Course Topics

Southwest Rescue’s courses are mainly held in the Four Corners Region. For more information about Southwest Rescue, it’s instructors, and it’s affiliated companies, please visit the about page. To see a compact schedule of courses, visit the Schedule page. To browse course details for both past and scheduled courses, visit the course details archive.

Wilderness Medicine

All Southwest Rescue wilderness medicine courses are provided by the Wilderness Medicine Training Center (WMTC). WMTC’s educational focus is on providing practical instruction so that students can understand, remember, and use what they learn. Their curriculum strives to teach students the information they will need to prevent, assess, and treat the most common injuries and illnesses they are likely to encounter in the outdoors as expedition medical officers, guides, trip leaders, or participants.

To learn more about WMTC, click on this link.

Wilderness First Responder – Standard

9 days

No courses currently scheduled.

The WMTC standard 9-day Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course has been designed specifically to meet the needs of outdoor professionals, those who embark on multi-day personal trips, those who take part in high risk activities (rock climbing, whitewater paddling, mountaineering, multi-week expeditions of all kinds, etc.), or those who simply want to know more about wilderness medicine. Certification as a Wilderness First Responder is the industry standard for outdoor instructors and guides.

The course includes WMTC Adult and Child CPR and AED certification.

We recommend taking the full WFR every six years.


 

Wilderness First Responder – Hybrid Part 2

5 days

No courses currently scheduled.

Like WMTC’s standard 9-day Wilderness First Responder (WFR), the hybrid WFR course has been designed specifically to meet the needs of outdoor professionals, those who embark on multi-day personal trips, those who take part in high risk activities (rock climbing, whitewater paddling, mountaineering, multi-week expeditions of all kinds, etc.), or those who simply want to know more about wilderness medicine. Certification as a WFR is the industry standard for outdoor instructors and guides. We recommend taking the full WFR every six years.

The course includes WMTC Adult and Child CPR/AED certification.

WMTC’s hybrid WFR course is divided into two distinct parts. One must complete the Part 1 Independent Study portion before attending the Part 2 Practical Session with Southwest Rescue, and both must be completed within a year to receive certification. Part 1 of the WMTC’s hybrid WFR will require an estimated 40+ hours of independent studying and testing, and registration is completely facilitated through WMTC. Click here to enroll in WMTC’s Hybrid WFR Part 1. If you are wondering if a hybrid course is for you, check out this WMTC blog post.  Also, check out WMTC’s hybrid Wilderness First Responder website to see if this course is for you before registering.

Southwest Rescue sponsors and teaches Part 2 of WMTC’s hybrid WFR. Part 2 of WMTC’s hybrid WFR is 5-days long, and requires that Part 1 is completed. Registration with Southwest Rescue for WMTC’s hybrid WFR is only for Part 2.

 


 

Wilderness EMT Upgrade (WEMT) – Hybrid Part 2

5 days

No courses currently scheduled.

WMTC’s Wilderness EMT Upgrade hybrid course is for experienced medical practitioners who are acting as an expedition medic or trip leader.  Participants must hold a current NREMT certification or state EMT license at any level.  The WEMT Upgrade course focuses on assessment and treatment fo traumatic, environmental, and medical emergencies in a wilderness environment.  While the focus remains on expedition medicine, the skills taught during our WEMT upgrade course may be applied directly to situations where prolonged EMS transport is expected (e.g. disaster relief, SAR, rural EMS, etc.).

This course is only offered as a hybrid course, which consists of two Parts. One must complete the Part 1 Independent Study portion before attending the Part 2 Practical Session with Southwest Rescue, and both must be completed within a year to receive certification. Part 1 of the WMTC’s hybrid WEMT Upgrade will require an estimated 40+ hours of independent studying and testing, and registration is completely facilitated through WMTC. Click here to enroll in WMTC’s Hybrid WEMT Upgrade Part 1. If you are wondering if a hybrid course is for you, check out this WMTC blog post.  Also, check out WMTC’s hybrid Wilderness EMT Upgrade course website to see if this course is for you before registering.

Southwest Rescue sponsors and teaches Part 2 of WMTC’s hybrid WEMT Upgrade. Part 2 of WMTC’s hybrid WEMT Upgrade is 5-days long, and requires that Part 1 is completed. Registration with Southwest Rescue for WMTC’s hybrid WEMT Upgrade is only for Part 2During the practical session, labs teach field assessment and treatment skills while lectures are brief and focused on answering questions raised during simulations and case study reviews.

