The Wilderness First Responder course is a comprehensive 70+ hour course that provides essential training in wilderness medicine, leadership, and critical thinking for professionals and leaders working in outdoor, low-resource, and remote environments. It is also an ideal course for people who live in rural areas and those that like to adventure far. During the course, students learn the essential principles and skills required to assess and manage medical problems in isolated and extreme environments for days and weeks if necessary. This course aims to build confidence to take control and manage all aspects of an emergency. Our Wilderness First Aid students often return to take this course.

Best Suited For:

  • Anyone with a desire to develop skills beyond the Wilderness First Aid level.
  • People who live in rural communities.
  • People who like to adventure into remote areas several miles from trailheads or offshore.
  • Disaster relief personnel and volunteers.
  • People who work in remote areas:
    • Rangers
    • Wildland Firefighters
    • Outdoor Educators
    • Outdoor Guides
    • Military
    • Field Researchers
    • Search and Rescue Personnel/Volunteers
  • Doctors, nurses, and PA’s looking to enhance their field application of medicine.

This course requires 70+ hours. It is offered in both hybrid and traditional formats. Select the options below for more details.

Our hybrid courses offer an opportunity for those that have less flexible work schedules and anyone that wishes to engage with part of the curriculum over a few weeks at their own pace.

  • E-Learning Section (30+ Hours)
    • Learners complete 30+ hours of online course work at their own pace in an asynchronous format over six to eight weeks. Coursework is due prior to the In-Person Learning section. Students have the option to attend virtual office hours by appointment.
  • In-Person Section (~40+ Hours; 5 Days)
    • Learners participate in five days of in-person training.
    • Expect to spend ~ 9+ hours in the classroom each day. No required homework is given.

This course is great for university programs who would like to get a WFR in over a break (i.e. spring break).

  • E-Learning Section (~12+ Hours)
    • Learners complete ~12 hours of online course work at their own pace in an asynchronous format over four to six weeks. Coursework is due prior to the In-Person Learning section. Students have the option to attend virtual office hours by appointment.
  • In-Person Section (~60+ Hours; 7 Days)
    • Learners participate in seven days of in-person training.
    • Expect to spend ~8+ hours in the classroom each day and have ~1.5 hours of homework to complete each night. Students will have access to the homework once they finish their pre-course e-learning requirement and are encouraged to get ahead.

These courses are for learners that prefer being in a physical classroom with an instructor the entire time. Engagement with the online learning management system (LMS) is limited to reviewing course expectations and logistics and completing information and release forms. Instructors may use the LMS to facilitate homework assignments and as a tool to disseminate resources.

  • In-Person (~70+ Hours)
    • Learners participate in 8 days of training.
    • Expect to spend ~8+ hours in the classroom each day and have ~1.5 hours of homework to complete each night. Students that take advantage of the pre-course preparation will reduce the hours of homework during the course.
  • E-Learning
    • Mandatory Pre-Coursework (~ 45 Minutes): All learners will need to register on Wilderness Medical Associates International’s Learning Management System to complete pre-course paperwork (i.e. course expectations, waiver forms).
    • Optional Pre-Course Preparation (up to 8+ Hours): Registering in the LMS also gives students access to optional online e-learning activities to enhance comprehension of the material. Many students have found that completing the online activities better prepared them for hands-on practice during the class.
    • During Course: Courses where students have access to technology resources (i.e. courses held on university campuses) will utilize the LMS for homework assignments.

Not sure what option is best for you? Review the Hybrid vs Traditional Format page.

Certifications Offered:
To earn certification, students must meet the criteria set forth in WMA’s Functional Position Description as well as the minimum WFR performance and testing standards by the last day of the course.

  • “Wilderness First Responder/BLS for Healthcare Providers CPR” valid for 3 years (Wilderness Medical Associates)
  • 70 Hours of CAPCE CEU credit available for EMTs, AEMTs, and Paramedics
  • California Courses:
    • California State Epinephrine Auto-Injector Training Certificate valid for 2 years (Wilderness Medical Associates; eligible for state certification)

Included Materials:

  • Wilderness and Rescue Medicine: A Practical Guide for the Basic and Advanced Practitioner
  • The Field Guide of Wilderness and Rescue Medicine
  • SOAP Notebook
  • Handouts

Expand the categories below to view specific concepts and skills.

  • Build a solid foundation for distinguishing between serious problems and those that are not.
  • Develop a solid understanding of situations that can be managed without help and when it is necessary to call for assistance.
  • Prevention of the most common backcountry emergencies.

  • Risk-management and decision-making in the backcountry at a critical thinking level including the management of:
    • Others that have less medical training.
    • Situations that involve more than one patient.
  • Working effectively with other responders and rescue agencies.
  • How to communicate clearly in an emergency to get the help you need.

  • WMA International’s conceptual approach to assessing a patient is one of the best in the industry.
  • Learner’s will come away with clear and simple steps for assessing a patient.
  • Assessing a patient at a first responder level, which includes skills such as pulse oximetry, blood pressure, and lung sounds.
  • How to communicate with patients in a manner that makes them feel comfortable, respected, and listened to.
  • Patient assessment and care reporting.

  • Airway management at a first responder level. Includes skills such as the use of airway adjuncts and oxygen delivery devices.
  • Adult and pediatric CPR at a healthcare provider level.
  • How to use an AED.
  • How to stop a life-threatening bleed.
  • How to treat an opioid overdose.

  • An in depth evaluation of various medical problems and how to manage them in remote settings.
  • Recognizing and managing a behavioral health crisis.

  • Identify a concussion.
  • Distinguish between low-risk and high-risk traumatic brain injuries.
  • Distinguish between stable and unstable injuries.
  • Supporting stable injuries.
  • Splinting low-risk and high-risk unstable injuries.

  • How the body maintains its temperature.
  • Identify and treat heat challenge problems.
  • Identify and treat cold challenge problems.
  • Identify and treat altitude related problems.
  • Treatment and prevention of bites, stings, and toxins from animals and plants.
  • Drowning and lightning prevention.

The majority of tools students will come away with can be used anywhere. Wilderness protocols are ones that apply in a delayed care context only.

  • Identify, clean, and care for wounds.
  • How to perform a tourniquet conversion.
  • How to administer epinephrine to someone suffering from anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) or a severe asthma attack using an auto-injector and a syringe where medication is withdrawn from a vial or ampule.
  • Identify simple dislocations and reduce them.
  • Assess for and identify specific spine injuries.
  • Make decisions to not start or stop CPR outside the scope of what is allowed in an urban setting.

  • Rolling patients in a manner that protects the spine.
  • Moving patients out of harms way.
  • Use of extrication tools such as litters, rescue sleds, vacuum mattresses, and backboards.
  • Creation of improvised extrication tools.

We are not hosting an annual fall 2024 course in the Eastern Sierra this year. Gut-Z Journey has added a September course to fill this void. Click the link below to enroll.

Hybrid WFR (September 11-15, 2024) – Hosted and Taught by Gut-Z Journey

Hybrid Wilderness First Responder

April 13, 2025 - April 17, 2025

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