Practical remote medical skills for medical professionals!

The WEMS Upgrade course builds on the EMS professional’s training and expertise to meet the special challenges of unconventional settings. It is designed for EMS personnel working in search and rescue, disaster response, remote job posts, and on wilderness expeditions. The curriculum emphasizes wilderness medical protocols, use of appropriate technology, prolonged patient care and the leadership role in managing medical emergencies in the field.

This intensive 5-day (45 hour) course will upgrade state EMS certifications to Wilderness EMS provider. Current certification at or above the basic level is a prerequisite for admission. The course covers a wide spectrum of emergency care topics relative to wilderness medicine and caring for injuries and illnesses over prolonged periods of time. 

Be better prepared for a remote accident? Learn best practices? Broaden your critical thinking and problem solving skills.

  • Improve your assessment and scene leadership skills. Further your risk benefit and decision making skills. Understand real shock. Learn to safely move spine injured patients. Treat ugly wounds and broken bones with greater confidence. Administer epinephrine for severe airway constriction. Reduce dislocated shoulders in the field. Recognize situations you can manage alone and when you need to scream for help.
  • Each day is devoted to classroom interaction and outdoor practical skills. You should expect scenarios with made up victims and simulated wounds to occur continuously throughout the course. 
  • The course combines discussions, practical stations and real-life simulations. Topics include assessment and management of traumatic injuries such as fractures, burns and wounds; circulatory, nervous, and respiratory system problems; common injuries such as blisters, sprains and strains; medical problems such as anaphylaxis, toxins, altitude, hypothermia, hyperthermia, and infections; and use of improvised materials in remote situations. The course includes information on personal outdoor preparedness, accident management and prevention and introduces you to simple evacuation techniques and rope work. 
  • Three year certification through Wilderness Medical Associates International will be granted following successful completion of the course.

Date & Location

Jan 13 – 17, 2021
8:30am – 6:00pm

Bar Harbor, ME


Space is limited, register early.

Securing an arm
Proud work!
Extrication practice

Specific Info

General Info

The WEMS Upgrade is for existing EMS personnel (EMT, AEMT or Paramedic) seeking to upgrade and other healthcare providers such as nurses, mid-levels and physicians looking to gain knowledge and practical skills in wilderness medicine

Requires certification at or above the EMT level.

  • Students will develop improved critical thinking and diagnostic/analytical skills enabling optimum decision-making
  • Student will have the skills, knowledge and abilities to provide emergency first aid for a wide array of injuries and conditions in a remote setting
  • Students will be able to clearly communicate diagnosis and treatment plan to victims, rescue workers and other expedition members.
  • A strong understanding of how to manage the site environment to avoid additional injury to the victim while keeping the site safe for other expedition participants.

Below is a sample curriculum for the 5 day WFR / WEMS Upgrade Class. We strive to make each class slightly different in structure to maintain presentation freshness. 

Day 1

0830-0900 .5 hr Introductions, Registration and Overview

0900-1000 1 hr General Concepts Overview CH 1 & 2

1000-1015 Break

1015-1100 .5 Scene Leadership / Backcountry ICS

1100-1200 .75 hr Patient Assessment, Demo / Practice, SOAPS, Radio Reports CH 3

1200-1300 Lunch

1300-1500 1.5 hr Lifting / Moving / Extrication FG pg 36-37

1500-1630 2.5 hrs PAS Drills – Circulatory System Overview  CH 4

1630-1645 Break

1645-1800 1.25 Large Group Scenario

1800-1830 .5 hr Debrief

Homework Assignment Cases 1, 12, 19, 37, 38

Day 2

Case Studies

0830-0900 0.5 hr Quiz

0900-1045 1.75 hrs PAS Drills – Nervous System Overview, SOAPS, Radio Reports CH 6

1045-1100 Break

1000-1215 1.25 hrs Spinal Assessment CH 7

1215-1315 Lunch

1315-1445 1.5 hrs Spinal Management FG pg 45-46 & 81-82

1445-1500 Break

1500-1645 1.75 hrs Respiratory System Overview, SOAPS, Radio Reports CH 5

1645-1800 1.25 Large Group Scenario

1800-1830 .5 hr Debrief – Case Studies

Additional Assignment Cases 4, 11, 14, 31

Day 3

0830-0900 0.5 hr Quiz

Case Studies

0900-1115 2.25 hrs BLS Skills – Supplemental O2, Airway Adjuncts, ALS 

1115-1130 Break

1130-1230 1.0 hr Lifts and Carries, Improvised Litters, Key Knots, Litter Carrying

