FAQ / Overview

As outlined by the National Emergency Services Curriculum Project, the WESS follows what is known as a ' task-based' training program.
This section provides a general idea of what this program means for each student.

Curriculum Materials



Ground and UDF Team 
 WESS' GSAR Course
 uses the Ground and
 Urban Direction Finding Team
 Task Manual


Flight Guide 
 Aircrew uses the
 Mission Aircrew Reference Text


Wilderness Advance First Aid 
 Wilderness Advanced First Aid
 uses a commercial text

Task guides are textbook of sorts, containing nearly all of the information an individual needs to acquire to become rated in particular ES ratings.
Task Format
The Task Guide is divided into numbered and lettered tasks that must be passed in order to achieve a particular rating.
There are three categories of tasks: 
Operations (marked by an O at the beginning of the task designation), 
Planning (marked by a P), and
Logistics (marked by an L).
Overview of the task guide

Tasks are grouped together by relevance, not by the rating that requires them. For instance, tasks O-0001 through O-0010 relate to individual and team equipment, but not all of these tasks are required to achieve the GTM-2 rating. The task guide also contains the criteria for attaining each level of a rating.

Each task in the guide spells out three things: objective, training, and evaluation.
 Collect and efficiently pack all items required of a ground team member.
 Training Outline
 what the student needs to know to pass,
 task evaluation criteria (how the evaluator is to test the student).

This means that participants are given a study guide with the test questions and answers already in it. For example, the objective of Task O-0002, Conduct Individual Refit, is for the student to learn, then correctly identify and explain the steps that must be taken to prepare for the next sortie or mission. The task outlines and explains these steps, then concludes with instructions to the evaluator. All tasks follow this format.
There are two types of tasks: knowledge-based tasks, that we call "K’s”, and tasks that are evaluated by demonstration-performance methods, "practical tasks”. Knowledge-based tasks (such as task O-0002), require that the student verbally show mastery of the information covered by the task. Practical tasks (like task O-0001), require that the student either demonstrate a skill or the practical application of the covered information. Students should devote any "down time” to studying and testing for their assigned knowledge-based tasks. Participants are briefed as to whom they may go to for testing during the activity. It is important to note that responsibility for getting many tasks signed off is in the hands of the participant, not the staff! It is each student’s responsibility to pass the tasks.

Task Organization
GSAR breaks down all of the tasks required for the GTM -3, -2, -1, MRO, and GTL ratings into three courses. Tasks are covered according to the course to which each participant is assigned at the beginning of the cycle (see Where You Fit In, below).
Aircrew breaks down all of the tasks required for the Aerial Photography, Mission Scanner, Mission Observer and Mission Pilot tasks into three courses. 
During each weekend of the training, specific tasks are assigned based on modules covered in each track that weekend. For example, weekend 2 modules in the Basic school include Radio Direction Finding and stretcher work. Accordingly, the Basic students are responsible for the ELT/DF and stretcher tasks that weekend. Task assignments are covered in detail during the weekend.

Testing for practical tasks will be done according to the schedule set by the staff, while testing for knowledge-based tasks may be done at any time during the weekend. The staff will keep records of the tasks that each participant passes to ensure that they receive credit with NHQ.

Where You Fit In
Participants are organized into separate schools or courses at the beginning of the cycle. The school that a participant is placed in is based on their rating, experience, and age. These courses correspond to the ratings that can be achieved. All levels require individuals to complete General Emergency Services training (www.capmembers.com/ges) on their own. It is not offered at the WESS.  

Basic (GTM3) Advanced (GTM2/MRO) Leader (GTL/UDF) Wilderness Advanced First Aid  Aircrew (MS/MO/MP)

Staff Training Staff Training Staff Training    
Week I WESS Overview
Land Navigation
Natural Hazards
Litter Carry

Advanced Overview
Knots and Ropes
Shelter Building
Mapping Skills #1
Mission Radio Skills #1

Team Leader Course Overview 
Operational Risk Management
Gear for Ground Team Leaders Inspections 
Land Navigation 
Planning Tasks 
Maps Module 1

EMS System

Workforce Safety/ Wellness

Medical, Legal, Ethical Issues

Communications & Documentation

The Human Body

Mission Scanner 1
Scanner Duties
Section Charts
Aircraft Controls
Search Patterns
Search Clues

Week II Electronic Direction Finding
Land Survival
Perform an Airfield Search
Mapping Skills #2
Advanced Land Nav.

DF by Triangulation 
Ground Team Forms
Vehicle Inspections
Ramp Search
Maps Module 2

Airway Management

Professional Rescuer CPR

Patient Assessment

Mission Scanner 2 
Aircraft Instruments 
Aircraft W/B 
CAP Forms 
Safety / CRM 
Air/Ground Signaling

Week III First Aid
Blood Borne Pathogens
Basic Communications User
Training (BCUT)

Mapping Skills #3
Mission Radio Skills #2
Advanced Electronic DF / Triangulation
Perform Airfield Search

Land Navigation II 
Ground Team Communications
WIMRS, ES Legal Issues
Triangulation Exercise #2  
Maps Module 3

Medical Emergencies

Poisoning and Substance Abuse

Behavioral Emergencies

Environmental Emergencies

Mission Observer /
Mission Pilot #1

Duties and

Search Planning #1

Week IV Search Techniques

Air / Ground Signaling 

Search Management
Search Line Operations
Helicopter Operations
Crash Scene Management

Bleeding, Shock, and Soft-Tissue Injuries

Injuries to Muscles and Bones


Pediatric Emergencies

Geriatric Emergencies

Mission Observer /
Mission Pilot #2

Sectional Maps
CAP Grid
ELT Search
Search Planning #2

Week V - Make-Up Tasks -
Graduation Mission
- Make-Up Tasks -
Graduation Mission
- Make-Up Tasks -
Graduation Mission

Lifting and Moving Patients

Transport Operations

Vehicle Extrication and Special Rescue

Incident Management

Review and Final Exam


Graduation Mission