Wilderness Rescue

Maryville College is once again partnering up with Roane State Community College to offer the Wilderness Rescue Class this J-term. This year’s class is instructed by both Mr. Bruce Guillaume, Director of Mountain Challenge here at Maryville College, and Mr. Kirk Harris, Director of Continuing Healthcare and Safety Education at Roane State Community College.

The course is a taught in both the classroom and out in the wilderness on the MC campus.

“This course is designed to be fun, but at the same time it can be a challenge,” noted Harris in the syllabus. “Sometimes, because of the new vocabulary, it can seem intense. Relax, concentrate, and this material will stay with you as usable knowledge for years.”

When outside, students are often challenged with a variety of scenarios in which they practice techniques and drills learned during the course. The scenarios represent a wide range of different obstacles that first responders face while in the wilderness such as broken bones, hypothermia, soft tissue injuries, frostbite and other various types of trauma.

“My favorite scenario that we have done so far was figuring out how to treat a patient that was both having a heart attack and a broken back,” said Chase Chastain, a sophomore here at MC and a student in the Wilderness Rescue class. “However, the biggest obstacle my team and I had to overcome was that it was snowy weather outside at the time.”

This course offers realistic scenarios complete with mock arterial blood spray, torn meat and fake broken bones. This gives a realistic impression of what responders might see in the real word.

“It’s been really fun and interactive,” Chastain continued. “The information we learn is both very interesting and applicable. We learn different skills, and then put them to the test with different real world scenarios.”

Students that take the class come from a wide variety of degree programs that include outdoor studies, biology, mountain challenge staff and pre-med.

“Anybody that wants to have these skills can take this class,” said Guillaume, regarding the typical student that signs up for the course. “Not just the outdoorsy type of individual but also people that might find themselves in the medical field or a first responder.”

Students who complete this course with a passing grade will be qualified to sit for the National Certification Exam. Unfortunately, the course does cost a bit extra with a fee hovering the $600 range, but that seems minimal considering the value of what our students are learning.

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