The Wilderness First Responder is currently the requisite level of training for outdoor guides / leaders and other individuals who work or recreate in remote environments. These individuals may have a legal obligation to respond to emergency situations where life or limb threats may be immediate or evolving.


This advanced (72 hour) program integrates urban first aid training with the realities of a wilderness setting to develop comprehensive patient assessment skills and effective field management strategies. CWMT instructors build knowledge and confidence through a graduated series of practical scenarios and situational training by means of repeated practices, simulations and discussions of principles. We focus on a “hands on” approach to proficiency development. Based on student feedback, this has proven to be the most effective learning method.


Ultimately the Wilderness First Responder must be capable of recognizing and managing a wide variety of medical or traumatic conditions and additionally play a proactive role in prevention. Evaluation of skills and knowledge is done through quizzes, tests, case studies and ongoing practical testing.

Based on competency guidelines developed by the Wilderness Medical Society, this program identifies a selection of skill sets that define the first responder standard.

CWMT is a registered education centre for the Emergency Care and Safety Institute, which in turn is endorsed by the American Academy of Emergency Physicians and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Topics Covered

Day 1

  • Welcome / Registration / Course Objectives
  • Practical Scenario
  • First Aid and Wilderness Emergency Care
  • Leadership & Liability
  • Wilderness First Responder Scope of Practice
  • Anatomy & Physiology
    • Homeostasis
    • CNS structure and function
    • Circulatory System structure and function
    • CNS structure and function
  • Patient Assessment System
    • Scene Survey
    • Primary Survey – drills & practice
    • Rapid trauma Survey
    • Secondary Survey – scenarios / drills & practice
    • Patient interview, SAMPLE, OPQRST
    • Vital Signs/ Recording / Interpretation
    • Physical Assessment Focused or Head to Toe
  • Rapid trauma assessment
  • Neuro assessment
  • Chest Auscultation
    • Documentation
  • Basic Life Support
    • Airway management and evacuation considerations
    • CPR in the Wilderness

Day 2

  • Traumatic Injuries
    • Head / Chest / Abdomen / Spine – practical scenarios
  • Shock: Recognition & Management
  • Patient Stabilization and Evacuation
    • Patient Positioning / Carries – drills & practice
    • Spinal structure and function, cord injury
    • Spinal Cord Injury Management – drills & practice
    • Managing the spine injured patient over a long evacuation
    • Spinal assessment

Day 3

  • Musculoskeletal Injuries
    • Assessment of Limb threatening injuries
    • Sprains / Strains / Fractures / Dislocations
    • TIP, reducing dislocations
    • Traction Splinting
    • Immobilization & Splinting Techniques – scenarios / drills & practice
    • Issues

Day 4

  • Environmental Emergencies
    • Heat Illnesses / Hyperthermia
    • Cold injuries / Hypothermia – practical scenario
    • Drowning / Near Drowning
    • Animal / Reptile Issues
    • Lightning
    • Allergies, Anaphylaxis & Epinephrine – practical scenario
    • AMS / HACE / HAPE
  • Acute Abdominal Pain
    • Medical Emergencies
    • Abdominal Assessment & History Gathering
  • Scenario / Assessment Drills / Study

Day 5

  • Wound Management in a Remote Setting
    • Guiding Principles
    • Short Term / Long Term Care
    • Penetrating Injuries
    • Burns / Blisters / Eyes / Teeth
    • Practical Skills / Drills & Scenarios
    • Water Disinfection – What Works / What is Available
  • Medical Problems
    • Diabetes
    • Seizures
    • Medications
    • Practical Scenario
  • Common Expedition Problems
    • UTI / Blisters / Constipation / Diarrhea / URTI

Day 6

  • OTC Medications
  • Case Studies

Day 7

  • Leadership and Incident Command
  • Large scale Scenario

Day 8

  • Review of course material
    • Short Term / Long Term Care
    • Penetrating Injuries
    • Burns / Blisters / Eyes / Teeth
    • Practical Skills / Drills & Scenarios
    • Water Disinfection – What Works / What is Available
  • Practical Assessment
  • Group Interests / Review Course Objectives
  • Exam
  • Course Wrap-Up / Feedback / Keeping Your Skills Up To Date

Recertification Information

Both theoretical and practical lessons help the participant develop the knowledge base and necessary skill sets. After the initial training program, individuals may maintain their level of certification with a practical weekend. This gives individuals the opportunity to review concepts, practice skills and debrief training simulations. Participants are eligible for the weekend recertification clinics provided it is within 2 years of their last training date. If more than 2 years has lapsed between training dates, a 4-day upgrade course is required to maintain WFR certification.

Course Notes

Assessment Areas

Basic Life Support – CPR / Rescue breathing / Assessment
Managing a spinal injury – 1. Collaring 2. Rolling 3. Boarding
Criteria for clearing a spinal injury in the field
Recognition / Management – musculoskeletal injuries
Recognition / Management – soft tissue injuries
Rapid trauma assessment
Competency in relation to anaphylaxis / asthma issues
Vital sign interpretation – compensatory mechanisms
Common expedition injuries / conditions
Environmental emergencies – heat / cold related immersion
Common medical problems – seizures / diabetes / allergies / GI / disorders / headaches
Over the counter medications

Course Information

Course length: 72 hours

This Course is For

This course is for outdoor leaders, guides and educators. It is for adventurers who want to feel prepared and confident when 911 is hours or days away.

What You Will Gain

Leadership and decision-making is what this course is all about. WFR's will be able to make good decisions in the field because they can anticipate how the patient's condition will progress and the long-term challenges facing the patient and the rescuers if evacuation is necessary.

Upcomming Course Schedule

There are currently no courses scheduled at this time.