The Wilderness First Responder Course is mandatory for outdoor professionals and is recommended for recreationists who spend a lot of time in the backcountry. The 80-hour wilderness first aid course is often a prerequisite for employment in many organizations.
The following topics are covered in great detail: patient assessment, body systems, environmental injuries, anaphylaxis, patient extrication, patient carries, backcountry medicine, and of course CPR.
Where appropriate, the curriculum is taught and examined using simulation exercises. The course is recommended for anyone who leads adventure trips and those who are in the backcountry for days or weeks at a time and may have to care for a patient over an extended period. In the outdoors, emergency response time is not always quick.
This program is recognized by Alberta Occupational Health & Safety as an Advanced First Aid certificate and is an important distinction when choosing a wilderness first aid course.
The curriculum is 80 hours, over 9 days and we schedule one free day for study (total 10 days). Typically the mornings are devoted to lectures and exams and the afternoons focus on practical hands-on situations and simulations. There is nothing scheduled for the evenings but you will have readings and quizzes to complete which realistically are done in the evenings.
- Hands-on simulations. Where possible we use theatrical make-up and props
- Accident Management and Leadership
- Longer-Term Care of the Sick and Injured until emergency help is available
- Improvisation Skills
- Basic Search and Rescue
- Patient Packaging and Evacuation Techniques
Advanced First Aid scenarios in remote wilderness settings are the focus.
- Principles of extended care
- Medical-legal issues
- Communicable diseases
- Patient assessment
- Airway management, including oropharyngeal airways, use of BVM’s, and suctioning
- Wound management
- Thermal burns
- Sprains and strains
- Fractures, including femur and pelvic fractures
- Dislocations and field relocation techniques
- Head and facial trauma
- Spinal injuries; spinal restriction techniques; protocol for continuing or negating the need for spinal control
- Chest trauma
- Abdominal trauma
- Heat injuries and dehydration, including oral re-hydration guidelines
- Cold injuries
- Bites and stings (for North American beasties!)
- Poisons and toxins
- Allergies and anaphylaxis, including use of an Epi-pen
- Altitude emergencies
- Drowning / near-drowning
- Water and foodborne illness, including water purification techniques
- Changes in the level of consciousness
- Respiratory distress, including use of an Epi-pen / Epinephrine for non-responsive
- Abdominal pain
- Outdoor first aid kits
- Bivouac skills
- Search and rescue principles
- Packaging and transportation
- Critical incident stress management
- Triage Rescue and transportation
- Oxygen administration, including both passive and active delivery devices
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Dental emergencies
- CPR and AED skills (Level C)
- Backcountry CPR guidelines
- Anatomy, physiology, and terminology
Getting to Canmore
Canmore is a 1-hour drive west of Calgary. Greyhound (1 800 661 8747) services Canmore from points east and west along the Trans-Canada Highway. If visiting the area from far away you may want to rent a car so you can visit local attractions and enjoy the surrounding mountains.
The course begins at the Yamnuska office at 8.30 am on Day 1. Map
The course is being taught by professional instructors from Rocky Mountain Adventure Medicine (RMAM). They receive intensive vetting and training. Course quality is continually monitored and assessed to ensure it meets the most current standards.
Accommodation & Meals
Accommodation in Canmore is not included. A variety of accommodation options exist in both Canmore and Banff, including campsites, hostels, all levels of hotels as well as condo-style accommodation with kitchens or suites. We recommend that you book your own pre and post-trip accommodations well in advance as all levels of accommodations in the Bow Valley fill quickly.
RMAM certification is recognized throughout Canada (including the ACMG and Alberta Occupational Health and Safety) and the United States. Successful students will receive a certification card from RMAM, which is valid for 3 years. You will also receive your CPR level C. Within 3 years, graduates may recertify by way of a 5-day course.
Successful completion of this course is based on attendance (100% required), and performance on both written and practical final exams. Not everyone passes this course.
What to Bring
We ask that you bring appropriate clothing for the location and time of year. Remember that, rain or shine, much of our time is spent outside ding scenarios. You will also need a sleeping pad/mat (for simulations), pens, and a notebook.
- Something to write on and a pen or pencil
- Lunch unless you want to head into town for the break
- Copy of your Standard First Aid certification if you want and Advanced Adventure Medic certificate
- Clothing suitable for whatever the weather throws at us for the outdoor portions of the program
- For the field days, we would also like you to bring a pack containing items that you would normally take with you on a day out into the backcountry e.g. extra clothing, tarp, ski poles, duct tape, fire starter kit, ensolite/Thermarest, Swiss army knife/Leatherman.
- Additionally, participants are welcome to bring equipment with them that they regularly use in a backcountry setting to use as part of scenarios, examples would be snowshoes, skis, snowboard, ice axes, avalanche probes etc.
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. We require a 35% deposit at the time of booking. The remaining program fees are due eight weeks before the program start date.
For detailed Booking Instructions and Conditions, click here.
Please note that you will be required to sign our waiver before commencing the trip. Click here for a waiver copy.
There are two basic types of insurance that most travellers need to consider: Medical and Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. We offer our guests coverage for both and highly recommend you purchase it.
Emergency Medical Expenses Insurance:
It is wise to ensure that your health plan will cover you in case of illness or accident during your trip. Obtain extra coverage if necessary. There is no charge for rescue in the national and provincial parks, however, costs such as air or ground transportation, long term care and other services are not covered.
Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance:
We recognize that our guests’ schedules may change for many reasons; business, family, flight delays, injuries and other unplanned events. For these eventualities, the Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance is a great way to protect your investment.
For all your travel insurance requirements we recommend the Simpson Group. This agency offers a wide range of travel insurance options including Trip Cancellation/Interruption, Travel Medical and Personal Effect Loss for Canadian Travelers. We highly recommend purchasing this insurance. For more information and to purchase a plan, visit the Simpson Group’s website.
Please note that this coverage is for Canadian residents only. For guests who are not from Canada and who are interested in the ‘Visitors to Canada’ insurance package please contact the Simpson Group directly at JSimpson@simpson-group.com and reference your Yamnuska Mountain Adventure’s trip.
$845 Cdn includes instruction and course materials. GST is extra.
Re-certify your 80hr Advanced Wilderness First Aid Course (WFR, AAM, etc.) with a 5-day course. This course begins at 8:30 am at our office location in Canmore. Map
Is it for you?
While helpful, no prior first-aid certification is needed for this course. The minimum age is 16 years.