The Wilderness First Responder course will prepare you to assess and manage medical problems in isolated and remote environments. Choose the ‘standard’ 8-day WFR course or the ‘5-day WFR’, which includes 25+ hours of independent study before the onsite portion.
- Become competent providing advanced medical treatments and prolonged care in wilderness settings
- Gain skills and knowledge to manage environmental problems and evacuations
- Practice team-rescues, leadership and decision making
- Learn through hands-on training sessions, as well as classroom lecture and discussion
- Prepare for backcountry emergencies through realistic scenarios with stage blood and simulated wounds
- Grow your confidence on one of the best courses you’ll ever experience—delivered by professional, dynamic, and fun instructors.
- Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification
- CPR C certification (CPR for adults, children, and infants. Includes AED training)
- Included materials: Textbook, SOAP note booklet, waterproof WMA field guide, case studies workbook, notebook (with WMA lecture notes)
Your certification is valid for 3 years from the date of issue.
- General concepts of wilderness medicine and the Patient Assessment System
- CPR (adult, child, and infant), 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 stroke and diabetes
- Severe asthma wilderness protocol
- Wound and burn management
- Wilderness protocol for reducing shoulder dislocations
- Environmental problems such as hypothermia, heat illnesses, lightning, and drowning
- Backcountry medicine and toxins, bites, and stings
- Litters, improvised litters and patient carries
- Evacuations, decision making, and leadership
- Medical legal issues
- And more
Course format and overview
Prerequisites and pre-course prep
There are no course prerequisites for Wilderness First Responder (WFR).
8-day format: You must be 16 years to participate in this course. 16 and 17 year olds need parental consent.
5-day plus Independent Study format: You must be 18 years or older and willing and able to complete the 25+ hours of pre-course work.
After registering, participants will receive a Student Information Package by email with specific meeting times for their course.
On the 8-day WFR, classes are from 8:30am – 5:30pm with one evening session (usually on day 6) going to 8:30pm.
On the 5-day WFR, classes are from 8:00am to 6:00pm, with the 3rd day going until 8:00pm.
Assessment and evaluation for certification
Practical assessment is ongoing. There is a written test on the last day of the course; you 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.
5-Day WFR format with pre-course work
On the 5-day WFR, you’ll complete 25+ hours of independent study prior to the onsite portion. The ‘5-day WFR’ is not an easier course or a shortcut, it covers the same material and meets the same criteria as the 8-day format. It is a great option if you have the time, discipline, and learning style to cover the material independently.
You must register at least 2 weeks before the onsite portion begins and complete all of the independent work before you arrive. Once registered, we’ll send you a link to WMA’s online learning platform. You’ll complete reading, assignments, case studies and online tests at your own pace.
As soon as you submit your online tests, they’ll be sent to your instructor so they can review your answers.
On the 5-day onsite portion, we can then focus on practical skills, patient assessment drills, and rescue simulations because you’ll arrive already familiar with the theoretical knowledge.
All of our medical courses are intensive; the onsite portion of the 5-day WFR is even more so: expect very full, fast-paced days.
What to pack
Please bring appropriate clothing and equipment to be comfortable outdoors for the entire day. This means (for late fall, winter, and early spring courses) lots of thick, warm layers and 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.
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.
