Frequently Asked Questions
Who is required to take Wilderness First Aid (WFA)?
Requirements are program centric. As an example:
All four of the BSA high-adventure bases require at least one person per trek (two per trek at Philmont Scout Ranch) to be certified in WFA through an approved provider. Additional participants trained in WFA skills are recommended.
Council-run trek programs may also require participants to be current with WFA certification. If you are staffing a trek camp, WFA may be required. Check directly with the camp you will be attending.
In addition, participants in unit-centric high-adventure or backcountry programs would greatly benefit from WFA skills in the event of an emergency.
Who can take this course?
Anyone 14 years old and up. The BSA WFA course is designed for everyone from lay responders to those with medical experience participating in high-adventure camps or backcountry experiences.
How long is the course?
Do I need to have medical experience?
No. This course is designed for anyone with or without medical training.
Are there any prerequisites for the course?
Yes. You must be certified from a nationally recognized provider in both CPR and AED. First-aid training is a plus, but it is not a prerequisite.
How long does a WFA certification last?
Where can I take this course?
Contact your local council for information about their upcoming courses. There are many options for classes available in most areas. The American Red Cross ( www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr-first-aid/wilderness-sports#wilderness-remote-first-aid) and the Emergency Care and Safety Institute (www.ecsinstitute.org) have partnered with the BSA in developing our curriculum and offer approved courses throughout the country. Other courses accepted by the BSA are listed on the www.acacamps.org/resource-library/accreditation-standards/first-aid-cpr-recognized-certifications
There are also courses available at the Philmont Training Center several times per year. This is typically an instructor development course that includes the wilderness first aid curriculum and can also prepare you to become a WFA instructor if you so choose.
How was the BSA WFA curriculum developed?
Epidemiological data from published literature and BSA sources was analyzed to determine the frequency of events during outdoor program and high-adventure experiences within Scouting and in similar programs outside the BSA. Education experts determined the appropriate training for a WFA-level course. Outcomes-based and peer-reviewed literature was utilized to develop the curriculum
In 2017, review of the WFA curriculum was concluded and revisions were made to reflect current medical trends and accepted treatment. This review was conducted by a group of medical experts with vast experience in the backcountry. You may download the material here.
What major differences are in the 2017 WFA revised curriculum?
Many WFA students commented that they would prefer additional time to practice scenarios during the course itself. It was determined that grouping content into core and elective material would allow for greater scenario practice time. The total amount of time for the course remains the same at 16 hours.
Additional revisions revolve around changing medical ideology and treatment. International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation guidelines were incorporated as appropriate.