Consortium EMS to offer Wilderness First Responder course

Posted: Sunday, August 23, 2009

SITKA - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Emergency Medical Services department is offering a Wilderness First Responder course that involves some preliminary online computer work before class sessions begin on Oct. 12-16 at the Southeast Region Emergency Medical Services Council Inc. classroom in Sitka, 100 Clothilde Bahovec Way, out near the ferry terminal.

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 several organizations have been known to pick up all or part of the tuition for their students.

This WFR course takes place over five days instead of the usual eight days, but students must complete 32 hours of online course work before attending their first class. Class times are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day with an hour for lunch. No prior experience is required for the class, which provides a three-year WMA certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator 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 registration deadline is 4 p.m. Sept. 25, and classes are open to all Southeast Alaska adult residents. The WFR course costs $375, which includes all books and materials. Checks should be made out to SEARHC EMS. Students must pay in advance in order to get the Web site link and password for the online portion of the class. There is a limit of 18 students, and students must be at least 18 years old to receive WMA certification. 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 about this WFR class, please contact Mike Motti at 907-907-966-8771 or, or contact SEARHC EMS/WFR Instructor Eric Van Cise at 907-966-8769 or For a more detailed course description and information about the WFR certification process, go to the WMA Web site at

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