Comprehensive Medical Training For Backcountry Professionals

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When medical problems arise because of illness or injury while working or traveling in remote areas, and hospitals, clinics and advanced medical care are many miles or hours away, the decisions you make and the treatment you provide may be the only hope of survival a person has.

Typical first aid training is aimed at treating injuries and illnesses for a brief time until the patient can be handed off to others for advanced medical care. In a remote wilderness setting quick transport to a medical facility isn't usually possible, and the responsibility of extended medical care fall to those who are with the injured person.

If you are working or traveling in remote areas it is essential that you know how to recognize and treat injuries and illnesses that may affect you or those around you.

What Is Wilderness Medicine?

The wilderness medical programs offered by ETI cover 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 emergency room must be carried out in the field. Our courses prepare rescuers for this situation.

2.Limited Equipment - In a remote wilderness setting only limited equipment is available for use in the treatment of a patient. During the courses, students learn improvise splints, stretchers, and equipment out of available materials. This is one of the most important concepts in wilderness medicine.

3. Difficult Environmentss -Remote environments bring many challenges to rescuers. The extremes of cold and heat make dealing with patients even more difficult. During the courses, students learn how to recognize the effects of these environmental changes in their patients and how to protect themselves from the same effects.

ETI offers 2 wilderness medical programs. The Wilderness First Responder program, and the Wilderness Advanced First Aid Program Wilderness First Responder Program

The Wilderness First Responder program has become the standard course for the backcountry professional. This 64 hour training program is an advanced level course for people who may be called upon to provide medical care in a variety of settings as part of their work or recreation. There are no prerequisites for entrance into WFR.

The Wilderness Advanced First Aid course is also available to those who will be working with other certified WFR's and WEMT's. This program is 32 hours in length and not as rigorous as the WFR program.

The wilderness medical training programs presented by ETI offer a 3 year certification.

Wilderness First Responder

WFR is a complete advanced medical training package developed for non-EMT's who may be called upon to provide medical care as a part of their work or recreation in remote areas. The course is taught using a straight forward, hands on approach and is especially valuable for search and rescue personnel, fire/rescue members, military units, river guides, hunting and expedition guides, trip leaders, law enforcement officers, backcountry rangers, outdoor instructors and others who may need to provide emergency medical care in remote areas. WFR emphasizes emergency medical care in the specialized context of prolonged transport, severe environments and improvised equipment. There are no prerequisites for admission to the program.

Curriculum for WFR includes:

Introduction To Wilderness Medicine

  • Wilderness Prehospital Emergency Care
  • Medical/legal considerations
  • Scope of training

Patient Assessment

  • Patient assessment skills that work
  • Identifying life threatening injuries
  • Systems and techniques for prolonged transport
  • Rapid access of assessment skills
  • Triage

Major Body Systems

  • The respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems
  • Mechanism of illness and injury and how they relate to the major body systems
  • Anticipating problems during extended care(when minutes turn into hours)
  • Modified treatment procedures for delayed or prolonged transport

Medical/Rescue Gear

  • Litters and splints, principles/techniques of improvisation
  • Use of oxygen, airways, respiratory equipment and other advanced equipment in extreme environments
  • Improvising high tech equipment


  • Principles of injury and methods of treatment for prolonged care
  • Orthopedic injuries-modified treatment techniques for fractures and dislocations
  • Rapid assessment of head injuries
  • Assessing and managing injured spines in a prolonged care setting
  • Extended wound/burn management
  • CPR in a remote environment

Medical Emergencies

  • Cardiac
  • Respiratory
  • Nervous
  • Metabolic
  • Allergic

Environmental Medicine

  • Hypothermia and hyperthermia
  • Near- drowning
  • Frostbite and cold injuries
  • Animal attacks
  • Altitude illness
  • Lightning injuries
  • Sun exposure
  • Dehydration
  • Fluid replacement techniques


  • Snakebite, marine toxins, insect bites and stings, plants and other common backcountry toxins
  • Man-made toxins

Backcountry Medicine

  • Management of common medical problems encountered in the wilderness: sprains and strains, diarrhea, minor wounds, infections, dental problems, headaches, etc.
  • Medical kits for the backcountry
  • Water purification and precautions
  • Third world environments

Wilderness Rescue

  • Rescue operations
  • Steep angle evacuation
  • Personal preparedness
  • Principles of litter evacuation, packaging and improvisation
  • Wilderness evacuation-when and how to make the call
  • High tech communications
  • Accessing SAR resources
  • Ground or air?
  • When there are no resources

Course Format

The WFR course is usually taught over 8 consecutive days. The courses are fast moving and interactive with an emphasis on learning practical skills. Classroom time is equally balanced with outdoor field work and simulated rescue scenarios. The course format can be modified to accommodate the needs of the sponsoring organization.


The average cost for WFR is $650 per person. Actual cost may vary depending upon the number of participants, the location, and length of the program.


The training can be provided in any location. Sponsoring organizations are responsible for the training facilities.

Sponsoring or Scheduling a Course

The most effective and economical way to receive training is for a group or organization to schedule a training program at your location. We recommend a minimum student enrollment of 15. If your organization cannot provide the minimum enrollment required, sponsoring a course in your area is a great way to bring the training to you. By making spaces available to others in your area or region, minimum enrollment requirements can usually be met. Contact our office for details.

Custom Courses

Custom courses and workshops can be designed for any specific requirements. Format, content and course length are flexible.


Enviro-Tech International
P.O. Box 2135
Montrose, CO 81402

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