Wilderness First Responder - WFR

Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course is considered to be the ‘Gold Standard‘ in medical training for outdoor educators, guides, Search And Rescue professionals and others who work or play in the backcountry. Our comprehensive curriculum includes a didactic, hands-on approach to learning the essential principles and skills required to assess and manage both common and potentially life-threatening medical issues that may arise in wilderness and remote environments.


We are proud to announce that we now offer Wilderness First Responder in two formats: an eight- or nine-day 100% in person format, as well as a new hybrid/online format, which incorporates a 4-day in person session after completing the online portion. So what’s the difference? While they are both fundamentally the same, the big difference is actually the length of each format and how each is setup. If you learn better in a relaxed setting, then perhaps the hybrid format is best for you. If you have no time whatsoever and want to cram it all into one weekend and be done with it, then the in-person format may be better for you. The amount of hands-on practice is nearly identical for both formats.

Want To Know More About WFR?

Wilderness First Aid students during a scenario

Wilderness First Responder is an intensive 72-80 hour course specifically designed for outdoor educators, adventure guides, Search and Rescue professionals, as well as others who are in a position of leadership in an outdoor setting, or individuals who want a higher level of emergency medical training due to extended backcountry trips or expeditions.

This course is designed for not only those that have next to no medical training – as well as medical professionals. The way we accomplish this is through our various well-proven teaching methods which address all levels of prior training and knowledge.

When taught in person, this course is typically between 8 to 10 consecutive days. This format offers a comprehensive look at not only properly identifying and managing life-threatening injuries and illnesses that could appear in a wilderness setting (more than 60 minutes away from definitive care), but also incorporates a lot of hands-on skill practice, case studies, practical scenarios, evacuation planning and procedures, and other aspects of long term patient care involving wilderness context and situational awareness. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will receive a Wilderness First Responder certification from Center for Wilderness Safety, valid for three years.

Wilderness First Aid students discussing a lesson outdoorsWhat To Expect

This intensive course is fast paced, and focuses heavily on hands-on learning through practical scenarios, case studies, simulations and more. Students will constantly be both indoors and outdoors for simulations and practice, regardless of the weather, barring severe inclement weather. Come to class prepared for the weather, as we spend a lot of time outdoors training.

Course Length:

72–80 hours of instruction.

Actual course length may vary due to hands-on scenarios, skills practice & activities.


Course Format:

WFR is typically taught over 8 to 10 consecutive days (please see below).

Courses taught over 7 or 8 consecutive days are typically 8 am – 5 pm daily, with multiple 7 pm – 10 pm.
Courses taught over 9 consecutive days often include a day off (day 5), and class is 8 am – 5 pm daily.


Course Tuition:

$585 – $875

Actual course tuition may vary depending on course location, logistics, meals, lodging options, etc.



    ‣ Wilderness First Responder (valid 3 years)
    ‣ Adult + Pediatric CPR/AED (valid 2 years)
    ‣ Asthma Inhaler + EpiPen Administration (no expiration)



CWS requires all Wilderness First Responder participants to:

  •     • Be at least 16 years of age.*

  •     • Current Adult + Pediatric CPR/AED certification is NOT required, but is suggested.

  •     • Complete the two required forms (waiver & medical forms) prior to class.**

* The minimum age requirement to take Wilderness First Responder is 16 by the last day of the course, however younger participants may be allowed to take the course on a case-by-case basis.
** All Prerequisites MUST be completed at least 48 Hours prior to your course start date (if a course starts on Saturday, they are due the Thursday before at Midnight). Failure to do so will result in not being permitted to attend the course with no refunds. NOTE: Access to these forms is granted once enrollment is complete.



This comprehensive wilderness medicine course is recommended for both front- and backcountry guides, canoe and rafting guides, private expedition groups, college/university outdoor education programs, hiking club trip leaders, wilderness therapeutic programs, EMTs and adventure race safety personnel. This course is strongly recommended for anybody in a position of leadership who may find themselves in a backcountry, remote, or austere environment, where help may be delayed for hours or even days.