Wilderness First Responder

Average: 5 (3 votes)

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March 26-30, 2022 (new date changed from previous April date)

WILDERNESS FIRST RESPONDER (WFR) for search and rescue 

Location: RAT Training Facility - Gallant, AL

The RAT-SAR WFR curriculum is primarily taught in the field and based on search and rescue response. This is not a 9-5 class. You will be working day and night, rain or shine, running missions, and assessing and caring for patients in various scenarios. Shelter-in-place, wilderness survival, navigation, and search and rescue skills may also be taught and practiced to enhance the scenarios and overall experience. 

PREREQUISITES: 18 years or older. No previous medical experience required. Due to the search and rescue theme of the RAT-SAR WFR program, we suggest completing the following FEMA online free courses before attending WFR: IS-100 and IS-700.

CERTIFICATION: Students who complete all required training days and pass the final exam will receive Wilderness First Responder (WFR). Certifications are valid for two years from course completion date. WFR students will also receive CPR, First Aid and Stop The Bleed Certifications.

CLASS FORMAT: The medical curriculum is based on suggested guidelines set forth by leaders in the Wilderness Medical community.

Students  are required to complete the assigned reading before arriving for the class. The on-site instruction that follows reinforces and expands on the knowledge already acquired. Since students arrive familiar with the material, on-site training can focus on wilderness and rescue scenarios and practical skills. Expect scenarios with made-up victims and simulated wounds to prepare you for backcountry emergencies. Sessions may be videotaped for enhanced learning.

REQUIRED READING: Purchase and read Wilderness and Travel Medicine, A Comprehensive Guide, 4th Edition , Eric A. Weiss, MD ISBN-10 1594856583. Please read all chapters especially the “Weiss Advice” sections. 

COMPLETION GRADES: Successful completion with certification is based on 100% attendance, 100% completion of skills assessment, active participation in lectures and scenarios, and 80% on a final exam.

CLASS EXPECTATIONS and FORMAT (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY): Your full attention and participation will be required in the course. WFR is a minimum 55-hour onsite class with 25 hours of pre-course work for a total of 80 hours. Class time can exceed 12 hours a day. WFR will need your full commitment for the duration of the course.

There will be simulations in which you are required to act as patient and as a rescuer; this requires physical contact where you will touch and be touched. You should also be physically capable of lifting 50 pounds without injury. You will be reading, writing and communicating with other students.

Randall’s Adventure and Training presents skills and techniques according to practice guidelines set forth by leaders in the Wilderness Medical community. Randall’s Adventure and Training is not liable if you do not adhere to those standards in a field situation, nor can we authorize you to use the skills presented.

When you have successfully completed the Wilderness First Responder Course, you will receive a certification card from Randall’s Adventure and Training. These cards acknowledge that you have successfully completed the required lessons and skill assessments according to established practice guidelines. It does not imply or certify you to perform these procedures. It is your responsibility to stay up-to-date with current training methods.

Certification will be valid for two years. You must recertify within this two-year period at a course specifically designed as a “Wilderness First Responder Recertification” or “Wilderness First Aid Recertification” course.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR COURSE: We will spend the majority of time outdoors. You will need sturdy boots, hiking poles, backpack, headlamp, climbing helmet, safety glasses, pocket knife, personal first aid kit, watch, compass, flashlight, cyalume sticks (2), and rain gear. If you choose to camp at the training site, please bring your personal camping gear and food for your allotted course time. You will also need extra clothing to include: extra pants, shorts, t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, head wear. These extra clothes may get soiled with theater blood and makeup. Plan on discarding extra clothes due to wear-and-tear.

ABOUT THE LEAD INSTRUCTOR: Joe Esteban PA-C has 24-years’ experience in emergency, surgical and wilderness medicine including work with Flight EMS, Emergency Medicine, Orthopedic Surgery, and Trauma Surgery. He currently serves as a Trauma Surgery Physician Assistant at a Level I Trauma Center and is an active Deputy Sheriff/Tactical Medic assigned to Special Weapons And Tactics. He spent several summers as a Medical Missionary in remote Central America and has treated thousands of indigent patients with little ancillary support. He is an active member of the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS), Special Operations Medical Association (SOMA), and National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA). He holds Physician Assistant licenses in Tennessee, Florida, and North Carolina and holds Certificates in Swiftwater Rescue, Rope, and Tactical Medicine. He is also a team member of RAT-SAR.

