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Wilderness First Responder Course

May 10-16, 2017

Responding to emergencies in the backcountry is different. If you are leading groups into the wilderness, you need to be ready. This course focuses on the principles of long-term care, improvised resources and varying environmental conditions as the framework for learning. This course is taken over a six-day period. A typical day consists of a mixture of lecture and hands-on practical skill work. Upon completion of this course, the student will be better equipped to care for the individual who becomes ill or injured in a remote setting. In addition, the student will gain critical skills that will help in disaster situations where resources are limited or extended patient care is necessary.

Lead Instructor

Ernie Dewitt is the lead instructor for Wilderness First Responder and Wilderness EMT programs. Ernie is currently the Professor of Outdoor Leadership and Wilderness Medicine at Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa, GA. He has been a paramedic for 28 years and teaches classes ranging from Basic Wilderness Care to Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support. Ernie’s wilderness experience includes Arctic training as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army; Private Pilot Anchorage, AK; Trans-continental Bicyclist; Hiking, climbing and kayaking throughout the U.S. and Canada including trips to Denali, Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. Ernie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Masters degree in Adventure Education and Experiential Learning.


There are no prerequisites to this course although pre-study is strongly encouraged. Once registered, participants will be sent out a pre-study packet which includes the book, a study guide and a list of items to bring to the first day of class.


Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be certified as a Wilderness First-Responder through the American Safety and Health Institute. This is a nationally recognized certification and is valid for three years.

Academic Credit

This is a 3-hour credit May Term course available for credit or audit. Both taking the course for academic credit and auditing the course will lead to the WFR certification.

Limited Space Available

Register today by contacting Dr. Roger Mckenzie at 864-644-5685 or



Price to audit: $450
Price for academic credit: $1,050


Topics Covered

  • Urban vs. Wilderness
  • Patient Assessment
  • Improvised Splinting
  • Biological Hazards
  • Altitude Illness
  • Wilderness Wound Care
  • Reducing Dislocations
  • Evacuation & Survival
  • Helicopter Operations
  • Wilderness Wound Care
  • Medical Problems in the Wild
  • Hypothermia & Hyperthermia
  • Other Wilderness Medical Topics