WMTC Adult & Child WCPR/AED certification is included in this course.

WMTC is not registered with any CEU organization for EMT’s, nurses, PA’s, or physicians.  If an EMT is affiliated with a licensed service, the training officer or education department supervisor can grant CEU’s.  NREMT typically grants (but is not obligated to) CEU’s to EMT’s who have taken a WEMT course based on clock hours.  Nurses, PA’s, and physicians can apply for CEU’s through their hospital’s education department.  Those not affiliated with a hospital may be eligible for CEU’s and should contact their state licensing department for guidance.


 

WFR and WEMT Recertification – Standard

3 days

No courses currently scheduled.

This course may be used to recertify Wilderness First Responder and Wilderness EMT (wilderness portion only) certifications. The WMTC Review & Recertification course is over 75% hands-on skill review, role plays, and simulations. All recertifying students need to complete a pre-course practice exam prior to arriving at the course.  WMTC certifications remain valid for a maximum of three years with no grace period, although WFR and WEMT graduates are encouraged to attend on a yearly basis to maintain and polish their skills.  Since there is not enough time to cover all the material presented in your original course, participants should thoroughly review their original course materials since they are responsible for knowing it.

Graduates who are currently certified (or within their grace period) by WMTC approved wilderness medicine school may recertify with this course.  Click here for a list of currently approved providers.  Please contact Southwest Rescue with any questions. If your certification is through a wilderness medicine school NOT on the list of approved providers, you may be able to appeal to WMTC directly.

WMTC Adult & Child Wilderness CPR/AED certification is included with this course.

Individuals may also recertify their WFR or WEMT by taking our Wilderness First Aid course and passing an online recertification exam.


 

WFR and WEMT Recertification – Hybrid Part 2

2 days

No courses currently scheduled.

This course may be used to recertify Wilderness First Responder and Wilderness EMT (wilderness portion only) certifications. WMTC certifications remain valid for a maximum of three years with no grace period, although WFR and WEMT graduates are encouraged to attend on a yearly basis to maintain and polish their skills. 

WMTC’s Hybrid WFR and WEMT Recertification course consists of two Parts. One must complete the Part 1 Independent Study portion before attending the Part 2 Practical Session with Southwest Rescue, and both must be completed within a year to receive certification. Part 1 of the WMTC’s Hybrid WFR and WEMT Recertification will require an estimated 15+ hours of independent studying and testing, and registration is completely facilitated through WMTC. Click here to enroll in WMTC’s Hybrid WFR and WEMT Recertification Part 1. If you are wondering if a hybrid course is for you, check out this WMTC blog post.  Also, check out WMTC’s hybrid Wilderness EMT Upgrade course website to see if this course is for you before registering.

Southwest Rescue sponsors and teaches Part 2 of WMTC’s Hybrid WFR and WEMT Recertification. Part 2 of WMTC’s Hybrid WFR and WEMT Recertification is two (2) days long, and requires that Part 1 is completed. Registration with Southwest Rescue for WMTC’s Hybrid WFR and WEMT Recertification is only for Part 2.

WMTC Adult & Child WCPR/AED certification is included in this course.

Graduates who are currently certified (or within their grace period) by WMTC approved wilderness medicine school may recertify with this course. Click here for a list of currently approved providers. Please contact Southwest Rescue with any questions. If your certification is through a wilderness medicine school NOT on the list of approved providers, you may be able to appeal to WMTC directly.

Individuals may also recertify their WFR or WEMT by taking our Wilderness First Aid course and passing an online recertification exam.


 

Wilderness First Aid – Standard

3 days

Course Name Date(s) Location Duration Details
Wilderness First Aid – Standard 03/15/24 – 03/17/24 Durango, CO 3 days Course Details | Register ($325)
Wilderness First Aid – Standard Private 04/15/24 – 05/17/24 New Beginnings Ranch 3 days Course Details | Register ($0)

WMTC’s standard Wilderness First Aid workshops are designed to introduce participants to the concepts of medical care in a wilderness setting. This course may be the best choice for dealing with incidents in remote settings but within cell phone coverage.  This course focuses mostly on trauma related problems, but also covers select environmental and medical topics. The majority of the course is hands-on skills practice and simulations, and there is no formal testing. Unless indicated, CPR certification is not included.