- Just finished WFR with Boreal River Rescue. The course exceeded my expectations in all respects. Absolutely amazing coverage and discussion... read moreJust finished WFR with Boreal River Rescue. The course exceeded my expectations in all respects. Absolutely amazing coverage and discussion on all the content, fantastic labs (like cleaning very dirty "wounds" cut into real chicken legs), great demos and repeated practice with many different tools and techniques (splinting and beyond), amazing range of scenarios held on site in the nearby field and woods complete with fake blood and multiple victim crash sites... I cannot praise the breadth and depth of the material covered or the variety of lessons incorporated enough. Due to covid we had all our classes, labs, and scenarios outside, wearing masks, and respecting 2m distancing at all times. Did this put a damper on the course? NO! Danny, head instructor for this session, was amazing. Our class used full-size PVC pipe manikins to use in place of real people for many of our exercises. It was an excellent fun learning experience. Some of the participants were current fire fighters, ambulance attendants, and even an emergency room doctor. Highlights included being video taped in the middle of our rescue scenarios and repeated thoughtful constructive criticism on how to self-reflect and learn from each and every aspect of the course. Thanks, BRR! read lessEmily Edwards 27 Aug 2020I loved this course! It's certainly challenging and the instructors take their job seriously but also make it fun and... read moreI loved this course! It's certainly challenging and the instructors take their job seriously but also make it fun and interesting. I appreciated the different styles of each of the instructors. I had an amazing time and really felt like it was worth the investment. I would highly recommend! read lessNatasha GOLD 20 Dec 2019My friend and I took this course in preparation for a climbing expedition next year and I can't believe I... read moreMy friend and I took this course in preparation for a climbing expedition next year and I can't believe I we didn't take it years ago! Our instructor, Danny, did an amazing job of explaining the concepts and applying them in practical scenarios, as well as teaching us how best to approach situations that we might find ourselves in. The material is very interesting and the practice runs are detailed and creative, Danny is very imaginative! I strongly recommend this course to anyone who wishes to go out into the wilderness and wants to be prepared for First Aid scenarios. read lessOlivier Boutin 03 Sep 2020
- I recently completed the Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course, it was nothing short of fabulous. I would honestly say... read moreI recently completed the Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course, it was nothing short of fabulous. I would honestly say it is one of the best courses of any kind that I've ever taken. The WFR course really helped to understand the key critical body systems, how to rapidly assess problems and how to prioritize what needs to be done. The discussions and many simulation exercises has not only boosted my confidence but also my interest in continuing to learn more. Danny was a fantastic instructor, providing lots of opportunity to learn from each other and pushing everybody to hone their skills and demonstrate they really understood. Highly recommend both the WFR course and Boreal River delivery. read lessPaul Dunn 22 Dec 2019I had the pleasure of spending 4 intensive days with Boreal River to re-cert my WFR-80 hr.Kielyn Marrone 17 Jun 2021
Danny is highly knowledgeable... read moreI had the pleasure of spending 4 intensive days with Boreal River to re-cert my WFR-80 hr.
Danny is highly knowledgeable beyond the scope of the course which allows for intelligent conversation about people's wildest questions and "what ifs".
He and his team are professional, friendly and accommodating. I would highly recommend them (and do!) for all of your first-aid and rescue courses.
Thank you and I look forward to my next course with you!
- co-owner of Lure of the North
-80 day survivalist from Alone season 7 on History Channel. read lessSolid. I have now taken a WFR and a River rescue course with Boreal and they are excellent. Professional, amazing... read moreSolid. I have now taken a WFR and a River rescue course with Boreal and they are excellent. Professional, amazing skills and excellent teaching. I highly recommend them. read lessColin Bunge 05 Jun 2019
- Just finished the 5 day WFR course in Wakefield with Danny. Loved every minute of it. The course is really... read moreJust finished the 5 day WFR course in Wakefield with Danny. Loved every minute of it. The course is really well organized. We covered tons of material and we had lots of opportunity to apply the material during the simulations...that’s where you really find out what you’ve learned. Thanks so much to Danny and everyone at Boreal River. I look forward to more training with you in the near future... read lessBill Gadzos 11 Apr 2018Great course! The instructors were more than knowledgeable and professional, and their enthusiasm helped keep the mood up in... read moreGreat course! The instructors were more than knowledgeable and professional, and their enthusiasm helped keep the mood up in what was otherwise a fairly grueling and intense learning experience. The diverse backgrounds and experience of the instructors was helpful to add depth to the learning materials. Thank you. read lessKieran McGuire 28 Dec 2019Impressive Team. Danny and Julio were extremely professional and knowledgeable. Appreciated their responsible handling of the Covid-19 reality, creatively adjusting... read moreImpressive Team. Danny and Julio were extremely professional and knowledgeable. Appreciated their responsible handling of the Covid-19 reality, creatively adjusting their instruction to keep all safe while still ensuring a first class challenging program. Well done Lads. read lessKevin Morton 22 Jun 2020
- I took the 5-day WFR course in December 2015. Both the course material and the instruction were terrific. ... read moreI took the 5-day WFR course in December 2015. Both the course material and the instruction were terrific.Matt Price 05 Jan 2016
The intensity of the 5-day format adds a lot to the experience. I found the pre-course studying somewhat nervewracking but also very helpful during the course itself. Studying in advance also let me learn all the material twice over a period of about 3 weeks, which is in general a more effective procedure than being exposed to new material just once.
