Wilderness EMT Bridge

Are you already an EMS provider or other healthcare professional?

True North stands apart from other wilderness medicine schools because our Wilderness EMT Bridge course helps you to bridge your front-country medical training with wilderness survival training so that you are equipped with the skills, gear, and knowledge to better meet the demands and realities of treating patients in remote and austere environments.

This course is approved for 40 continuing-education hours for EMT, Paramedic, and PHRN. See details below.

After all, in a wilderness emergency you likely won’t have access to all that fancy equipment in your Emergency Department or on your ambulance.  Besides, would you even know how to quickly build an emergency shelter, start a fire, purify water to cleanse a wound, or even signal for help?  Without these skills, then, the simple reality is that in wilderness environments even a medical professional becomes little more than a first responder.


This course is approved by the WMS for credits in its Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM) program for EMT, Paramedic, RN, PHRN, DO, PA and MD. See details below.

During our WEMT Bridge course, you will learn the dynamics of providing medical care within a wilderness context.  First, you will learn the importance of scene safety so that you can not only better protect your patient, but yourself as well.  Then you will
review the patient assessment protocol which is the framework of all emergency care, from the first-aider to paramedic, but with added elements of working in remote locations.  From there, you will learn how to deal with traumatic injuries, like sprains, fractures, wounds, burns, and spinal cord injury management.  Then you will learn to deal with illness, including heat and cold related, altitude, and allergic reactions.

IMG_1799Just as importantly, though, you will learn the same approach to wilderness survival that is taught in the U.S. military.  You will learn about the seven priorities of survival — Psychology, Scene Safety, Shelter, Fire, Signal, Water & Food — and the skills and basic gear needed to meet them.

So how does our WEMT training different from your medical training?  In some ways, you will find the training and issues very similar, but in most other ways you will find it vastly different.  First, you will learn to deal with issues that you typically won’t find in your urban patient population, like snake bites, moderate to severe hypothermia, and lightening strikes.  Also, in wilderness medical IMG_1940care there is a greater emphasis on improvisation so we will train you to better view the equipment in your pack, or what happens to be laying around, as appropriate resources.  In turn, the standard of care in wilderness environments, which is outlined by the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS), may differ substantially from your state protocols.  Most importantly, many medical providers only deal with patients for brief periods (maybe just the ambulance ride to the hospital) and in teams, but, as a WEMT, you may need to care for your patient for hours, or even days … all by yourself.

Our clients take this course for a wide variety of reasons.  Some take it because they play or work in the outdoors, while many others also take the program because they want to take their medical training to the next level so that they can work or volunteer in search-and-rescue, disaster relief, or in healthcare missions.

Course Details:

  • Course Duration:  50 hours
  • Tuition:  $600
  • Course Limit:  10
  • Course Minimum: 4
  • Start / End Times: Various … See below for more information.
  • Location: Various locations … See below for more information.
  • Requirements:  Current license & Healthcare Provider CPR certification.
  • Certification Length:  Two (2) years
  • Continuing-Education Credits: This program is approved for professional credits by the following organizations:

This course is approved by Pennsylvania Department of Health for forty (40) continuing-education credits (Clinical Patient Care 28 | Other 12) for EMT, Paramedic & PHRN.

This course is approved by the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS) for 34.25 credits (17.25 core / 17 elective) in various medical and trauma subject areas, including Survival, Field Craft & Equipment, of its Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM) program.  As stated by the WMS: “This course offers FAWM core and elective credits. Actual credits awarded depend on personal credit needs and history as determined by the Wilderness Medical Society.” For a detailed course breakdown, please visit their Activities Eligible for Fellowship Credit and click on the course listed in the schedule, or contact the WMS directly.

NREMTThis course may also meet the requirements of recertification for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians: “The NREMT accepts continuing education that has received official approval through your State EMS office and/or the Continuing Education Coordinating Board of Emergency Medical Services.”  For more information, please visit their FAQs.

NJ DoHThrough reciprocity agreements between the various states, your state Department of Health may also accept these credits towards your certification credit requirements.  To confirm, please check with your local department. 

Check out these answers to some commonly asked questions:

What is the timeframe of this course?  In an effort to accommodate the busy work schedules and limited vacation times of our clients, True North runs this course in two main formats: either as a Monday through Friday program, or over three successive weekends.  Regardless, each starts at 8:00 and concludes by 6:00.

The exact timeframe (whether 1-week or successive weekends) is listed next to the course announcement on our Schedule.

Where is this course located?  We try to hold our courses in locations that not only offer you a proper setting for learning, but also take into account such elements as easy access, ample parking, sleeping accommodations, a local business district, while also helping you to stay within budget.  Our upcoming courses locations are as follows:

  • May 7-11, 2018:  BSA Camp Guyasuta, Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania
  • December 1, 2, 8, 15, 16, 2018:  To be announced
  • February 4-8, 2019: BSA Camp Guyasuta, Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania

Where can you stay overnight?  Many of our clients travel a distance to attend this course so we want to make your stay as easy and as comfortable as possible.  Certainly you can stay in a local hotel, but our sites typically allow overnight stays (like BSA Camp Guyasuta), giving you the choice of a bunk, or sleeping outside in a tent, with access to toilets, a kitchen, and hot showers.  The cost is an additional $25 a night.

What kind of gear do I need to bring?  True North will provide all of the needed training supplies.  There is no required text for this course.

WEMT Equipment

Wilderness EMT – Equipment List

If you would like a better sense of what additional gear that you need to bring on the course, or optional gear to consider, then check out the equipment list that will be included with the course information sheet (just “click” on the image to enlarge) when you register.

However, since one of our course goals is to teach you about various gear, plus offer you a chance to “test drive” it before you buy it, if you don’t have an item, don’t necessarily feel compelled to buy it right away … especially if it’s expensive.  Instead, contact us to see if we can loan you an item or make a recommendation for purchase.

If you have any questions, just contact us.