Wilderness First Aid Certification

At select locations we offer Wilderness First Aid (WFA) courses, in partnership with the University of New Mexico International Mountain Medicine Center (IMMC) and Department of Emergency Medicine.

Course structure

The course includes:

  • 8 hours of online learning, which you will complete beforehand; and,
  • 8 hours of practical skill work, which you will complete with us.

The in-person field component will be made available in two ways:

  1. As a standalone day of instruction, the day before or day after your trip; and,
  2. Integrated into a 5- or 7-day Adventure trip, whereby the medical curriculum will be added to our standard backcountry field curriculum.

Certification

Upon completion of this course, students will receive either a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Certification issued by the UNM International Mountain Medicine Center, valid for 2 years.

If students have a current Wilderness First Responder certification (WFR), UNM will recertify their certification, valid for 2 years. The certification must be current and can be from any wilderness medicine company. Students eligible for WFR re-certification will have some additional material added to their online preparation. You may want to familiarize yourself with re-certification requirements of various organizations (e.g. NOLS) to ensure that your next re-certifications will not be adversely affected.

Who should take this course?

The WFA course is prudent training for individuals (and informal trip leaders) who spend time in wilderness where delayed access to care, challenging environmental conditions, sub-optimal medical equipment, limited communications, and independent decision-making are the norm. Students will gain applicable medical knowledge and a framework for managing medical issues in the field.

Objective

  1. To understand the theory and application of wilderness medicine.
  2. To gain a working knowledge of various mountain medicine problems.
  3. To recognize signs and symptoms of various injuries and diseases and their
    treatment.
  4. To develop the ability to make decisions, under duress, during an emergency
    in a remote location.
  5. To successfully perform the skills needed at Wilderness First Aid level in an
    austere environment.
  6. To develop a basic clinical assessment and medical reasoning skills.

How to sign up

  1. Refer to the 2022 trip schedule for course availability.
  2. In the Application Form, indicate your interest (First Choice, Second Choice) in the standalone dates and/or the integrated 5- or 7-day Adventure trips.

At this time, the WFA course is available only to participants on our guided trips.

Online lectures (8 hours)

  • Patient Assessment
  • Ortho Injuries
  • Wound Care
  • Head Trauma
  • Heat Illness
  • Lightning
  • Allergic Reactions
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Altitude Illness

In-person skill sessions (8 hours)

  • Patient Assessment Review
  • Basic Airway Management
  • Bleeding Control & Shock
  • Splinting & Spinal Cord Protection
  • Bites & Stings (applicable to local area, snakebites, etc.)
  • Hypothermia
  • Patient Packaging & Movement
  • Rescue & Patient Care Scenarios
  • Additional Topics Tailored to Group Needs
  • Course Wrap-Up

About the International Mountain Medicine Center

The International Mountain Medicine Center (IMMC) at the University of New Mexico is one of the premier programs for mountain emergency medicine and rescue in the world. Our faculty consists of mountain rescue paramedics, emergency medicine physicians, and mountain guides. We focus our teachings on internationally accepted and evidence based concepts, and strive to contribute to the general knowledge base of our field through research, education, and our own mountain rescue practice in New Mexico. Our internationally recognized courses equip health professionals with the knowledge and skills to adapt their medical practices to the mountains.