Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA)-40 hours

Wilderness Advanced First Aid

Wilderness Medical Associates


The Wilderness Advanced First Aid is the perfect entry-level course for outdoor adventurers and outdoor professionals who may need to provide patient care when help is delayed for hours to days. The course focuses on basic lifesaving skills, patient assessment, field care for common injuries and illnesses, environmental illnesses, and proper reporting for rescue assistance.


The Wilderness Advanced First Aid course is a minimum of 36 hours of instruction when taught in the United States and 40 hours when taught in Canada. Hours vary in other countries. In-class learning involves lecture, discussion, patient assessment drills, simulations, case study review, and skills labs. Students learn to provide care when help is delayed for hours to days.


Prior to enrolling, please review our Functional Position Description. The criteria in this policy allow students to self-assess their ability to meet the demands of a WMA International course as well as the demands of a certified wilderness medical provider in the field.


This course is pass/fail. 100% attendance is mandatory. Evaluation is based on practical patient simulations, hands-on activities, and a written test. WMA International is committed to making reasonable accommodation for any student with special needs.


Certifications are valid for three years. Graduates of this course should take another WAFA course or consider upgrading to a Wilderness First Responder. On a case by case basis, WAFA students may re-certify in a Wilderness First Responder Recertification course.

Course Topics

  • Patient assessment and emergency care including CPR and AED use, basic life support skills, the patient assessment system, patient reporting, and calling for help.
  • Treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, including splinting and pain management. 
  • Non-technical lifting, moving, and extrication of patients with an emphasis on spinal motion restriction when applicable. 
  • Environmental medicine including illness and injuries related to temperature, lightning, submersion, and environmental toxins.
  • Backcountry medicine including the assessment and treatment of common medical problems. 
  • Management of wounds such as lacerations, burns, and blisters. 
  • Practical Skills including bleeding control, wound cleaning, bandaging, splinting, spine stable patient packaging, hypothermia management, medical kit preparation. 
  • WMA International wilderness protocols including treatment of anaphylaxis, wound management, CPR in a remote setting and spine injury assessment.