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post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Could someone tell me what the differences are between a Wilderness First Responder certification and the Outdoor Emergency Care certification? I know that OEC is ski patrol-specific, but other than that, I am curious to know how much overlap there is.

post #2 of 3
I don't have any experience with the wilderness course.

15 years ago, the older version of OEC, called Winter Emergency Care, was much more winter specific than the OEC course now in use.

OEC now, I'm told, is similar in content and breadth of topics to an EMT Basic course.

You'll get a ton of differing opinions on that comparison. I only put it out there as what I have been told---not what I have experienced, (I never took an EMT course)---to try to illustrate course content.

Although, to be sure, it is less time consuming. For instance, OEC has nothing on motor vehicle accidents, yet it does have heat illnesses and injuries, pregnancies and some limited wilderness content.
post #3 of 3


I am a Wilderness EMT and have been since the course was developed back in 1978. I instruct wilderness medical care to the Wilderness First Responder level.

Standards for WFR (and WEMT) are set by the Wilderness Medical Society. The standard says that a WFR course should be at least 72 hours long, plus CPR. The biggest differences lie in the areas specific to wilderness care:

1. Extended patient contact time.
2. Lack of communications.
3. Improvisation of tools.
4. Environmental extremes.

In addition, there are some skills that are part of WFR that are not part of the "standard protocol" such as dislocation reduction, focused spinal assessment ("clearing the spine") and cessation of CPR. Wilderness EMT includes the same skills and more, in greater detail.

Our patrol is not affiliated with NSP. We require applicants to have Advanced Wiilderness First Aid (32 hours) and CPR certification when they join, and WFR by the start of their second season. (We also do mountain bike patrol in two area National Forests the summer.) The areas we patrol are remote, or hard to access by motor vehicle. First aiders always patrol with a WFR or WEMT.

Hope this helps.

Ski Safe,
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