The definitive wilderness course in medical training, leadership, and critical thinking for outdoor, low-resource, and remote professionals and leaders.
Wilderness First Responder (WFR) is the definitive course in medical training for outdoor educators, guides, Search and Rescue (SAR) team members, and others who work or play in remote areas. The curriculum is comprehensive and practical, including all of the essential principles and skills required to assess and manage medical problems in isolated and extreme environments. The 5-day format is for individuals and hosts with less time available for on-site training and requires 25 hours of pre-course preparation.
Students must register at least two weeks before the course date. All students must complete all pre-course work prior to arrival on course.
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 wilderness medicine 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.
25 Hours Pre-Course Preparation and 45 Hours On-Site Training
This course covers the same material and meets the same criteria as our standard Wilderness First Responder course. It is designed for students and professionals who have tight schedules and the self-discipline to complete approximately 25 hours of pre-course preparation.
Students will have access to the WFR Study Guide two to four weeks before the course starts. They are required to complete the assigned reading, case studies, study guide, and tests. The on-site instruction that follows reinforces and expands on the knowledge already acquired.
Because students arrive familiar with the didactic material, on-site daytime training can focus on wilderness and rescue scenarios and practical skills. Evenings are reserved for study and assignments. Expect rescue scenarios with made-up victims and simulated wounds to prepare students for backcountry emergencies. Sessions may be videotaped for enhanced learning.
The 5-day WFR course has been through years of development and testing. Conscientious preparation, studying, and time prior to the course is essential for success. This is not a short-cut version of our standard course. Established Viristar clients and other groups who are interested in this new format are encouraged to contact us about this offering.
The Wilderness First Responder 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 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.
Get a Wilderness First Responder (5-day) course schedule here.
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.
Recertification can be earned at any time during the three years following your course. Recertification options include the 36-hour WAFA-to-WFR Bridge Course or the 24-hour Open Recertification Course.
Contact us more information about recertification options.
All teaching materials will be 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
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.
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 course will receive Wilderness First Responder, Anaphylaxis, and Healthcare Provider level CPR certifications. The CPR course is based on the 2020 ILCOR/AHA guidelines. All Viristar wilderness medicine certifications remain valid for three years. The course is registered for 70 hours of continuing education credit through the Commission on Accreditation for Prehospital Continuing Education (CAPCE).
Upon sponsor registration, the sponsor will send students information to access their online pre-course materials through an online e-learning platform two to four weeks prior to the first day of their course. Students must be at least 18 years old to participate in the 5-Day WFR course. Certain course sponsors may set a higher minimum age or establish other requirements consistent with their program. No previous medical training is required.