Danny and Matt (from Missinaibi Headwaters Outfitters) were both superlative instructors, and as a teacher myself I felt I had lots to learn from them. The simulation and Patient Assessment scenarios were imaginative and compelling. It was interesting to note the change in my own performance as the course progressed; Danny and Matt quickly helped all of us to overcome any shyness or reticence and to participate fully in the playacting element of the course -- and when I acted in a rescuer role, the patient's willingness to pretend made a real difference in my experience. In particular, I found I learned a lot from making diagnostic mistakes and practical errors. I don't think I would have learned nearly so much with less skilled instructors.
There are probably other great instructors out there, but I would be inclined to come back to these guys every time. This was one of the best courses I've ever taken; I hope I have more chances to learn in the same way. read lessI've taken both the Wilderness First Responder and Whitewater Rescue Technician courses. They were both fantastic courses that I... read moreI've taken both the Wilderness First Responder and Whitewater Rescue Technician courses. They were both fantastic courses that I highly recommend. read lessMatt Borges 13 Jun 2023Amazing experience. I did my WFR for the first time this December, and I never wanted it to end. I... read moreAmazing experience. I did my WFR for the first time this December, and I never wanted it to end. I tremendously enjoyed the learning process and the environment. Highly recommend. read lessNikki Ouellette 13 Dec 2021
- Just finished a Boreal River WFR recert. They are working really hard to follow every Covid protocol. Course was 4... read moreJust finished a Boreal River WFR recert. They are working really hard to follow every Covid protocol. Course was 4 days and I can honestly say, not once would there have been exposure even if everyone else had Covid. I was masked and wearing goggles, 6 ft apart and outside the whole time. Plus we never touched anyone else's gear or mannequins.paul mason 22 Oct 2020
Yes I did find it more challenging to be using a mannequin with feedback coming from a live "victim" 6 feet away, but it works. read lessTen years in and Boreal River is the industry leader. Whether you are looking for first aid training, whitewater rescue... read moreTen years in and Boreal River is the industry leader. Whether you are looking for first aid training, whitewater rescue certification, or high quality adventure guiding, Boreal River is the top echelon in Canada. Through his passion for rivers, people, and education, Danny has assembled an incredible team who share his passions and diversify the experience for clients. This is the due to a lifelong focus on the highest professional standard and, over time, attracting like-minded people. The result is a company driven by passionate and professional staff who are committed to providing the highest quality experience possible for their clients. Congrats to Danny and the entire Boreal River team; you truly have built something very special together over the last 10 years!Bill Mitchell 12 Jun 2019
-Bill Mitchell, Vanier College Outdoor Education read lessCourse: Boreal River Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Instructors: Devorah, Dana, Nic, Abby, Jamie I did the 8 day... read moreCourse: Boreal River Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Instructors: Devorah, Dana, Nic, Abby, Jamie I did the 8 day course, just outside Wakefield QC. The instructors we had were excellent and we had a great student to staff ratio. They are very passionate and knowledgeable about what they do. read lessJason Birch 04 Apr 2023
- Danny was a great instructor. I learned so much during the WFR course and I now feel confident that I... read moreDanny was a great instructor. I learned so much during the WFR course and I now feel confident that I can react calmly and efficiently in emergency situation. Thanks so much such a great course. Denis L’Heureux read lessSusan L'Heureux 17 Dec 2019I was fortunate to join a wilderness first responder first aid course last winter and was so impressed with the... read moreI was fortunate to join a wilderness first responder first aid course last winter and was so impressed with the attention to detail and intensive training that I vowed to take Boreal's Whitewater Rescue Technician course this year. Mission accomplished in September ( a great time to take this course as the water is still warm), it was an intensive re-cert course at Boreal's base camp on the Upper Gatineau River. I walked, or should I say swam away from the course with the knowledge and motivation to keep practicing these skills until my next re-cert. read lessPaul Mason 13 Sep 2018
