Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA)

River guides and other trip leading staff often require a more extensive training program than the Wilderness First Aid course. This five day course focuses on stabilization, treatment and evacuation guidelines of patients in backcountry environments. More emphasis is placed on long term patient care management and specific injury evaluation. This course may be used for wilderness medicine recertification for those who wish a more extensive refresher than the WFA program.

The WAFA course is designed for trip leaders and those traveling or working in remote areas who need a more extensive training program than the Wilderness First Aid course. This 5-day course focuses on stabilization, treatment and evacuation guidelines for patients in backcountry environments. Emphasis is placed on long term patient care management and specific injury evaluation.

Learning takes place both in the classroom and in outdoor settings regardless of weather conditions. Come prepared for wet, muddy, cold or hot environments.

Course Length: 
5 Days

None, unless recertifying WFR/WEMT

Primary Classification: 
Certifications Received: 
  • WMI Wilderness Advanced First Aid certification
  • WMI Adult & Child CPR certification

Certifications are current for two years.

Continuing Education: 
  • College Credit: (1 hour) for the WFA course is available through the University of Utah using the registration form included in your WFA folder, for an additional fee of $95.
  • This course is pre-approved for 32 hours of EMT Continuing Education Hours (CEH) by the Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services (CECBEMS).
  • This course is approved by the United States Coast Guard to satisfy the first aid and CPR training requirements [46 CFR 11.205(e)(1)(i) &46 CFR 11.205(e)(2)(iv)] for a merchant mariner license.

The 40-hour Wilderness Advanced First Aid course includes many topics that other programs leave out such as reduction of dislocations, focused spine assessment and epinephrine administration.

Topics include:

  • Patient Assessment System
  • Documentation
  • Medical Legal
  • CPR
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Long-term Patient Care
  • Chest Injuries
  • Shock
  • Head Injuries
  • Wilderness Wound Management
  • Athletic Injuries
  • Fracture Management
  • Dislocations
  • Cold Injuries
  • Heat Illness
  • Altitude Illness
  • Cardiac, Respiratory and Neurological Emergencies
  • Abdominal Emergencies
  • Bites, Stings and Poisoning
  • Allergies and Anaphylaxis
  • Lightning
  • Submersion
  • Urinary and Reproductive System Issues
  • Common Wilderness Medical Problems
  • Wilderness Drug and First Aid Kits

Listed below are items that you will need to bring with you to your course. We try to be outside as much as possible regardless of the weather. Please come prepared so that you are comfortable.

  • Positive attitude ready to share and take in information
  • A Watch!!!
  • One set of clothes (shirt and pants/shorts) to completely destroy with moulage and shears
  • Rain gear tops and bottoms
  • Layers of clothing (so you can take a layer off if you are hot/put one on if you are cold, + extra items for your “patient”)
  • Hats
    • one warm (not made of cotton)
    • and one for the sun
  • Mittens or gloves if it will be cold out
  • Footwear for the environment (close toed shoes for being out doors/inside sandals are o.k.)
  • Light (flash light or headlamp)
  • Ground cloth or small tarp (6X4 sheet of plastic is fine)
  • Sleeping pad (ensolite, ridgerest, thermarest, Crazy Creek Chair)
  • Bandanas or cordage of any kind
  • You are welcome to bring your toys to improvise with (pfd’s, skis/poles, paddles, harnesses, climbing rope)
  • Water bottles (1qt or 1 liter) for drinking water
  • Food to snack on to keep your energy up (we’ll have big days)
  • Backpack or knapsack to put all this stuff in

*** A WFA course can be used to recertify a WMI WFR cert that is in date or in its grace year.

*** If you are a WFR planning to recertify with this course, you MUST bring copies of your current WFR and CPR certifications to the course for instructor review.

The WFA course is ideal for guides and trip leaders on 1-2 day outings. This 2-day course (with optional evening of CPR) gives 16 hours of contact time in a learning setting. Teaching methods include an emphasis on didactic lectures and hands-on, experiential workshops and scenarios. Your rescue gear needs to be packed and ready to go at any moment throughout the course. Please refer to and follow the WFA Rescue Gear Checklist closely, and contact us with any questions you may have. Either AHA or WMI CPR for adults and children can be available the evening before the WFA begins for an additional cost, if arranged by the course host. Both courses follow the 2010 curriculum guidelines set by the AHA. The AHA course is street-based in content and skills taught. WMI’s CPR course bridges the AHA curriculum to skills needed in a remote setting. CPR is not required in order to complete the WFA course or to make your WFA certification valid – it is a complimentary certification that will enhance your WFA experience.

Bad things happen outdoors and usually in bad weather! So, be prepared for the weather...dress in layers that you can remove indoors or in the sun, and layer up when we go outside. Full rain protection is a necessity, both rain tops and pants. Your comfort and ability to pay attention during this intense course will be helped if you stay well-hydrated and have snacks on hand to munch during class. There is no exam for this course. Certification is based on student participation and instructor observation. WFR Recerts will be required to take a 50 question test and must score 70% or better. WFR Recerts will also need to complete a practical exam during the course. The course ends near 5PM on the last day with any required exams, student evaluations of the experience, and graduation. Please do not make travel plans that require an earlier departure or you will have to make alternative testing arrangements at a later course.

Recertication: The best method to recertify a WFR, WUMP, or WEMT is through a WFR Recertication course. If you choose the WFA option, please prepare by visiting the recertification resources on WMI’s website at www.nols.edu/wmi, click on Admissions and then on Recertification to access them.

*As of Sep 1, 2011, the option to recertify through a WFA is for currently certified/in grace period WMI card holders, only. Current WFRs from other providers must utilize the WFR Recertification course.*

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