1230-1330 Lunch

1330-1430 1.0 hr Thermo-regulation (hyperthermia/hypothermia CH 16

1430-1545 1.25 hrs Anaphylaxis and Asthma  CH 9 & 10

1545-1600 Break

1600-1700 1.0 hr SAR Orientation (basic overview, LZ prep, personal prep) CH 41,42

1700-1800 1.0 hr Small Group scenarios

1800-1830 .5 hr Debrief – Case Studies

Additional Assignment Cases 5, 17, 27, 29, 30

Day 4

0830-0900 0.5 hr Quiz

Case Studies

0900-1030 1.5 hrs Soft Tissue Injury / Wound CH 15

1030-1045 Break

1045-1230 1.75 hrs Musculoskeletal Injuries CH 13

1230-1330 Lunch

1330-1430 1.0 hrs Dislocations / Review Musculoskeletal as needed FG pg 30 CH 14

1445-1500 Break

1445-1645 2.0 hrs Small Group scenarios

1645-1800 1.25 hrs Environmental Injury (frostbite, burns, lightning, near-drowning, altitude) CH 17,18,20,22

1800-1830 .5 hr Debrief

Additional Assignment Cases 16, 20, 24, 40

Day 5

0830-0915 0.5 hr Quiz – Case Studies

0915-1000 .75 hr Toxins, Bites, Stings CH 23,24

1000-1015 Break

1015-1115 1.0 hrs Backcountry Medicine Rodeos – Round One (emphasis use of FG, simple problems: 

nose bleeds, corneal abrasion, abd pain) FG pg 66-75 CH 25-40

1115-1215 1.0 hrs Backcountry Medicine Rodeos ( 2 – 3 rounds) (GI/GU, dental, infections, altitude, toxin, 

stable inj., abdominal, Chest pain

1215-1230 Wrap Up

1230-1330 Lunch

1330-1600 2.5 hrs Final Scenario 

1600-1630 0.5 hrs Review Summary

1630-1730 1.0 hr Final Written

1730-1800 0.5 hrs Course wrap

WMAI courses present nationally recognized curricula. The style of the course is the result of input from outdoor educators, medical experts, search and rescue personnel, EMS field providers and prior students. Certification through Wilderness Medical Associates International will be granted following successful completion of the course. 

  • General Concepts in Wilderness and Rescue Medicine
  • Patient Assessment System Critical Body Systems: BLS and CPR; Anaphylaxis and Asthma
  • Practical Skills: Lifting, Movement and Extrication; Spine Stabilization and Litter Packaging; Improvised Splinting and Litter Construction, Wound Cleaning and Exploration
  • Environmental Topics: Exposure Control; Bites and Stings; Altitude Illness; Cold Injuries; Diving Emergencies; Thermoregulation; Lightning; Near Drowning; Avalanche
  • Musculoskeletal Systems: Spine Injury Assessment; Musculoskeletal Injuries; Extremity Splinting; Dislocations
  • Backcountry Medicine: Routine management and prevention of some common medical problems encountered in the wilderness: sprains and strains, diarrhea, seasickness, minor wounds, urinary infections, dental problems, headaches, etc. 
  • Other: Medical Legal Issues; Soft Tissue Injury; Toxins; Search and Rescue; Emergency Childbirth; Medical Kits

There are no pre-course study requirements for the WEMS Upgrade. Simply familiarize yourself with the information listed below on the wilderness medical associate’s Moodle website. Of course you are encouraged to review the course text.

You will need to create a Moodle account on the WMAI website.

Step 1: Click on the following link and create a new Moodle account:

– You will receive an email to confirm your new Moodle account.

Step 2: While logged into your Moodle account, click on the following Enrollment link and then click the Enroll Me button: https://courses.wildmed.com/enrol/index.php?id=3401&enrollKey=30815

Review / complete the following Forms:

  1. Indemnity Agreement
  2. Photo Consent and Protocol Disclaimer – Please fill out online. You will be asked to fill out a set for course sponsor at the course as well.  
  3. Functional Position Description
  4. Course Participation Standards
  5. Student Handbook
  6. Social Media
  7. Hygiene Review


Post course, you may complete a course evaluation under Course Files and generate a PDF copy of your WMA certification under Certificates

You will need a headlamp, a roll of duct tape and old throwaway shirts, socks and pants for simulations.

