NOLS WEMT For a Wildland Firefighter?


Forum Ride Along
I searched the forums and I didn't really find anything that helped answer some questions I have(First post here! Hello folks, how is everybody?)

In a (failing?) attempt to be concise here's some bullet points on why I think NOLS's WEMT course would be good for me, and I'm looking for someone to pick them apart- Are there better, cheaper, different options out there that anyone has suggestions for?

-I have a window of time where I'm unemployed and I would like to use that to take a full time course, as I can't commit to a spread out, part time course.

-I am interested in EMS in both an urban and backcountry setting, hoping to maybe volunteer or find EMS related employment in the off season from wildland fire.

-I've been told many times that being an EMT makes one much more attractive to hire on fire, even if it doesn't change your job description.

Cons that I'm concerned about:

-I've read many people saying that it's overpriced...

Here's a snippet of context to my situation and what I want from being a WEMT,

I'm pursuing a career in wildland firefighting, with EMS as a close second as far as career fields that interest me go. Last year I actually enrolled in an EMT basic course and ended up withdrawing before it began because I found out I was relocating for a job.

I'm a FFT2 in my first year, and I saw some action earlier this year and enjoyed getting some good, dirty experience on fire. My current job ends in December and I have a couple of months before any fire jobs I may land would start, I really want to take an EMT course but all of the ones I can find, especially locally to me are of the classes-on-weekends-for-six-months variety, which just doesn't work for me because I'm applying for jobs all over the western half of the country.

Any input would be greatly appreciated. In my head the NOLS WEMT course sounds perfect, but I'm looking for some people with experience to give me a reality check before I go and spend a bunch of money.




The Other Guy/ Paramaybe?
Ok first off welcome to the forum.

Second, and you don't have to post on here (you can send a PM once you hit 5 posts) which agency are you a seasonal with?

WEMT doesn't really factor into the wild land community, yes you are in some VERY rural places but theres always a IAP for situations where someone goes down on a fire. More than likely its going to be a helicopter, or a hike out. This happened on a couple fires I was on last year, an inmate suffered a chainsaw injury to the upper arm. I wasn't "on scene" but it was on the same division that I was working, apparently he shredded his arm pretty bad. They flew him if I can remember correctly. My buddy this year had a widow maker fall on his head paralyzing him from the waist down and they also flew him.

Preferably the best course of action would be to enroll in a EMT course at a local JC. Typically you can find one thats a semester long which is more than doable when you get laid off. Also if you search on WEMT on here its more of a merit badge class than anything. While I was a seasonal last year in my wild land pack I carried a small med kit (customized to my needs of course) just incase someone on the strike team got burned or whatever. It was not a responder bag or kit, it was a temporarily mitigate the problem and get them out kinda deal.

If you're pursuing a career in JUST wild land firefighting i.e. a career with BLM or USFS then EMT is more than enough. If you're trying to get on with a all risk dept such as CAL FIRE, LACoFD, Organ Dept of Forestry... then you'll need to get your paramedic before those types of depts even consider looking at you. My advice would be to just do your EMT. Theres plenty of local colleges that offer the semester course which you can get done in the off season. Also its way cheaper to just do your regular EMT then it is to do WEMT... by about 2-3 grand.