Traditional wilderness first aid courses are generally open to anyone over the age of 15 or 16. Completion of courses results in certification that usually lasts for 2-3 years, after which recertification courses are required. Courses are offered at both basic and advanced levels and typically involve a written and practical application component. Fieldwork drills or exercises in wilderness settings are also typically part of the course. College credits or continuing education credits may be earned through completion of first aid courses. Some occupations, such as forest ranger, paramedic or rescue worker, may require certification in wilderness first aid. Courses usually take place partly in a classroom setting, with the rest of the time typically spent in outdoor locations practicing drills and scenarios. Manuals and textbooks are usually provided. Other materials such as medical supplies and equipment are usually provided in the course.
Wilderness First Aid Courses
Below are some of the wilderness first aid courses available. They are not offered online.
- Basic Wilderness Course: This type of course is typically two days long, and is geared toward beginners with no previous experience. Students in this course learn how to assess and examine patients, as well as provide proper treatment for a variety of injuries. Treatment of head and spinal injuries, wounds and burns, and fractures and dislocations are topics covered in this course.
- Advanced Wilderness First Aid Course: Advanced wilderness first aid courses usually run from 3-5 days, and are more medically comprehensive and detailed than basic first aid courses. This type of course is aimed toward those working in backcountry environments as guides or expedition group leaders. Students learn advanced splinting techniques for fractures and dislocations, lifting and moving extrication techniques and basic life support. CPR is typically only taught in advanced courses of this type.
- Wilderness First Aid for Marine Environments: In this course, students will learn the essentials of wilderness first aid training, as well as specifics about water safety. Special topics include marine insect bites and stings, nausea and seasickness treatment, and water-associated injuries or emergencies.