Texts included with the course fee:

Wilderness and Rescue Medicine: A Guide for Basic & Advanced Practitioners
Wilderness Medicine Workbook

Field Guide of Wilderness & Rescue Medicine
WFR Class Notes

SOAP Note Book

January 13 – 17th, 2021. Class will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 6:00 p.m. and may occasionally run over by 15 – 20 minutes. These days will be long and intense and you must plan time for evening study. Try to get a good rest and get personal matters out of the way before the course

Bar Harbor Based Courses:
Meet at 228 Main St in Bar Harbor, ME. Great hiking, mountain biking, rock and ice climbing, cross country skiing and beautiful sunrises can be had minutes away in beautiful Acadia National Park.

Orono Based Courses:
Meet at 92 Maine St. in Orono, ME. Located just off of Interstate 95. If you are traveling on I-95, take exit 191 (Kelley Road). Go east on Kelley Road (right turn if coming from Bangor or left turn if coming from north). Go approximately 1 mile to a T intersection with red light.
Turn left and go approximately 1 mile. Alpenglow Adventure Sports is at 92 Main St. – a large green house/building. If you pass the fire station, you have gone too far.

Lunch breaks will be provided with enough time to get into town. There are several restaurants and meal options within a five minute walk that offer a selection of food including vegetarian and vegan options.

Bar Harbor based Courses:
There are numerous accommodations within walking distance or a short drive in Bar Harbor.

Orono based Courses: Limited backyard tenting is available. There are numerous accommodations in both Orono and Bangor (about 10 – 15 minute drive). The closest accommodation, within a ten minute easy walk, is the University Inn at 5 College Avenue Orono, Maine.207.866.7120


Cell service is good and WIFI is available on site.

Practical: This will cover all practical skills and group scenarios. 

Workbook Assignments: With each reading assignment there may be a workbook assignment. Workbooks need to be brought to every class; they will be reviewed for completeness during the quiz or exam.

Homework, Reports and Team Projects: From time to time homework will be assigned in addition to the reading and workbook assignments. These may be collected and graded. There may be oral reports assigned that will need to be done at a couple different points during the class; these will also be graded. Teams in the class are sometimes assigned projects that will also be graded. Written material will be evaluated on content, professional appearance including spelling and grammar. 

Grading: Successful completion with certification is based on 100% attendance, satisfactory performance on homework assignments and written quizzes, demonstrated proficiency with practical skills and a grade of 80% or better on final written exam.

It is safe to say that this class will be different from many classes you have taken. You are being prepared for entry into a profession and this is the critical time to instill the core values of wilderness leadership and EMS organization: teamwork, professionalism, and integrity. You will often operate independently caring for patients for minutes to days until advanced further help can arrive, For this reason we have to get the absolute most we can out of every second of that training which means keeping the class engaged and active from minute one. You will be involved from minute one, there will be discussions, team activities, oral reports, scenario based learning, video-taped scenario based learning, simulations made as real as possible and an intense level of practice, evaluation and follow up practice. You should expect to be outside regardless of the weather.  You will be working on your hands and knees (in the mud and snow) and carrying loaded litters over rough terrain and through brush. For your own personal safety and comfort, please come to class prepared to go outside on a moment’s notice. Please bring your notebook along with a way to use it, (yes, even in the rain or snow) for each class.

IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU ARE PREPARED WHEN YOU COME TO CLASS. Do not plan on leaving at exactly the stated end time everyday, some exercises may take us over by 30 – 60 minutes. Plan to be there later and on the days you can leave on time you will be pleasantly surprised. Come to class prepared to work both physically and mentally. 

Make sure you have had adequate sleep and it would be best not to work all night the night before class. Hangovers are another bad idea. Be prepared to be outside in all weather; let me stress, be prepared to be outside in all weather. 

We will be practicing our skill scenarios in real conditions that may mean outside in the pouring rain, the snow, the mud or other unpleasant conditions. Dress warmly in layers and bring a change of clothes for scenarios is a good idea. 

BRING OLD CLOTHES TO CLASS TO WEAR FOR SCENARIOS. At times you will be playing a patient. Some of the make up we use stains clothing and some scenarios will force you to lay in snow, slush and mud. Clothing may get cut up. 

If you have any physical limitations that keep you from performing this type of scenario let your instructor know in advance. 

To prepare academically for class you should do the following: read the assigned chapters to be covered in that class in advance, pay special attention to the key points that are mentioned in class. Prepare a list of questions for discussion of points that are not quite clear to you for class. After class re-read the assigned chapters, do the workbook, study any hand-outs, returned assignments or homework. 


45 hours of CEHs are available from Maine EMS and 45 Advanced Level CEUs from CECBEMS toward National Registry. All hours can be applied to recertifying state and national registry EMT and paramedic certifications.

