Saturday, November 6, 2010

Conditioning Tips for Rescue from Dr. Amtmann

Sports, mainstream and non-mainstream, can be very challenging mentally and physically. I admire the athleticism of the non-mainstream athlete (climber, kayaker, skier, etc…) as much as the mainstream basketball or football player. It is essential that coaches of all sports understand the requirements of their particular sport, and when I work with athletes I always set up the training program to prepare the athlete for the worst case scenario, but hope for the best overall outcome. For example, a grappling athlete needs to be able to out-work his/her opponent for the full duration of the regulation match AND the overtime round if needed – possibly 6-8 times during a tournament, but hope for a quick win by pin early on in the match. Successful coaches realize this and take the steps to prepare the athletes during the sport practices as well as additional strength and conditioning sessions.

It is just as important for the rescue professional to physically prepare for the inevitable rescue that will require solid physical conditioning. If you think about it, athletes competing on a regular basis have an advantage because they know when they’ll be expected to perform. For some athletes, it’s weekly or bi-weekly during the season. Some athletes have a full 12 weeks to prepare for their event. It’s easy for the coaches to maintain a consistent training regimen when the dates of the events are known. For the rescue professional the big call could be today, tomorrow or 10 months from now. Despite when that call actually is, you will have to be physically prepared.

When I work with the general public, I am much more forgiving when developing exercise programs. If the exercise program is too intense for the 50 year old administrative assistant who hasn’t exercised in over 20 years, the person will usually just end up quitting – so it’s better to gently train with low intensity than to not train at all. With athletes and/or rescue professionals, however, we have to train with the thought that we are preparing for that worst case scenario. Let’s not fool ourselves, a high level of physical fitness is beneficial in performing the basic duties of swiftwater rescue.

The tips I would like to emphasize specifically for the professional rescuer for this edition include:

• Cross Train – train for cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and strength endurance. In future issues we will provide you with time-efficient programs that will address all of these components in one training session per day.
• Train the entire body in a balanced fashion – don’t ignore any major muscle group. When the entire body improves in strength overall structural integrity improves and resistance to injury is enhanced.
• Train consistently – realize that your conditioning is directly related to your abilities as a rescue professional. Make it a part of your daily routine…I guess you can take Sundays off.
• Train with intensity – Prepare for the worst case scenario…

….but hope for the best.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wilderness Medicine Semester with Aerie

Aerie’s Semester in Wilderness Medicine is a completely unique program in the wilderness medicine field, providing students with industry-leading certifications earned through unparalleled experiential learning opportunities. The rigorous academic program employs realistic scenarios, interactive lectures, as well as clinical observations in a variety of settings, including an urban American emergency room and advanced life support ambulance service, as well as in a developing-world rural health clinic to ensure a well-rounded, challenging and rewarding educational experience. The goal is not only to provide professional-level certifications, but also a broad education in wilderness skills to ensure that our students are capable of preventing and responding to emergencies in any environment.

Costa Rica highlights including staffing a health clinic based in the community of Mastatal, Costa Rica and making house visits for patients too ill or remote to walk into the village center. The clinic is an outstanding opportunity to practice patient care skills under the direct instruction of Aerie's Medical Director, emergency room physician Dr. Greg Moore, and volunteer RNs, aided by language translators for non-Spanish speaking students. Semester students additionally spend several days on community health work addressing chronic respiratory disease related to the longstanding practice of cooking indoors over wood fires.

Returning to Montana, students augment their EMT skills with instruction in avalanche and swiftwater rescue, managing patients in winter environments, and formal search and rescue training, including helicopter rescue operations. Aerie's strong community relationships allow us to offer human anatomy instruction at the University of Montana cadaver lab and vehicle extrication practice with local firefighters. You will not receive a more comprehensive education in wilderness and emergency medical skills anywhere.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Whitewater Symposium

WRI will be heading out to NOC for the Whitewater Symposium. We are very excited to be participating in this great event again. The Symposium is a unique opportunity to sit down and listen, discuss, and share thoughts about the whitewater industry. We hope to share some of our river safety knowledge, but even more than that, we hope to learn what else is happening on rivers. If you're in the area, come and visit. Should be fun!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spring Has Arrived!