ABOUT THE CO-INSTRUCTOR: Evan Clyburn, A-EMT has over 17-years’ experience as a NREMT/Advanced EMT. He holds certifications and disciplines in Advance Swiftwater Rescue, Technical Rope Rescue, Advanced Vehicle and Trench Rescue, Collapse Rescue, Tracking, SAR Tech, Tactical Medic, TCCC, Advance Open Water Diver, BLS Instructor, and Hazmat Tech. He has been an FTO for several large EMS agencies and currently works in a busy EMS system in Tennessee. He is currently assigned as an Advanced EMT, Rescue Tech, SAR/SRT Teams. He is also a Deputy Sheriff / Tactical Medic assigned to SWAT. He also assists in teaching active shooter response, handgun carry and church security. He is also assigned to a combined SAR Team for Emergency Management Agency. He is also a team member of RAT-SAR.

ASSISTANT INSTRUCTORS: Randall’s Adventure & Training Search & Rescue team members.

This class is free to all RAT-SAR members. If you plan to attend, please contact Patrick Rollins: Ph: (256) 613-3834, email: patrick@randallsadventure.com. to get on the roster. Please read the FAQs before signing up.


Average: 5 (1 vote)

Most common thought is why do I need to know Wilderness Medicine.
You and (insert family member) are on a small one mile round trip hike. Your family member falls and is critically injured and has uncontrolled bleeding or broke arm, leg, etc. No phone service and your vehicle is 30 minutes away and the nearest medical facility is 20-minute drive time. What would you do?
Coming from a SAR back ground, primarily in the wilderness environment, and North Carolina Emergency Medical Technician I came into the class pretty relaxed. First day of class hearing that there was very little medical experience, besides a Spine Surgeon, I had my thoughts of, “this is going to be a refresher”, and boy was I wrong.
I can NOT say enough positive things about this Wilderness First Responder Course! I was challenge physically and MENTALLY during the entire course. The cadre did an OUTSTANDING job building off people’s knowledge and experience rather than aiming for one target audience. One of the best classes I have taken, BY FAR! If you are still reading this wandering if this class is for you, then you are already behind. You never know when you might be the “First Responder” or when you loved ones might depend on you! REGISTER!

Average: 5 (1 vote)

The instructors balanced the class well by staying in the classroom and applying knowledge out in the field. As a young female camping out on site I really felt welcome, supported, and respected by the whole Randal's Adventure staff!! Highly recommend this course to anyone ready to step outside their comfort zone or wanting to prepare for wilderness accidents.

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I have a pretty diverse background with a lot of law enforcement, EMS, fire, and medical training/ experience. I have been through many courses, but this WFR course is hands down the best course I’ve attended! Some of the information I learned definitely reinforced what I previously learned in other courses/ schools, but most of the information was new to me.

From my drive onto the farm on day 1 until the very end of the course on Sunday, I was impressed. The facilities are awesome and the property is perfect for virtually any type of training one could desire going through. The instructors are all incredibly experienced and knowledgeable, yet very humble and willing to still learn. The scenarios we ran were as close to reality as possible. The instructors helped add stress to the scenarios when there wasn’t enough stress by the scenarios alone. Each instructor went to whatever length necessary to help students understand and become competent WFR’s. The other students enrolled in the course also helped make the experience as good as it was by being so open to learning and working as hard as they did, even if they lacked the real world first responder training and experience. Upon completion of the course, you truly end up feeling like a part of the Randall’s Adventure & Training family and like you accomplished something. The certification was not just handed out, it was earned. I feel so much more prepared as a first responder and outdoorsman having successfully completed this course and can’t wait to take more courses here with this cadre!

Average: 5 (1 vote)

The crew at RAT was top notch. I came in hoping to learn and boy, the instructors did not disappoint. The instructors had extreme confidence in the subject matter and conveyed all the information in a way that was easily understood. The information presented was extremely thorough. More than just information, the staff put together amazing scenarios that totally immersed the students in a wilderness responder’s role. The scenarios reinforced the learned knowledge through application.

Each instructor was very approachable and willing to go to any length to ensure student learning and retention of information.

I cannot recommend this class and Randall’s Adventure & Training enough. I will definitely be back for more courses.