Enjoying the outdoors necessitates a certain degree of risk-taking and so does taking a wilderness medicine course. You are participating in this course at your own risk. You will be asked to lift other people, you will have make-up applied to your skin, you will be training in an outdoor environment that may be cold, hot, rocky, slippery, or wet. You will be participating in training exercises in outdoor areas that are remote and, as in all outdoor activities, are inherently dangerous and are often physically and emotionally demanding. You will be participating in emergency medical training scenarios with other students under circumstances where accidents, mistakes or other circumstances may result in injury to me. Please be sure that you are fully aware of such risks. .If you have a pre-existing condition that may impact your participation, it is your responsibility to notify the instructor so that accommodation can be made. It is our goal to interpret the environmental, situational and group variables and to make educated decisions to minimize dangers to you while at the same time providing an enjoyable and memorable experience.

Full Payment is required upon registration.

When you book a course with Acadia Mountain Guides you are agreeing to our cancellation policy. Please realize that if your travel does not go according to plan in any way and for any reason, we are unable to provide credits or refunds outside of what is described below. We strongly recommend that you purchase trip insurance to protect your activity purchase against unforeseeable circumstances which include but are not limited to: 

  • Anticipation of Inclement Weather
  • Flight and Travel Delays and Conditions
  • Personal or work schedule changes
  • Injury or Illness of self or family member

If you cancel more than 21 days in advance you may put the deposit toward a future course or receive a 75% refund. Cancellations made within twenty-one (21) days of program forfeit full tuition rate. Alternatively, if you find a replacement you will receive a 100% refund. A full refund will be given if Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School must cancel the course.


If you are symptomatic or found positive for COVID, have been exposed to COVID + person(s) in the past 14 days you may request to be either rescheduled or receive a full refund.

A minimum of eight (8) participants are needed to run this program and there is a maximum of twenty one (21). The decision to run the program will be made three weeks prior to the start date. In the case of low registration, you will have the options of joining another program, receiving a refund or possibly paying an additional amount to allow the program to run with lower numbers.

Are you part of a college organization, ski club, summer camp, etc.? We are happy to schedule a customized course for organizations, small groups, and individuals. We offer courses in backcountry skiing, avalanche safety, rock and ice climbing, high altitude mountaineering trips, wilderness medicine and slope access / technical rescue. We can travel to you or you can come to us. Of course, if you would like to schedule a course or trip in Iceland, Colorado, or Japan, etc. we would be very pleased to work with you.


Any outdoor gear you may want can be purchased ahead of the course from our gear store – Alpenglow Adventure Sports – where you get a 25% off purchases made within 7 days before or after the course and a 15% discount off MSRP for life!!!  Purchases may be made in-store or online. Gear purchased in advance of course can often be brought to you on the course. 

Again, All of our clients receive a LIFETIME 15% DISCOUNT on all outdoor gear and clothing purchases through Alpenglow Adventure Sports in Bar Harbor and Orono, or online. Upon registration you will be provided a discount code.

A History of
Leading the way…

Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School is the preeminent frontrunner in climbing instruction and guiding in Acadia and across Maine. Since 1994 we have specialized in designing customized experiences or training for you, your family, your group or company.

Jon Tierney
Owner and IFMGA/AMGA Mountain Guide
IFMGA Licensed International Mountain Guide | AMGA Certified Rock Guide | AMGA Certified Ski Mountaineering Guide | AMGA Certified Alpine Guide | Flight Paramedic | B.S. Parks and Forest Recreation


• Since 1994 •

AMGCS is one of 32 AMGA accredited programs in the US and was one of the earliest to pursue and achieve accreditation. AMGCS is the only climbing school in Maine to remain continuously AMGA accredited. We have had one or more full time AMGA rock guides on staff each year since 1994.

Owned by internationally recognized IFMGA/AMGA Mountain Guide Jon Tierney who has been climbing in Acadia since 1982. Jon has over 30 years of local and worldwide experience. The IFMGA requires full AMGA certification as a rock, alpine and ski mountaineering guide.

All instructors are certified as AMGA or PCIA Single Pitch Instructors and all guides have been trained or certified by the AMGA.

PCIA Accredited

• Since 2007 •

AMGCS has the distinction of also being accredited to the highest standards of the Professional Climbing Instructors Association. The PCIA requires all staff to be individually trained and certified.

Save 15% on
All Gear and Clothing

Become a client of Acadia Mountain Guides and receive a permanent 15% off MSRP on purchases in our stores or at AlpenglowGear.com.

Your Source for Adventure!

Gear Rental Program

AMGCS also rents outdoor equipment for your convenience. All clients receive 25% off rental equipment for use on our courses.
See what we have.