WMTC’s WFA course meets the Boy Scouts of America and the American Camping Association trip leader requirements.

Graduates from WMTC approved wilderness medicine schools may recertify their Wilderness First Responder or WEMT with this course if they are currently certified or within their grace period.  Click here for a list of currently WMTC approved providers.


 

Wilderness First Aid – Hybrid Part 2

2 days

No courses currently scheduled.

WMTC’s hybrid Wilderness First Aid (WFA) courses are designed to introduce participants to the concepts of medical care in a wilderness setting. This course may be the best choice for dealing with incidents in remote settings but within cell phone coverage.  This course focuses mostly on trauma related problems, but also covers select environmental and medical topics. The majority of the course is hands-on skills practice and simulations.

WMTC’s hybrid WFA course is divided into two distinct parts. One must complete the Part 1 Independent Study portion before attending the Part 2 Practical Session with Southwest Rescue, and both must be completed within a year to receive certification. Part 1 of the WMTC’s hybrid WFA will require an estimated 10+ hours of independent studying and testing, and registration is completely facilitated through WMTC. Click here to enroll in WMTC’s hybrid WFA Part 1. If you are wondering if a hybrid course is for you, check out this WMTC blog post.  Also, check out WMTC’s hybrid Wilderness First Aid website to see if this course is for you before registering.

Southwest Rescue sponsors and teaches Part 2 of WMTC’s hybrid WFA. Part 2 of WMTC’s hybrid WFA is 2-days long, and requires that Part 1 is completed. Registration with Southwest Rescue for WMTC’s hybrid WFA is only for Part 2.

Unless indicated, CPR certification is not included.

WMTC’s WFA course meets the Boy Scouts of America and the American Camping Association trip leader requirements.

Graduates from WMTC approved wilderness medicine schools may recertify their Wilderness First Responder or WEMT with this course if they are currently certified or within their grace period.  Click here for a list of currently WMTC approved providers.


 

Technical Rope Rescue

Southwest Rescue offers technical rope rescue courses for the professional rescuer. Most courses are certified through Rescue 3 International, the largest accrediting body for Technical Rescue programs in the world. Rescue 3 International develops curriculum and accredits training programs across various Technical Rescue Disciplines, including water, technical rope and rigging, ice, boat, confined space, and medical.

To learn more about Rescue 3 International, click on this link.

Rope Rescue Operator

4 days (30 hours)
Course Name Date(s) Location Duration Details
Rope Rescue Operator Private 03/21/24 – 03/24/24 Cody, WY 4 days (30 hours) Course Details | Register ($0)
Rope Rescue Operator Private 05/13/24 – 05/17/24 New Beginnings Ranch 4 days (30 hours) Course Details | Register ($0)

The Rope Rescue Operator (RRO) course introduces the knowledge and skills required by personnel to operate safely and effectively during rope rescues and be an active part of a technical rope rescue team working under the supervision of Rope Rescue Technicians.


 

Rope Rescue Technician

4 days (30 hours)

Course Name Date(s) Location Duration Details
Rope Rescue Technician Private 04/02/24 – 04/05/24 Union College 4 days (30 hours) Course Details | Register ($0)

The Rope Rescue Technician (RRT) course covers concepts and techniques to enable small teams to undertake technical rope rescues. A building block approach is used throughout the course so that candidates can progress from key concepts through to the rigging and operation of full systems for raising, lowering, and highline rescues.


 

Rope Rescue Specialist

5 days (40 hours)

No courses currently scheduled.

The Rope Rescue Specialist (RRS) course is for technical rope rescue team members who already have completed a comprehensive basic training and want to continue to specialize. This training continues where the Rope Rescue Technician (RRT) course finishes. The RRS course examines advanced technical solutions. It elaborates on the use of multi-pods, monopod, and A-frames; various configurations of steep, diagonal, and horizontal spans; the use of multiple track lines in highline operations; industrial lead climbing; loads and forces; incident management; and scenario training. This training is consistent with NFPA 1670 and 1006 standards for technician level.


 

Rope Rescue Operator Instructor

3 days (24 hours)

Course Name Date(s) Location Duration Details
Rope Rescue Operator Instructor Private 05/01/24 – 05/03/24 Union College 3 days (24 hours) Course Details | Register ($700)

The Rope Rescue Operator Instructor (RROI) course will enable tuition of those who operate safely and effectively during rope rescues, as an active part of a rope rescue team, working under the supervision of Rope Rescue Technicians.

