Wilderness First Responder (WFR)

Wilderness First Responder

The definitive wilderness course in medical training, leadership, and critical thinking for outdoor, low-resource, and remote professionals and leaders.

The Wilderness First Responder (WFR) is the ideal medical training for leaders in remote areas including outdoor educators, guides, military, professional search and rescue teams, researchers, and those involved in disaster relief. This comprehensive and practical curriculum includes the essential principles and skills required to assess and manage medical problems in isolated and extreme environments. Emphasis is placed on risk management, prolonged care, advanced treatment, evacuations, and leadership. This course is taught by professional instructors with significant patient care and back-country experience.

7 Day vs. 5 day + 25 hours Independent Study

You can join either our standard 7 day WFR or accelerated 5 day WFR including 25 hours of pre-course work before the onsite learning. The 5 day format is for individuals with less time available for on-site training.

Students registering for the 5-day WFR must register at least 2 weeks before the course start date, and all independent study material must be submitted prior to arrival on course.

Once registered, students will receive the WFR course textbook by mail, and a WFR study guide by email. Students must complete the reading, assignments, and online test. Online test results are sent to the course instructor and a WMA faculty member for review and feedback.

The onsite portion of the 5 day can focus more intensely on practical skills, patient assessment drills, and rescue simulations as students arrive familiar with the theoretical knowledge.

Global Emergency Medics (GEM) and Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA)

For all medical courses, we partner with WMA. WMA has been the leader in wilderness medicine and rescue for over thirty years. The cutting- edge curriculum is constantly updated by our group of healthcare professionals, has been taught on all 7 continents, and is recognized internationally.


Students must be at least 18 years of age to participate in this course.

Certification Received

  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification
  • CPR Certification (Adult/ Child/ Infant CPR and AED training)

Re-certification Interval 

3 Years

Key Topics Covered

The WFR curriculum includes a broad range of medical skills and topics, including patient assessment, CPR, AED, and basic life support skills. Students also learn how to effectively manage respiratory and cardiac emergencies, shock, head injuries, altered mental states, wounds and burns, infection, musculoskeletal injuries, dislocations, spinal injuries, allergic reactions, toxins, stings, poisoning, environmental emergencies such as hypothermia, heat illness, lightning, drowning, submersion and medical emergencies such as severe asthma, abdominal pain, and diabetes. Significant emphasis is also placed on leadership, teamwork, communication, and long term patient care. And so much more…

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Upcoming Dates:

Boulder, CO: 10/14/2023 – 10/18/2023

Boulder, CO: 11/18/2023 – 11/22/2023

Boulder, CO: 12/13/2023 – 12/17/2023

Boulder, CO: 01/10/2024 – 01/14/2024

Boulder, CO: 04/03/2024 – 04/07/2024

Boulder, CO: 05/18/2024 – 05/22/2024

Boulder, CO: 06/12/2024 – 06/16/2024

Kanab, UT: 06/12/2024 – 06/16/2024

Boulder, CO: 07/10/2024 – 07/14/2024

Additional Information

Below are the suggested items to pack. This list can vary according to the course location, weather, and season. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns specific to your course’s venue. Please be prepared for all seasonal weather conditions and bring the appropriate clothing, footwear, and gear. We will try to spend as much time as possible outside!

  • Current certification (Recert students only)
  • Notebook with pen or pencil
  • Watch
  • Clothing that may be stained or cut during simulations
  • Personal medications
  • First aid kit
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Water bottle or thermos
  • Snacks
  • Headlamp
  • The following teaching materials will be provided by GEM at no additional cost:
    • Wilderness and Rescue Medicine Textbook
    • Wilderness and Rescue Medicine Field Guide
    • Class Notes and Handouts
    • SOAP Notes
  • Course Completion and Grades:
    • Successful completion with certification is based on 100% attendance, satisfactory performance on all assigned homework and quizzes, as well as demonstrated proficiency with hands on practical skills. Students must also obtain an 80% or better on the final written exam.
  • Certification:
    • Upon successful completion, students will receive Wilderness First Responder, Anaphylaxis, and Healthcare Provider level CPR certifications from Wilderness Medical Associates. The CPR certification is based on 2015 AHA/ILCOR guidelines. All WMA certifications are valid for three years.
  • Recertification:
    • Recertification can be earned at any time during the three years following your course. Several different recertification options exist, including the Wilderness Advanced First Aid Course, WAFA-to-WFR Bridge Course, or the Wilderness First Responder Recertification Course. Students that have a current WFR from another provider may recertify with WMA. Please contact us to ensure approval.
  • Registration:
    • In order to register for a course, chose your specific course, date, and location, and click “Register For Course”. You can also add your specific course to your cart through the Courses tab, or contact us at any time to register.
  • Cancellation Policy:
    • For all courses cancelled more than 60 days from course start date a full refund minus $50 registration fee.
    • For cancellations less than 60 days, but more than 4 weeks from course start date students receive a 50% refund.
    • For cancellations less than 4 weeks from course start date there is no refund.
    • COVID-19 Update: Cancellations made by either party due to restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic will allow full tuition credit to any other course sponsored by Global Emergency Medics for up to 18 months from original course date.  No refunds will be given for courses cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Be ready to learn, develop confidence, and utilize critical thinking skills in wilderness medicine.
  • Realistic emergency simulations will be staged, complete with fake wounds and injuries. Students alternate playing the role of both rescuer and patient. These sims are meant to get your adrenaline pumping; forcing you to think critically under pressure, so you can take action in a real wilderness medical emergency.
  • Course days are long and intense consisting of both classroom lectures and in the field training. Days often continue late into the evening with assigned homework. Expect to be fully immersed in wilderness medicine from day 1.
  • Upon registration, participants will receive an email outlining specific meeting times for their course.
  • 100% attendance is required.