WFR Recertification


Recertification of WFR, WEMS, WFA, WAFA. The definitive wilderness recertification course in medical training, leadership, and critical thinking for outdoor, low-resource, and remote professionals and leaders.

The Open Recertification course is open to graduates of any wilderness-based first aid training course that was at least 64 hours long and completed within 3 years of the proposed recertification option. Successful graduates of this course will receive Wilderness First Responder, Anaphylaxis, and BLS/Healthcare Provider-level CPR certifications.

WEMS graduates from WMAI with a current EMS license may also recertify the wilderness portion of their WEMS certification with this course. If the course is being used to recertify a WEMS certification from WMA it is the learner's 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 Viristar course as well as the demands of a certified wilderness medical provider in the field.

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


Course Content

This course is presented in 24 hours over three days.  Classes are a combination of lectures, discussions, quizzes, outdoor practical skills sessions, and scenarios. Evenings are reserved for study and assignments. Expect rescue scenarios with made-up victims and simulated wounds to prepare you for backcountry emergencies. 

Course Content

This course takes 24 hours over three days. 

The Open Recertification 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. This is the recertification class for the most current and cutting edge course of any first response medical training (urban or remote) in the world.

  • 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.

Sample Syllabus

Day 1

  • Introduction/Registration
  • Review Study Packet
  • Patient Assessment
  • Basic Life Support (including Adult/Child/Infant CPR, Oxygen & AED)
  • Circulatory System
  • Respiratory System
  • Nervous System
  • Lifts, Moves and Extrications
  • Patient Asesssment Drills

Day 2

  • Musculoskeletal System
  • Dislocations
  • Spine Management
  • Wounds and Burns
  • Patient Assessment Drills
  • Splints I – Extremities
  • Splints II – Spines
  • Simulation

Day 3

  • Allergies and Anaphylaxis
  • Environmental Injuries
  • PAS Drills
  • Simulation
  • Final Testing
  • Conclusion

Get an Open Recertification course schedule here.


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.

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

  • SOAP Notebook


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 complete this course will receive Wilderness First Responder, Anaphylaxis, and BLS/Healthcare Provider-level CPR certification. The certifications are valid for three years.


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.


The three-day Open Recertification course may be used as a WFR recertification option for those with a current WMA International or other qualifying WFR. Only graduates of WMAI courses are eligible to use this course as a WEMT recertification. For the WEMT recertification to be valid, WEMTs must have either a current license or certificate as an EMT-B or higher. Contact the Viristar office for more details.

Within three years, graduates of the Open Recertification course may recertify by taking the Bridge (WAFA to WFR) or repeating this course.


WFR recertification candidates must have passed an eligible course. To be eligible, the course should have been a wilderness-based first aid training course that was at least 64 hours long and completed within 3 years of the proposed recertification option. Most but not all WFRs are eligible. Any exceptions to these conditions must be verified prior to the course by contacting the Viristar office. Proof of current certification is required at the start of the course. Learners without proof of certification or approval from Viristar will not be eligible for WFR certification. Only those holding Wilderness EMS certifications from WMAI are eligible for WEMS recertification through this course.

Upon sponsor registration, sponsor will send learners the course ID number and password to access their online pre-course materials two to four weeks prior to the first day of their course. Learners should complete the study guide in preparation for the course. The study guide is designed to familiarize learners with the essential points in the curriculum. Instructors will collect it at the beginning of the course but it will not be used to establish the final grade.

Learners must be at least sixteen years old to participate in the three-day Open Recertification course. Those under age eighteen will require the written consent of a parent or guardian.

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