Prerequisites:

Instructor training:

  • Rope Rescue Operator Instructor training (5 days)

Instructor assessment:

  • Rope Rescue Operator Instructor assessment (3 days)

Candidates are expected to further develop their personal skills and knowledge between their training and assessment courses, following an individual action plan outlined in the training course debrief.

Qualification valid for:

2 years

Able to teach:


 

Rope Rescue Operator/Technician Combination

7 days (56 hours)

No courses currently scheduled.

The course introduces the rope knowledge and skills required by personnel to operate safely and effectively as a member of a Rope Rescue Operator team, undertaking rescues using the skills covered in the course. The techniques, equipment, and straightforward venues with limited environmental complexity, should be gold standard examples, providing a clear mental model of the best practice for operating as a rope rescue team. More advanced rescues, complexities and variations, are covered on the Rope Rescue Technician (RRT) and Rope Rescue Specialist (RRS) courses.

The Rope Rescue Technician (RRT) course covers concepts and techniques to enable small teams to undertake technical rope rescues. A building block approach is used throughout the course so that candidates can progress from key concepts through to the rigging and operation of full systems for raising, lowering and highline rescues.


 

Rescue 3 Conference

2 days (16 hours)

No courses currently scheduled.

Rescue 3 International Conference, held in Durango CO


 

Swiftwater Rescue

Southwest Rescue offers a variety of swiftwater rescue courses tailored to the professional rescuer to the recreational boater. Most courses are certified through Rescue 3 International, the largest accrediting body for Technical Rescue programs in the world. Rescue 3 International develops curriculum and accredits training programs across various Technical Rescue Disciplines, including water, technical rope and rigging, ice, boat, confined space, and medical.

To learn more about Rescue 3 International, click on this link.

Swiftwater Rescue Technician Instructor

4 days (32 hours)
No courses currently scheduled.

The Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician Instructor (SRTI) pathway is designed for teaching personnel with a swiftwater and flood capability up to Technician level.


 

Whitewater Rescue Technician – Recreational

2 days (16 hours)

Course Name Date(s) Location Duration Details
Whitewater Rescue Technician – Recreational 05/20/24 – 05/21/24 Pine River, CO 2 days (16 hours) Course Details | Register ($300)
Whitewater Rescue Technician – Recreational 06/24/24 – 06/25/24 Pine River, CO 2 days (16 hours) Course Details | Register ($300)

The Rescue 3 International Whitewater Rescue Technician – Recreational (WRT-Rec) course is for people who find themselves on or around the river for recreational purposes. This two day course 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.

Fire and rescue personnel should take the NFPA-compliant Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician (SRT) course.

Prerequisites:

  • 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).


 

Whitewater Rescue Technician – Professional

3 days (24 hours)

Course Name Date(s) Location Duration Details
Whitewater Rescue Technician – Professional 05/20/24 – 05/22/24 Pine River, CO 3 days (24 hours) Course Details | Register ($360)
Whitewater Rescue Technician – Professional 06/24/24 – 06/26/24 Pine River, CO 3 days (24 hours) Course Details | Register ($360)

The Rescue 3 International Whitewater Rescue Technician – Professional (WRT-Pro) course is designed for professional river users who require a rescue capability in a whitewater environment (e.g. raft guides, safety kayakers, etc.). Fast, low-tech, and improvised rescue techniques are the focus of this course, combined with the emphasis on scene size-up and management.  This three-day course is the standard for many professional river operations around the world.

Fire and rescue personnel should take the NFPA-compliant Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician (SRT) course.

Prerequisites:

  • 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).


 

Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician

3 days (24 hours)

Course Name Date(s) Location Duration Details
Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician Private 05/10/24 – 05/12/24 Lake City 3 days (24 hours) Course Details | Register ($0)
Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician Private 05/17/24 – 05/19/24 Dolores, CO 3 days (24 hours) Course Details | Register ($0)

The Rescue 3 International Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician (SRT) is an intensive three-day class. The initial emphasis is on self-rescue skills, but other objectives include an in-depth look at water dynamics, handling hazards and obstacles, using basic rescue equipment, setting up technical rope systems, controlling in-water contact rescues, scene management, and much more.

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.

Prerequisites:

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

 

Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician Advanced

3 days (24 hours)

No courses currently scheduled.

