The Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course prepares students to make complex and timely medical choices when working in isolated locations. Training for the WFR course is offered infrequently throughout the year, and announcements of upcoming training sessions are regularly posted on school websites when they become available. These courses are available at a community college and three universities in Maryland and include both field and classroom learning. Below are overviews of Wilderness First Responder training programs periodically offered at each of the four schools within Maryland, followed by a comparison table that includes program tuition.
Garrett College is a 2-year public school, located in McHenry, that provides 40 academic programs and serves 1,000 students annually. The college occasionally offers the Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course through the school's Adventuresports Institute (ASI). Individuals who work in outdoor jobs, such as rangers, guides and trip leaders, would benefit from the training provided by the course. A recent training session for aspiring Wilderness First Responders at Garrett College was administered in conjunction with instructors from the School of Outdoor Learning Opportunities (SOLO).
The WFR program at Garrett College encompasses an 80-hour certification course that focuses on developing skills to respond to medical emergency rescue situations in remote areas. The curriculum content provides instruction in the areas of hypothermia, heat injuries, trauma, infectious diseases and transportation of injured patients in litters. Students learn within a traditional classroom setting as well as gaining direct hands-on training in the outdoors, where they face all types of weather elements. Successful completion of a SOLO-administered WFR course is valid for three years.
John Hopkins University
John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, offers a rigorous 80-hour, ten-day Wilderness First Responder course; the next scheduled training session is tentatively set for January 2014. The WFR course is offered through the Wilderness Medical Institute (WMI) of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). The course trains students to provide first aid and engage in rescue and evacuation efforts in remote outdoor locations.
The course consists of classroom lectures and outdoor sessions. Students are exposed to simulated medical emergencies and given the opportunity to practice hands-on skills. The Wilderness First Responder course includes topics like wound management, shock, documentation, ongoing patient care, heat illness, cold injuries and respiratory and cardiac emergencies.
Students are trained to deal with rescue situations; a staged night rescue mission is a supplementary part of the curriculum. Upon program completion, students receive WFR certification, which WMI holds valid for two years. Once the two years elapse, a 24-hour re-certification course is required.
Mount St. Mary's University
Mount St. Mary's University is a 4-year, private not-for-profit school with campus locations in Emmitsburg and Frederick. The university regularly offers a variety of programs through the school's Outdoor Adventures office, including trips and expeditions, team building and a leadership program. The Wilderness First Responder course offered at Mount St. Mary's University consists of 70 hours of training administered by instructors from Wilderness Medical Associates International.
The curriculum focuses on providing participants with the training necessary for administering medical care in emergency situations that happen in remote areas. Students will learn techniques for basic life support, hypothermia and frostbite, heat illness, fractures, burns, lacerations, wound cleaning and more. Students who successfully complete all components of the training program will be awarded the WFR certification in addition to CPR certification. The certification earned through this WFR course is valid for three years.
University of Maryland - College Park
The University of Maryland at College Park is a 4-year public school that administers a Wilderness First Responder course through the Department of Campus Recreation Services at the College Park campus. Available as part of the Maryland Adventure Program (MAP) located within the Eppley Recreation Center, the WFR course focuses on skills development needed for performing medical care during rescue missions in isolated, remote areas. The WFR course is taught by instructors from Wilderness Medical Associates International.
The curriculum includes emergency medical care, patient assessment and basic life support; skills for treating hypothermia and frostbite, heat illness, fractures, burns, lacerations; splinting, bandaging and litter packaging are also covered. Additional training components focus on wound management, dislocation reduction, CPR in remote environments and spine injury assessment. Training for this Wilderness First Responder course takes place over the span of eight days. Participants who successfully complete the course administered by Wilderness Medical Associates International will earn the Wilderness First Responder certification, which is valid for three years.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Wilderness First Responder Courses Offered||Program Tuition (2018-2019)|
|Garrett College||2-year, public college; distant rural||Wilderness First Responder Course||$4,088 in-district, $7,812 in-state, $9,212 out-of-state*|
|John Hopkins University||4-year, private, not-for-profit university; large city||Wilderness First Responder Course||$700**|
|Mount St. Mary's University||4-year, private not-for-profit university; fringe town||Wilderness First Responder Course||$650**|
|University of Maryland - College Park||4-year, public university; large suburb||Wilderness First Responder Course||$10,595 in-state; $35,216 out-of-state*|
Sources: *NCES, **School's Website