Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA)

(5 days/40 hours)

This course is geared toward individuals leading short trips into the backcountry. The curriculum is significantly more detailed than our Wilderness First Aid course. It covers common medical emergencies encountered in a wilderness setting, fundamentals of patient assessment, environmental considerations, body systems, and numerous practical scenarios.

COURSE LOCATION Alaska, Pacific Northwest & Utah

IWLS FIRST AID INSTRUCTORS are Wilderness Emergency Medical Technicians (WEMTs) who bring a wealth of knowledge from years of guiding and instructing in wilderness areas. They present scenarios you are likely to encounter in the field, and prepare you to handle emergencies efficiently, safely and professionally. They understand the realities of managing emergencies in remote locations, not only in Alaska, but around the world.

While some time is spent in a classroom, the course utilizes a scenario-based, hands-on, practical approach to the curriculum. Once you’ve learned the tools for assessment, treatment, and transport in a backcountry setting, you’ll practice numerous scenarios incorporating problem solving, teamwork, communications and client care.

THE IWLS EMERGENCY MEDICINE CURRICULUM equips students with the knowledge and practical experience to effectively administer first aid in a wilderness setting. Here is a sample of some of the topics.

  • Scene Safety: Are rescuers going to be warm enough? Are you exposed to rock fall from above? The need for safety is paramount, for rescuers, patients and bystanders alike. We’ll go over body substance isolation and other key safety elements.
  • Shock: Anaphylactic, volume, or septic. Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of shock, how to treat patients, and how to differentiate shock from stress reactions.
  • C-spine Precautions: Was there mechanism for injury? Learn to prevent unnecessary injury and paralysis by taking proper care of the spine and making an impromptu backboard out of a backpack.
  • CPR: The science and techniques of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation are continually changing and evolving. You’ll learn the most up-to-date techniques and practice this crucial life-saving skill.
  • Patient Assessment: You’ll learn how to do a rapid initial assessment, do a thorough full body secondary assessment, take vitals, and recognize potential life threatening injuries and illnesses.
  • Cold Injuries: Recognize and treat frostbite. Learn techniques for prevention and treatment of hypothermia in the backcountry.

CERTIFICATIONS Upon completion of the 5-day course, participants may qualify for the following certifications:

Wilderness Advanced First Aid
International Wilderness Leadership School

BLS for the Healthcare Provider
American Red Cross


CPR for the Professional Rescuer
American Heart Association


DATES & PRICES Please see our schedule for current dates and price information.