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Wilderness and Disaster Medicine

Mountain Medicine Wilderness and Disaster Medicine Fall Conference

Date:  This is a full 3-day conference. Date determined yearly but timed to fall on or around Veteran’s Day Weekend. Update posted yearly.

Arrival time: 12:30 hrs on the starting Thursday and Dismissal time 1200 hrs the following Sunday.

Location: Pinkham Notch, NH. At the AMC Visitor Center and the Joe Dodge Lodge.

Lodging and Meals: All provided in the course fees and provided by the AMC visitor services.

Cost: 2021 Fee is $750.00. Arranged yearly based upon AMC rates.

Students provide their own travel arrangements and are encouraged to carpool.


Schedule: This course is fully out-of-doors despite the weather.

            Basic schedule:          6:30   Breakfast (provided)           

8-12    Out-of-doors for scenarios.

                                                Noon- indoor lunch (provided)

                                                1-4      Out-of-Doors for scenarios.

                                                4:         Major debrief indoors

                                                5:         Recovery/ free time

                                                6:         Supper (provided)

                                                7-9:     Indoors for Essential didactic lectures

No Prerequisites

Number of CEH Hours          27


Description of Activity

            This course is designed to prepare students to assume the role of rescuer and provide care for injured or ill individuals in a wilderness or major disaster situation where critical infrastructure has been severely damaged and usual supplies are missing.


Activity Goals

            To encourage creative problem solving using materials at hand to solve medical problems.

            To re-visit treatment protocols for individuals where time to definitive care may be days to weeks.

            To promote survival of the rescuer in these given austere situations.

            To facilitate evacuation decision making that factors in the risks to and needs of the rescue group.

2021 Activity Schedule. All activities occur either in or around the Joe Dodge Lodge in the White Mountain National Forest near Pinkham Notch, NH.


Thursday: 12:30- 5:30

            Rescue Hike. Teaching basic skills on how to respond to a PLB (ex. SPOT), including mapping GPS to physical maps, using map and compass to find a search location, preparing for an extended rescue in winter conditions, clothing and hiking skills to prevent rescuer issues, Surprise medical scenarios enroute to locations, assessing critical injured patients at location, and decision making and evacuation procedures for critically injured patients in a remote location, and procedures for safely evacuating time during after dark, nighttime hours.


Friday 8-12

            Rescuer Basic skills:  Firebuilding in adverse conditions (how’s, why, uses), improvised shelter building for self and injured, improvised litter making, and correct packaging in a Stokes Litter and Rescue SKED.


Friday: 1-5   Outdoor Scenarios (cannot be named due to surprise nature of these situations and need for students to respond spontaneously. 2021 included Lightning Strike with multiple victims, Severe Chest penetrating and closed trauma incorporating the military TCCC protocols, Open and Closed Long bone fractures with improvised splinting, care, and evacuation.


Friday Evening Lectures

            7:00    Hypothermia    Presenter David Maver RN

            8:00    Survivors Mindset     presenter Michelle Larned, Licensed SW, EMT


Saturday 8-12 Disaster Hospital

            8:00  Brainstorming all the components that need to be addressed for improvising a care center in a location where critical infrastructure has been damaged.

            9:00    Supplies Scavenger Hunt. Actually physically erecting this care center with teams scavenging supplies in a creative manner.

            10-12  Patient rotations. Presenting 18 types of illness and injuries that will require long term care during this prolonged time period, followed by debriefing.


            1-5      Rescues in Risky Environments (Low Angle Rescue)

                        Students are taught skills to:

  1. Safely descend to an injured patient (rappelling and belaying followed by use of ascender.

  2. Lowering a litter and team to an injured patient

  3. Setting up and utilizing a raising system (Z-drag) to retrieve patient and team.


7:00    Wilderness Wound Care      David Maver RN

8:00    Considerations for Pediatric Care and Animals in Rescue situation

                        Presenter Kate Lusso  RN, Captain US Airforce Reserve.




            8-10    Surprise Scenarios (2021 included 1 hour Hypothermia with 2 victims and C-spine and CHI with multiple victims)


            10:00 Scenario Debriefing

            11:00 What’s in Your Pack (as a rescuer or potential rescuer)?


            Closure, Evaluations, Academy Award Ceremony for students acting the role of victims in our scenarios.  


Staff and Presenters


Mountain Med Staff


            William Houghton MD, EDM

            David Maver, RN

            Jaimey Assainte RN

            Christopher Myska, Paramedic

            Ben Wilke  PA. orthopedics.

            Captain Kate Lusso, RN

            Captain Michelle Larned, EMT, Licensed Social Work.


We are a CAPCE approved organization.


This 8-hour course is designed for participants to understand and practice the techniques associated with moving injured parties on sloping, slick, or unstable terrain, where one slip of a rescuer could lead to disaster for the rescue.


Topics include: rope work, anchors, knots, belay devices, hauling and lowering systems.


Required equipment per person: helmet, harness, 2 locking carabiners, 10 feet of 1-inch tubular webbing, water, lunch, and backpack.


Location: Suitable slope near you.


$200 per person, 5-person minimum.

Based on the epidemiology of climbing injuries, we offer an 8 our course designed to teach climbers the necessary tools to respond to the most common climbing injuries. Whether you're looking to expand upon your WFR or start the process of learning to be of use, this course is for you.

Climber's First Responder Course

Wilderness First Responder

   Based upon the Wilderness Medical Society's recommendations for evidenced based curriculum, we offer a 10 day, 80 hour course that leads to certification as a Wilderness First Responder.

   Our educational approach mixes didactic learning (reading and lectures) with a plethora of hands-on practice activities and realistic scenarios that best prepare students for real life situations. What makes us different is that our providers are medical professionals who have wilderness experience.

    We have a major focus on scene management and evacuation decision making, as it's not just the patient but the entire group that is dependent upon critical decision making.

    Day 10 involves 8 hours of written and practical tests to fully assess student's proficiency in handling WFR level wilderness medicine situations.

     This program is offered on a demand only basis with a minimum number of students required. Contact us for pricing and details.


Wilderness EMT

   Mountain Medicine is offering on demand WEMT programs. Students must have valid EMS license and current CPR certifications. This 40 hour course also gains students 32 hrs of CAPACE approved CEUs in the Advance Category. Contact us for details. Minimum 10 students required. For organizations with mixed populations this may be combined with WFR programs.

CONFERENCES TAILORED SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUR NEEDS:  We can put together a wide range of educational experiences for you and your crew, from reading EKGs to understanding medications to any medical topic that you may possibly have need to know. Contact us for more information.

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