This Rescue 3 International Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician Advanced (SRTA) course builds on the skills learned in the Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician (SRT), taking the students beyond the emphasis on self-rescue to concentrate on victim rescue. Students are exposed to more complex water rescue situations including a mock night river rescue scenario. The three-day course includes 4-6 hours of classroom instruction, followed by two and one-half days of hands-on skill development.

Students are introduced to the role and utilization of various skills in river and flood rescue, including:

  • rope systems
  • management of litter & patient raising systems
  • highline systems
  • advanced river search concepts
  • performing rescues at night or in low visibility
  • and basic flood disaster management

Prerequisites:


 

Rescue From Vehicles In Water

2 days (16 hours)

Course Name Date(s) Location Duration Details
Rescue From Vehicles In Water Private 04/11/24 – 04/12/24 YDSP FD 2 days (16 hours) Course Details | Register ($0)

The Rescue from Vehicles in Water workshop is a specialist course for Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technicians that explores the skills required to deal with car related rescues in Swiftwater and Floods. The course looks at vehicle behavior and stabilization in water, as well as access techniques and victim extrication. Vehicle hydrology, glass management, anchors, and weight transfer are all addressed in this two day, hands on clinic.


 

Surface Ice Rescue

Courses specializing in frozen open water rescue.

No courses of this course type found!

Specialty

Customized course, based on needs of Sponsor

Leadership Training

4 days (32 hours)
Course Name Date(s) Location Duration Details
Leadership Training Private 05/07/24 – 05/10/24 New Beginnings Ranch 4 days (32 hours) Course Details | Register ($0)

Staff Training offered by Union College in preparation for a Technical Rescue Program.


 

Avalanche Education

Southwest Rescue markets and promotes avalanche education courses provided by San Juan Mountain Guides (SJMG) using curriculum from the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE).

Details concerning course dates, locations, prices and more can be obtained by contacting the SJMG office.

AIARE’s Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain curriculum is a three-part program for individuals who enjoy winter recreation in the backcountry.
Over the course of AIARE’s program, participants will learn:
  • How to prepare for backcountry travel with seasonal and daily routines
  • How to use planning tools and checklists to facilitate communicating and making decisions as a group in order to reduce risk
  • How to do a companion rescue
  • Techniques to continue to improve their rescue skills after a course completion

The entire Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain program includes seven days of classroom, field, and self-paced online training. The curriculum is typically delivered in the following parts:  Avalanche Rescue (1 day),  the AIARE 1 (3 days), and the AIARE 2 (3 days).

AIARE 1

3 days (24 hours)
No courses currently scheduled.

The AIARE 1 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.

Prerequisites:

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

 

AIARE 2

3 days (24 hours)

No courses currently scheduled.

The AIARE 2 course is a 3 day/24 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 AIARE 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.

Prerequisites:

  • 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.

 

AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course

1 days (8 hours)

No courses currently scheduled.

AIARE Avalanche Rescue is a one-day stand alone course that is intended to be retaken on a regular basis in order to keep abreast of best practices in rescue techniques and gear. New participants will learn the basics of companion rescue, while returning participants will expand their skill set with advanced topics and realistic scenario practice to help improve their skills.

Each participant will have the opportunity to receive professional coaching on their rescue skills, and will receive a rescue card acknowledging the completion date.

AIARE Avalanche Rescue is a prerequisite for the AIARE 2 and Pro 1 courses. AIARE recommends that all backcountry travelers keep their skills current by taking an Avalanche Rescue course and receiving a rescue card at least every other year.

At the end of the Avalanche Rescue course the student should be able to:

  • Describe what to do if they or a member of their party is caught in an avalanche.
  • Identify and be able to use gear necessary for avalanche rescue.
  • Set up a realistic scenario in order to practice an avalanche rescue response.
  • Improve their response skills and times during and after the course with feedback from instructors and peers.
  • Develop a plan for continuing practice.

All students will have the opportunity to get feedback from an instructor on their rescue skills and timed practice in a realistic scenario.

Students who have previously taken an AIARE 1 or an Avalanche Rescue Course will find value in having a professional help them set up realistic scenarios, practice skills in a realistic setting, receive feedback from an instructor, keep up with current best practices, and have an opportunity to practice advanced rescue skills.

Prerequisites:

  • Students must be able to travel in the snow, and bring appropriate equipment for traveling on snow to class. There are no other prerequisites.