We have been busy since February, with courses in Costa Rica and here in Missouls. May looks to be even busier. We are offering a variety of Swiftwater Rescue Courses througout May, June and July.

We are very excited to announce a few new additions to the 2010 schedule. First, we will be offer two Advanced SWRT courses on the Gallatin River on May 15-16 and May 30-31. We will also be offering an Advanced course here in Missoula sometime in July.

Next, we are excited to be working with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad again. We are working with their containment teams in Havre, Montana and Guernsey, Washington. We will be helping them safely set up boom in case of derailments in streams.

We are also happy to be working with Sierra South in Kernville, California to offer the southern Sierra paddlers a boaters safety course on June 26-27.

We hope you too are having a great spring and we hope to see you out on the river.

Don't forget to visit us at! And stay tuned to YouTube for course videos. For the latest go to

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Montana River Association

The Montana River Association (MRA) is up and running. It's mission is to provide education, stewardship, and advocacy for the river recreation community of western Montana.

MRA will be hosting a series of Rolling/Paddling session in the Currents Pool in Missoula. The first session is on Sunday, Jan 24th from 6-8pm. MRA will be asking for a $5.00 donation from members and $15 donation (this will include a membership) from non-members.

You can check them out at or become a fan on facebook.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snake River Ranger Job Posting

River Ranger, Snake River

US Forest Service, Jackson Ranger District, Jackson, Wyoming

Summer Season 2010

Positions: Multiple positions are available!

Start Date: End of May End Date: minimum of mid-August, usually mid-September latest

Work Schedule: This is a 40 hr/week position, with every member of the crew working at least one day of the weekend.

Pay: GS-4 or GS-5 which is dependent on experience and education

Housing: Forest Service housing is available south of Jackson near Hoback Junction

Daily duties include, but are not limited to the following:

· Make professional visitor contacts to provide and gain information

· Enforce non-commercial and institutional group permit program = education first & citations if we must

· Maintain all recreation day use sites in the Snake River and Hoback Canyons – this includes cleaning bathrooms, picking up garbage and pulling recycling

· Assist on any projects as needed (fence repair, minimal trail work, boat ramps, weeds, aquatic nuisance species facility maintenance, facility repair)

· Patrol canyon corridors via vehicle, including boat ramps, dispersed sites and trailheads. Clean, maintain sites, educate visitors, enforce FS regulations.

· Accurately monitor all outfitted use to ensure following permitted activities

· Occasionally patrol on-river in USFS rafts and duckies to make visitor contacts, enforce rules, monitor visitor and outfitter use, pick up garbage, do camp inspections. (Typically, on-river patrols occur once a week – this is greatly dependent on crew skills.)

· Work closely with the Snake River Fund to implement projects and education programs along the river and in the community (Summit on the Snake, 5th grade float trips, Snake River Days camp)

This position is mainly an on-land river position with infrequent on-river patrols, which are largely dependent on boating skill levels of crew members. The priorities are working with the public on boat ramps, outfitter monitoring, and maintaining day use sites. Being a river ranger on the Snake River in Jackson WY requires a person with great communication and people skills, the ability to be flexible with daily job duties (every day is different on the river), and knowledge in resource/recreation management is preferred. This position challenges rangers to improve their communication skills when working with the public and will give rangers a good foundation to understanding the world of outfitter/guide management, permit systems, and recreation management in general with the Forest Service. River navigating/boating skills are preferred for this position, but are not a requirement.

For more information on the river program go to:

For more information about the Snake River Fund go to:

To find out how to apply,

please contact:

Jeanette Langston

Lead River Ranger

Jackson Ranger District