The Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) course is for those who travel hours away from help with limited resources.
Learn advanced medical treatments for wilderness settings. Emphasis is on providing care for extended periods while waiting for additional resources.
- Learn through hands-on training sessions, as well as classroom lecture and discussion
- Prepare for backcountry emergencies in realistic scenarios with stage blood and simulated wounds
- Gain skills on one of the best courses you’ll ever experience—delivered by professional, dynamic and fun instructors
- Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) certification
- CPR A (CPR for adults, includes AED training) certification
- Included materials: Textbook, notebook (with WMA lecture notes), SOAP note booklet, waterproof WMA field guide
Your certification is valid for 3 years from the date of issue.
- General concepts of wilderness medicine and the Patient Assessment System
- CPR, AED, and basic life support skills
- Anatomy and major problems of the respiratory, circulatory, and nervous systems
- Musculoskeletal injury assessment and splinting
- Spine injury assessment and management
- Allergies and anaphylaxis
- Medical emergencies such as asthma and diabetes
- Wound and burn management
- Environmental problems such as hypothermia, heat illnesses, lightning, and drowning
- Backcountry medicine and toxins, bites, and stings
- Medical legal issues
- And more…
Course format and overview
You must be 16 years of age to participate. 16 and 17 year olds need parental consent.
There are no course prerequisites for Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA). However, once registered, you’ll be sent a link to our online learning platform. Here you can:
- access optional pre-course material for you to review
- read and sign your course waiver forms
After registering, participants will receive a Student Information Package by email with specific meeting times for their course. Typically classes are from 8:30am – 5:30pm.
Assessment and evaluation for certification
Practical assessment is ongoing. There is a written test on the last day of the course; students must receive a grade of 80% or higher.
Instructors will do everything they can to accommodate students with different learning styles and needs. Let us know what we can do to help you succeed.
Attendance is mandatory
Attendance for 100% of class time is mandatory. If you cannot make a session you must get permission from the instructor in advance. Students who miss a section of the course without pre-approval may be asked to leave the course for the sake and safety of the other students.
What to pack
Please bring appropriate clothing and equipment to be comfortable outside for the entire day. If your course is in late fall, winter, or early spring this means:
- lots of thick, warm layers
- extra toques, mitts, socks, and footwear
- and lots of snack food
If you eat well, layer-up, and have extra dry items to change into, you’ll stay functional, get the most out of your training, and have the best chance of achieving certification. certification.
EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES
- A large backpack so you can carry extra food, water, clothing, and equipment for yourself
- Day pack for storing your clothing and belongings during class
- Drybag or waterproof stuff sack to keep your textbooks and learning materials in throughout the course (to leave in the outdoor ‘classroom’ area)
- A set of clothing that can be stained and cut during simulations (expect to throw these away)
- Face masks (non-surgical) which covers your nose, mouth, and chin
- Eye protection: this must be commercial eye protection with side guards. Prescription glasses alone are not safety eyewear. The eyewear must have side shields. Full face shields are also acceptable.
- Hand sanitizer with 80% alcohol
- Notebook and pens
- Waterproof digital watch (for taking vital signs). This is mandatory, you can’t use a smart phone.
- Water bottle(s) or hydration pack x 2 litres
- Snack foods (lots!)
- Bug repellent and headnet (season dependent)
- Headlamp with extra batteries
- Something to sit and lie on outside such as an insulate pad
- Personal medications
- Personal hygiene products
- Optional: Sunglasses
- Optional: Coffee or tea thermos
- Optional: Waterproof paper and pen
- Optional: Skis, snowshoes (for winter courses), bicycle, or hiking gear (for spring, summer, fall)
- Synthetic or wool base layers top and bottom Synthetic or wool insulation layers
- Waterproof jacket and pants
- Warm socks (pack extras)
- *Shoes or boots appropriate for weather and rough terrain – an extra pair in case one get’s wet is a good idea.
- 2 x Toque (warm hat), scarf or neck warmer (winter courses), or sun hat
- 2 or 3 x Liner gloves / mitts and *over mittens (winter courses)
*Note: in cold conditions, roominess in your boots and mitts makes all the difference for warmth. If they’re too tight fitting—your feet and hands will be cold.
CAMPING SUPPLIES (OPTIONAL)
From April 15th – Oct 20th, you can camp onsite for $20/night. You’ll have access to indoor bathrooms and showers and drinking water (outdoor tap), but no other facilities.
- All of your camping and cooking equipment
- Breakfast and supper food
Partnered with Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA)
For our medical courses, we partner with Wilderness Medical Associates. WMA has set the standard in wilderness medicine and rescue training for over 30 years. The cutting-edge curriculum is constantly updated by a group of healthcare professionals, has been taught on all 7 continents, and is recognized around the world.
Be sure to read our cancellation policy.
- Eein Pi 03 Apr 2018I took the WAFA course in Wakefield with Danny. Great course run by an excellent instructor. Very knowledgeable and progressed through the course at a good speed. Practice information presented in an interactive format. I highly recommend Boreal and Danny for any courses!read moreread lessDot Bonnenfant 26 Apr 2023I just took the 4 day Wilderness Advanced First Aid course with Danny and crew! This is my 4th? time taking this training-and it just keeps getting better! I love the mix of theory immediately followed by practice scenarios of all kinds! The Instruction and Instructors are excellent- professional, knowledgeable, skilled, experienced .... besides being positive and approachable! The practical is supported by resources and tools: Manual is read, flagged, dogeared and underlined :-). The Field Guide is in my first aid kit! The Lecture notebook was indispensable! The SOAP Notes-booklet helped keep me on track and ready for the field. Just a fine experience!! Thank you to all the Boreal team!read moreread less
- Sonia Vani 26 Apr 2023I cannot say enough about how impressed I was with the Boreal River Rescue WAFA course. I highly recommend it and only have two regrets: 1) I wish I had known about Boreal River Rescue sooner... Why bother taking regular first aid when you can set yourself up to learn to deal with emergencies in the backcountry; and 2) I wish I had signed up from the get go for the full 8 day WFR program. Thankfully, there are options to, at a later date, supplement the WAFA curriculum and bridge over to the WFR. I absolutely loved every moment of the WAFA. All four days were packed with engaging content delivered by attentive and friendly instructors, in a challenging and fun manner. It's a perfect way to practice making important decisions in stressful situations. If you wonder whether you are ready or whether you can complete the course or not, do yourself a favour and stop worrying about that immediately... Boreal River Rescue is committed to helping its students succeed and caters to many different ages and learning styles. Frankly, this is quite possibly the most unforgettable first aid course you will ever take. Thanks Danny and crew!read moreread lessMegan Norland 04 Dec 2019Excellent training that combined theory and hands-on learning better than any other First Aid course I have taken. I feel confident in the WAFA course material thanks to our fantastic teachers, Mike and Charles, and on top of learning a lot of content, had a blast doing so!read moreread less
- Sonja Amelia 27 Apr 2023The Boreal River Rescue WAFA course was an excellent experience. The instructors were engaging and clear, the structure was focused and fun, and the content was well written and organized around explaining the why and not just the what. Danny, Michael and Dana were fantastic instructors and were able to teach the critical processes quickly and then overlay the variations using interesting and dynamic scenarios that locked-in retention. It was great to be with a group of intentional people from all different backgrounds learning something new together - I’ll be returning to complete my WFR level for sure.read moreread lessMegan Norland 04 Dec 2019Excellent training that combined theory and hands-on learning better than any other First Aid course I have taken. I feel confident in the course material thanks to our fantastic teachers, Mike and Charles, and on top of learning a lot of content, had a blast doing so!read moreread less