- Recerted both my WRT and WFR with Boreal this fall and both courses were both challenging and enjoyable. In... read moreRecerted both my WRT and WFR with Boreal this fall and both courses were both challenging and enjoyable. In the case of the WFR there has been considerable change in how spine injuries are categorized and treated and we received a lot of practical experience in applying new standards. As usual, Boreal's excellent training was backed up by efficient course administration. read lessPeter Kasurak 05 Nov 2019I just took the 5 WFR course and only have good things to say about Boreal River! The instructors are... read moreI just took the 5 WFR course and only have good things to say about Boreal River! The instructors are extremely knowledgeable and engaging. Each day was really well structured and included lots of hands on drills. I got so much out of this course and can’t wait to do more with them in the future! read lessTenley McKay 06 Jun 2022I did my whitewater rescue technician and wilderness first responder certs with Boreal and thoroughly enjoyed both. Danny was especially... read moreI did my whitewater rescue technician and wilderness first responder certs with Boreal and thoroughly enjoyed both. Danny was especially good explaining concepts so that even a relative novice such as myself could understand. The courses were in-depth, challenging without being overwhelming, and found creative ways to remain COVID safe without sacrificing learning. I would absolutely recert with them. read lessRobyn F 04 Jun 2021
- I took the WFR Bridge course and it was awesome. The instructor Sam really knew her stuff. I would definitely... read moreI took the WFR Bridge course and it was awesome. The instructor Sam really knew her stuff. I would definitely do my recert with these guys again if I happen to be back in this area in 3 years' time! read lessGareth Hamilton 23 Mar 2019I recently finished the 5 day WFR course with Danny and Kelly as instructors. What an unbelievable experience. Extremely engaging... read moreI recently finished the 5 day WFR course with Danny and Kelly as instructors. What an unbelievable experience. Extremely engaging instructors with a vast knowledge in wilderness first aid. Added intensity with realistic simulations adding stress to students, which is a good thing to help keep your head on straight in a real situation. This course content and delivery went way beyond my expectations and I highly recommend this course to anyone who spends time in the back country or are involved in SAR. Expertly done Boreal... read lessStephane McDermott 01 Dec 2016The team at Boreal River is an outstanding group of exceptional individuals who are not only passionate about what they... read moreThe team at Boreal River is an outstanding group of exceptional individuals who are not only passionate about what they do, but truly expert in their field. I've taken part in their 5-day @[80455872483:Wilderness Medical Associates] WFR course and I have been truly blown away by the expertise and professionalism of the trainers. A++ read lessLouis-Philippe Champagne 27 Nov 2016
- 5 day WFR course in La Peche (Wakefield) was TOP NOTCH. Incredibly knowledgeable and personable instructor, Danny, made this intensive... read more5 day WFR course in La Peche (Wakefield) was TOP NOTCH. Incredibly knowledgeable and personable instructor, Danny, made this intensive (exhausting) course engaging and an ideal learning environment from start to finish. His limitless patience, professionalism, and ability to intuit the energy of the group kept us in balance (THANK YOU for supporting our needs for frequent snacks and movement!). Nothing like nerve-wracking experiential learning to build confidence. 10 out of 5 stars!!! read lessElyse Quann 21 Dec 2018Just wrapped up a WFR-Bridge course run by Boreal River Rescue at the beautiful "Barn" near Wakefield, Quebec.Ben Gunn 10 Dec 2018
Led by Danny... read moreJust wrapped up a WFR-Bridge course run by Boreal River Rescue at the beautiful "Barn" near Wakefield, Quebec.
Led by Danny and Mike, two talented, enthusiastic and passionate instructors, the course was loads of fun and hard work. The material is challenging but Danny and Mike bring it to life with amazing scenario work and role playing. Thanks for putting together and running such a great course! read less
- I have taken several courses with Boreal River Rescue including Wilderness First Responder and Ice Safety. The instructors and... read moreI have taken several courses with Boreal River Rescue including Wilderness First Responder and Ice Safety. The instructors and courses have all been excellent. Can't recommend them enough. read lessTim Irvin 13 Jan 2021Completed my WFR recertification with Boreal River this month. They did an excellent job with Covid-19 precautions and it still... read moreCompleted my WFR recertification with Boreal River this month. They did an excellent job with Covid-19 precautions and it still very hands-on and informative. read lessHeather Gough 22 Jun 2020
- Re: Boreal's Wilderness First Responder 3-day recert course: Danny & Trevor did an AMAZING job... TRULY. Hard... read moreRe: Boreal's Wilderness First Responder 3-day recert course: Danny & Trevor did an AMAZING job... TRULY. Hard work, hands on, creative, challenging, and highly recommended. I always feel well trained and competent after being through Boreal's courses. read lessLynette Chubb 07 Nov 2018
- I have taken Wilderness 1st Responder and Whitewater Rescue Technician with Boreal and have been extremely impressed with both. Their... read moreI have taken Wilderness 1st Responder and Whitewater Rescue Technician with Boreal and have been extremely impressed with both. Their courses are very well-organized and staff are highly knowledgeable and skilled teachers. In particular, I valued the hands-on repetitions of practical skills. There is no unsupported theory with Boreal. Every lesson involves actual practice in as real a setting as possible. Their whitewater courses are especially known for this. read lessJared Ball 01 Jun 2022