level one course is a 3 day/24 hour introduction to avalanche hazard management. The course is expected to:

  • Provide a basic understanding of avalanches
  • Describe a framework for decision making and risk management in avalanche terrain
  • Focus on identifying the right questions, rather than on providing “answers.”
  • Give lessons and exercises that are practically oriented, useful, and applicable in the field.
Students can expect to develop a good grounding in how to prepare for and carry out a trip, to understand basic decision making while in the field, and to learn rescue techniques required to find and dig up a buried person (if an avalanche occurs and someone in the party is caught).

During the Level 1 course, our student outcomes are:

  • Plan and prepare for travel in avalanche terrain.
  • Recognize avalanche terrain.
  • Describe a basic framework for making decisions in avalanche terrain.
  • Learn and apply effective companion rescue.

[Instructional Sessions include]


  • Students must be able to travel in avalanche terrain. There are no other prerequisites.

AIARE Level 2: Analyzing Snow Stability and Avalanche Hazard

The level 2 course is a 4 day/40 hour program that provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills. This course also includes the introductory and prerequisite components for the professional progression: the level 3 certificate (only offered directly through AIARE).

The Level 2 builds from the introductory avalanche hazard management model introduced in the level one and adds to it the evaluation of factors critical to stability evaluation.

During the Level 2 course, our student outcomes are:

  • Advance understanding of avalanche terrain, particularly from the perspective of stability analysis.
  • Discuss how the snowpack develops and metamorphoses over time; and discuss the factors that contribute to spatial variability.
  • Learn standard observation guidelines and recording formats for factors that influence or indicate snow stability. SWAG MODULE.
  • Advance understanding of avalanche release and triggering mechanisms.
  • Introduce a snow stability analysis and forecasting framework.
  • Improve companion rescue skills including multiple and deep burials.

[Instructional Sessions include]


  • Students must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain.
  • An AIARE Level 1 Course (strongly recommended) or equivalent training/experience is required.
  • A winter of practical experience after the Level 1 course is recommended before taking the Level 2 course.

Level 1 Refresher Course

The Level 1 Refresher is a 1.5 day/12 hour course, with a 3 hour classroom evening session and a longer travel day in the field. This is the best way to update your previous Level 1 avalanche course. We will present annual information updates including new technology and techniques along with new resources for information to keep you current. The field travel portion of the course presents realistic decision making exercises along with a valuable rescue practice drill including full-scene management with transceiver, probe, and shovel. We all need to practice!

During the Level 1 Refresher course, our student outcomes are:

  • Interpret the Avalanche Forecast
  • Map reading lesson
  • Group member assessment
  • Create a tour plan
  • Review Observations Checklist
  • Personal/Group gear check
  • Safety plan review

[Instructional Sessions include]


  • Students must have the ability to travel in avalanche terrain.
  • An AIARE Level 1 Course (strongly recommended) or equivalent training/experience is required.

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