Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification provides the basic level of first aid training where you will learn the fundamentals of dealing with an illness or traumatic injury in remote or austere locations where access to a hospital is delayed.
WFA is the perfect course for anyone who spends time in traditional backcountry settings, or simply wants to be prepared for an emergency anywhere, anytime. So while many of our students include hikers, hunters, and park rangers, we also train Search and Rescue, EMS providers and law enforcement. Basically, our students come to us because they know that if they, or someone else, gets hurt or sick, help or backup won’t necessarily be around the corner.
This is why WFA is fast becoming the minimum certification required for those who lead groups outdoors or spend time in remote locations. Our WFA course is unique because our certification is recognized nationally by a wide variety of well respected organizations. It is approved by the Boy Scouts of America, and American Camp Association, and used by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Forest Service. That’s because as an authorized American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) training center, our training meets the requirements of nearly 2,000 regulatory agencies and occupational licensing boards like the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).
During the WFA course, you will learn the dynamics of providing wilderness medical care. First, you will learn the importance of scene safety so that you can not only better protect your patient, but yourself as well. Then you will learn the patient assessment protocol which is the framework of all emergency care, from the first-aider to the paramedic. From there, you will learn how to deal with traumatic injuries, like fractures, wounds, burns, and how to manage shock. You will also learn how to deal with spinal cord injuries. You will also learn to deal with illness, including heat and cold related, asthma, and allergic reactions.
Still, you won’t just be learning this material while seated at a desk, but you will also be learning as you treat your many “patients” throughout the program. That’s because at True North we want you to learn by doing as much as possible.
Here are the course basics:
- Course Duration: 16 hours
- Tuition: $225
- Course Limit: 10 students
- Start / End Times: Various … Though usually 8:00 until 5:00.
- Location: Various locations … See below for more information.
- Certification Length: Two (2) years
- Minimum Age: 16 years old … See below for more information.
- Minimum Group Size: 5 students
- Continuing-Education Hours: For pre-hospital providers, this course is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health as follows: EMR 10 credits; EMT, Medic, PHRN 14 credits.
This course may also meet the requirements of recertification for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians: “The NREMT accepts continuing education that has received official approval through your State EMS office and/or the Continuing Education Coordinating Board of Emergency Medical Services.” For more information, please visit their FAQs.
Through reciprocity agreements between the various states, your state Department of Health may also accept these credits towards your certification credit requirements. To confirm, please check with your local department.
Description of the Level of Physical Difficulty – Moderate: This program will involve physical effort on terrain that is both relatively flat and includes some hills, over short distances at a slow pace on generally defined and established trails. Activities will involve outdoor and indoor portions. Activities will require lifting and squatting. No prior experience in the program is required.
Check out these answers to some commonly asked questions:
Do we run WFA as a private course? Yes! While True North offers many open registration courses, most of our WFA events are run for private groups. So we regularly work with Boy Scout troops, state and county parks departments, YMCA camp staff, and church youth groups. The many benefits include personalized training which can be tailored to your specific needs. We can do this by structuring the program in a variety of time formats, or running it in various locations, either your location or ours. To learn more, just contact us.
What is the minimum age to participate? Children 16-17 years old are welcome when accompanied by a parent or guardian, or as part of an organized group.
Does this course include CPR/AED training? This course does not generally include CPR/AED certification, but as an authorized American Heart Association training center, True North can certainly work with you or your group to include it or provide it separately. To learn more, check out our CPR/AED program, or simply contact us.
Where will the course be held? We try to hold our courses in locations that are not only convenient for you, but offer you a proper setting for learning. One of our main locations is BSA Camp Guyasuta and which is located in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania, just off Route 28 and only minutes from Pittsburgh. This location offer ample parking, sleeping accommodations, and, thanks to the local business district nearby, easy access to great stores and restaurants.
The exact location is listed next to the course announcement on our Schedule.
Where can you stay overnight? Many of our clients travel a distance to attend this course so we want to make your stay as easy and as comfortable as possible. Certainly you can stay in a local hotel, but our sites typically allow overnight stays (like BSA Camp Guyasuta), giving you the choice of a bunk, or sleeping outside in a tent, with access to toilets, a kitchen, and hot showers. The cost is an additional $25 a night.
What kind of gear do I need to bring? True North will provide all of the needed training supplies. There is no required text for this course.
If you would like a better sense of what additional gear that you need to bring on the course, or optional gear to consider, then check out the equipment list that will be included with the course information sheet (just “click” on the image to enlarge) when you register.
However, since one of our course goals is to teach you about various gear, plus offer you a chance to “test drive” it before you buy it, if you don’t have an item, don’t necessarily feel compelled to buy it right away … especially if it’s expensive. Instead, contact us to see if we can loan you an item or make a recommendation for purchase.
Why should a medical professional, like a Medic, Nurse, or Physician, take a WFA course? In some ways, you will find the training and issues very similar to what you see in your front-country patients, but in most other respects you will find it vastly different. First, you will be learning to deal with issues that you typically won’t find in an urban environment, like snake bites, moderate to severe hypothermia, and lightening strikes. Also, wilderness medical care typically requires a greater emphasis on improvisation so we will train you to better view the equipment in your pack , or what happens to be laying around, as appropriate resources. In turn, the standard of care in wilderness environments, which is outlined by the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS), may differ substantially from your state protocols. Most importantly, many medical providers only deal with patients for brief periods (maybe just the ambulance ride to the hospital) and in teams, but, as a WFA, you may need to care for your patient for hours, maybe even even days … all by yourself.
Do you provider WFA Refresher training? Yes! Check out our current list of WFA / WFR Refresher Training courses.
To learn more, just contact us.