Bridge (WAFA to WFR)


Upgrade a Wilderness Advanced First Aid certification to a full Wilderness First Responder Certification, without having to take a full WFR course

The WAFA to WFR Bridge course upgrades the Wilderness Advanced First Aid to a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) in four days. This course must be taken within 3 years of receiving a WAFA certification from WMAI or an equivalent from another provider whose original WFR training was at least 64 hours in length.

Individuals who have received a Wilderness EMS Upgrade certification from WMAI may also use this course to recertify the wilderness portion of their certification. If learners wish to use course to recertify a WEMS Upgrade certification from WMAI it is their responsibility to let the course host know when registering, and to inform the instructor on the first day of class.

Prior to enrolling in a course, please review our Functional Position Description. The criteria set forth in this document allows students to self-assess their ability to meet the demands of both a WMAI course as well as the demands of a certified wilderness medical provider in the field.

Curriculum and certification for Viristar's Wilderness First Responder course is provided by Wilderness Medical Associates International. Viristar is proud to be a Licensed Training Company of WMAI.


Course Content

The Bridge curriculum is written by a team of remote medical rescue researchers and professionals. Ongoing evidence based research and review contributes to a unique and innovative approach to patient care in backcountry and austere settings. The curriculum is comprehensive, complete, and kept current on an annual basis.

  • General Principles of Wilderness and Rescue Medicine with an emphasis on the prevention and identification of medical emergencies, appropriate technology, and risk management.

  • Patient assessment and emergency care including CPR, basic life support (BLS), and the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis and asthma.

  • Environmental Medicine including altitude illness, hypothermia and heat illness, frostbite and cold injury, lightning, submersion, and environmental toxins.

  • Backcountry Medicine including the assessment and treatment of common medical problems.

  • Musculoskeletal Problems including unstable and stable injuries overuse syndromes, and dislocations.

  • Wound management including open fractures, lacerations, burns and blisters.

  • Practical skills including splinting, bandaging, litter packaging and medical kit preparation.

  • WMA International Wilderness Protocols including wound cleaning and exploration, spine injury assessment, dislocation reduction, CPR in the remote setting, and anaphylaxis and asthma.

This course is presented in 36 hours over 4 days.

Sample Syllabus

Day 1

  • Registration/Introduction
  • Review Pre-course Study Packet
  • Patient Assessment
  • Circulatory System
  • Respiratory Systems
  • Patient Assessment Drills
  • Basic Life Support (including Adult/Child/Infant CPR, Oxygen & AED)

Day 2

  • Quiz/Case Studies Review
  • Nervous System
  • Spine Management
  • Musculoskeletal System
  • Patient Assessment  Drill
  • Dislocations
  • Patient Immobilization
  • Litter Carries
  • Patient Assessment Drills

Day 3

  • Quiz/Case Studies Review
  • Allergy & Anaphylaxis
  • Altitude or Diving
  • Frostbite
  • Drowning
  • Improvised Litters
  • Simulation

Day 4

  • Case Study Review
  • Backcountry Medicine
  • Toxins
  • Medical Kits
  • Patient Assessment Drills
  • Testing and Conclusion

Get a WAFA to WFR Bridge course schedule here.

Included Materials

All teaching materials will be provided by Viristar at no additional cost. Participants will receive the following books on this course:

  • Wilderness and Rescue Medicine: A Practical Guide for the Basic and Advanced Practitioner
  • The Field Guide of Wilderness and Rescue Medicine
  • Wilderness Medicine Workbook
  • Wilderness First Responder Class Notes
  • SOAP Notebook


We ask our course hosts to provide basic outdoor equipment and any specific gear relevant to their personnel when in remote and austere environments. Viristar will supply a specific equipment list to cover simulation and classroom needs.


As part of Viristar’s commitment to your medical rescue training, our instructors and management will consult your group’s needs and teach according to your group’s backgrounds, environments, and experience. Simulations and hands-on activities will be realistic and relevant. Relevant adult education is incorporated directly into our curriculum to maximize learning of medical theory into practical skills.


Successful completion with certification is based on 100 percent attendance, satisfactory performance on homework assignments and written quizzes, demonstrated proficiency with practical skills and a successful grade on a final written exam. Viristar is committed to making reasonable accommodation to any student with special needs.


All eligible students who successfully complete the WAFA to WFR Bridge course will receive a Wilderness First Responder certification including anaphylaxis, and BLS/Healthcare Provider-Level CPR or equivalent. All certifications remain valid for three years. This certification can be used to challenge the U.S. DOT First Responder Exam, which is at the discretion of the local or state EMS authorities. The course is registered for 36 hours of continuing education credit through the Commission on Accreditation for Prehospital Continuing Education (CAPCE).


Within three years, graduates may recertify by retaking the Bridge (WAFA to WFR) course, or completing the Open Recertification course.

Contact us more information about recertification options.


Current Wilderness Advanced First Aid certification within three years of the Bridge course. If using this course to recertify, learners must have proof of a valid WFR or WEMS certification from WMAI or a valid WFR certification from another organization, whose original training was at least 64 hours in length. Proof of certification is required.

Students will have access to the pre-course assignments two to four weeks prior to course. Students should complete the study guide in preparation for the course. It was designed to familiarize students with the essential points in the curriculum. Instructors will collect it at the beginning of the course but it will not be figured in to the final grade.

Students must be at least sixteen years old to participate in this course. Those under eighteen years of age will require the written consent of a parent or guardian.

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