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.

Wilderness First Responder - WFR

Like all of our wilderness medicine courses, our Wilderness First Responder course is recognized by the Wilderness Medical Society, and meets (and exceeds) the WFR Scope of Practice, originally published by WMS in 2016.

We Now Have TWO Formats to Choose From!

We are proud to announce that we now offer this course in two formats: an eight or nine-day in person version, and an online/hybrid versionWhat’s the difference? While they are both fundamentally the same, the big difference is actually the length of each format.

In-Person Course              Hybrid/Online Course

3 Blue Arrows

With our Hybrid/Online Format, since the course is online and does not have the traditional time constraints of the standard eight or nine day in-person class (and can be done at at your own pace), this online course includes extra, and often more in-depth coverage of the same topics that are covered in the regular in-person course. The length of the online portion of this course is roughly 40 hours — about half the total time of this course. After the online portion is completed, students are required to attend a four-day (in person) hands-on session in order to earn the WFR certification.

Our 100% In-Person Format Wilderness First Responder course is typically 80 hours in length, and is either eight or nine consecutive days. Those who take the in-person format of this course can have access to the online course materials for an additional fee.

What is Wilderness First Responder?

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.

Wilderness First Responder

Typically taught over the course of 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.

What to Expect

Wilderness First Responder is an intensive course is fast paced. Training 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, incorporating hands-on scenarios, skills practice & activities.
Course Format:
Typically taught over 8 or 9 consecutive days.
This course incorporates both daytime and evening sessions.
The Hybrid format course (4 days) also includes day and night sessions.
Course Tuition:
$585 – $875
Actual course tuition may vary depending on course location, logistics, accommodations, etc.
Wilderness First Responder (valid 3 years)
Adult + Pediatric CPR/AED (valid 2 years)
CEU’s are not available for this course.
– Be at least 16 years of age.

– Current adult + pediatric CPR/AED certification is NOT required, but is suggested.

– Complete the waiver & medical forms prior to class.**

Access to these forms is granted once enrollment is complete.

Recommended For:
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.

The 80-hour Wilderness First Responder course is the industry standard for outdoor backcountry leaders. A sample list of topics covered in this course include (but are not limited to):


Airway Emergencies Life-Threatening Conditions
Allergies + Anaphylaxis Lightning Safety
Altitude Illnesses North American Snakebites
Anatomy + Physiology Orthopedic Injuries + Dislocations
Backcountry + Sudden Illnesses Patient Assessment System
Bites + Stings Patient Care Documentation
Body Substance Isolation Risk Management
Burns + Blisters Scene Leadership + Control
Chest Injuries Shock + ASR
Cold Related Injuries Soft Tissue Injuries
Common OTC Medications Submersion Emergencies
CPR in Remote Settings Suspected Spinal Injuries
Epinephrine Auto-Injectors Tick Safety
Evacuation Considerations Traumatic Brain Injuries
Hands-On Practical Simulations Venomous Spider Bites
Heat Related Illnesses Vital Signs
Improvisation / MacGyvering Wilderness Field Protocols
Introduction to Wilderness Medicine Wilderness Medical Kits

Your Wilderness First Responder certification may be renewed by taking any Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness Advanced First Aid, or Wilderness First Responder Refresher class taught by Center for Wilderness Safety.

Criteria to Recertify:
  • •  Current WFR certification (not expired)
  • •  Current Adult CPR/AED certification (not expired; must be by an accredited certifying body)
  • •  Candidates must successfully pass all practical scenarios and skills tests
  • •  Candidates must successfully pass the written WFR exam (even if taking a WFA to recertify)


Recertification is offered to anyone who holds a current WFR certification from one of the following organizations: Center for Wilderness Safety (CWS), NOLS Wilderness Medicine (formerly WMI), Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA) or Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities (SOLO). CWS does not recognize any other organization’s “grace periods” for recertification.

Unsure if your WFR certification is accepted?
Give us a call us at Toll Free 1 (855) 505-1700.

Upcoming WFR Courses

Hybrid WFR (In-Person Session)
Hagerstown, MD  •  December 1–4, 2022

Register for This WFR Course


Wilderness First Responder
Hagerstown, MD  •  January 3–10, 2023

Register for This WFR Course

Find a Course Near You        Sponsor a Wilderness Medicine Course at Your Location


If your group or organization is interested in sponsoring a Wilderness First Responder course at your location, simply click the link above.

Wilderness First Responder