Our Hybrid Wilderness First Responder (WFR) includes an online component in addition to the traditional scenarios and skills. The Wilderness First Responder course is essential if you work or recreate in the outdoors or in other austere environments where access to medical care is delayed or communication is unreliable. It is the industry standard for professional guides, trip leaders, search and rescue team members, outdoor enthusiasts, and international travelers. Upon completion, you will be able to conduct a thorough physical exam, obtain a patient history, assess vital signs, provide emergency care in the wilderness, and make crucial evacuation decisions. NOLS Wilderness Medicine’s nationally recognized curriculum encompasses a wide range of topics including long-term patient care, wound management, selective spine immobilization, reducing dislocations, litter packaging, and epinephrine administration.

Successful course completion will earn the following NOLS Wilderness Medicine certifications: 

  • Wilderness First Responder
  • Adult, Child, and Infant CPR & Airway Management
  • Epinephrine Auto-injector

Class Format

The course will begin with three modules of online training and conclude with 5 days of in-person training.  

The online component will open 3 weeks before the in-person section and involves readings, videos, and quizzes. Each module has self-paced required assignments that will need to be completed before the next section opens. You should plan to spend 10 to 15 hours on the platform for each module. The online section will be monitored by an instructor to provide curricular and technical support. There is also a discussion forum that students and instructors can use to ask and answer questions.

Check-in for the first day of the in-person component is between 7:30 am and 7:45 am. On subsequent days, please plan on arriving by 7:45 AM. In-person course days run from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM with an hour-long break for lunch at noon, with two additional evening sessions. The evening sessions typically run from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM, but your instructors will confirm the schedule when you arrive.

The in-person component involves lectures integrated with practical scenarios, case studies, and skills practice sessions. Attendance is required at all classes. Scenarios and practice sessions will take place both inside and outside. Bring outdoor clothing appropriate for lying on the potentially wet, snowy, or cold ground while playing the role of both rescuer and patient. Stage (moulage) blood and make-up are used to enhance the realism of a scenario. The classroom environment generally lends itself to a pair of indoor comfy shoes. A 4-hour evening, outdoor mock rescue is part of the curriculum. Plan to dress accordingly for spending an evening outside.

Location

This course is held at the Bernasconi Adventure Center in Big Pine. Lodging is not available onsite. We recommend you stay at a hotel in Big Pine. Camping or sleeping in vehicles on the property is not permitted. Dogs are also not permitted onsite.

Testing

Along with continuous evaluation and feedback from your instructors throughout the course, each student will be required to pass both a written and practical exam on the last day of the course. The practical exam will require students to demonstrate the skills they have learned throughout the course and the written exam will be multiple choice. Your instructors can provide more info on testing procedures on the first day of your course if needed.

Curriculum

Our curriculum has been developed and has evolved over decades by medical professionals and experts in outdoor education. Our instructors are expert educators with years of medical and wilderness leadership experience. Please see the Hybrid WFR Course Outline for an overview and schedule of topics covered during your course. You can read more about our curriculum on the NOLS website as well as view other curriculum resources here.