The Wilderness First Responder course, otherwise known as WFR, is an advanced wilderness medical course provided to professionals and serious recreational enthusiasts to equip them with decision-making tools and medical knowledge for use in remote environments. Wilderness First Responders are trained to be able to respond in emergency situations of many different kinds in backcountry and front country settings.  The WFR has quickly became the “gold standard” wilderness medical certification for professional positions that involve work in remote, outdoor settings.

Although the WFR is most often attained by aspiring outdoor professionals, here are five reasons why every serious outdoor enthusiast should consider getting Wilderness First Responder certified:


1. Medical Knowledge

The WFR course is structured to provide tools for you to use to identify and treat a variety of injuries: allergic reactions, soft-tissue injuries, burns, wounds, infectious diseases, fractures, sprains, strains, dislocations, spinal injuries, hypothermia, volume shock, blood-borne pathogens, heat stroke, bites, and many others.  With such a wealth of knowledge regarding these situations, you can’t help but be more prepared when you encounter medical situations in the backcountry after taking the WFR.  Another thing to take into account is the knowledge to be gained regarding trauma care, basic life support, transportation, evacuation, treatment, patient management, bandaging, splinting, etc.




2. Practical Experience

Two of the biggest benefits to becoming WFR certified are the confidence and skills that result from the simulations and deliberate practice.  When participating in a WFR course, you can’t help but become fully immersed into an intense experiential setting in which you become the primary responder to serious situations with simulated (and real) stress.  In the long run, this experiential component is invaluable when it comes to actually responding to real-life situations out in the backcountry.




3. Better Decision Making

Every WFR course provides advanced decision making models and tools for your personal and professional use that extend far beyond the preparatory work leading to your certification.  These tools, such as the patient assessment system (PAS), enable and equip you to make decisions in a systematic and efficient way whether in the backcountry, or a variety of other settings. Experiential practice also contributes to your ability to make decisions using a holistic, pragmatic approach to stressful situations and dilemmas.




4. Peace of Mind

No one wants to constantly be worried about what might happen when having fun outside. We like to enjoy our recreation and be present in the moment, making the most our opportunity to be outside having fun! Being trained and prepared to respond to emergencies frees you up to focus more on the recreation experience and less on “what could happen” when you play outside.  After achieving a certification like the WFR, you will be less likely to avoid going out in the backcountry because of irrational anxieties or hesitations, AND you will be able to plan properly to avoid bad situations that could occur when having fun outside.

On the other hand, this is not a reason to be foolishly confident!  The “I’m a WFR, so I can respond to anything… Oh, did I mention, I’m invincible too,” mentality does not apply simply because you now have three fun letters to add to your name.




5. Opportunities

If none of these reasons have convinced you yet, I hope that the potential of personal and professional opportunities extending from your WFR experience will cause you to consider certification.  Taking the Wilderness First Responder course provides you with a chance to get to know industry professionals and aspiring professionals (often times up to thirty people).  Not only that, but having your WFR certification is a huge step to ever entering into the outdoor industry in a professional or semi-professional role.  Even if you don’t aspire to the level of “professional,” acquiring your WFR opens up opportunities to experience new things, add to your resume, and gain opportunities for further accreditation.









Our Wilderness First Responder Hybrid


In our experience some WFR classes feed you with a fire hose for 7 days (which you take off work for...) and your short term memory helps you pass the test.  You leave with a card, some basic knowledge and a book.  And if you don't use that knowledge frequently you lose it. We do not blame these classes, they are doing the best they can and this format works well for some people.  However, we at Sage Trainings have decided to do it differently to make the class more convenient and the knowledge longer lasting.  We offer:


  • A flexible hybrid (online/face to face) course format

    • Students are given a course manual for all reading, and then quizzes, tests and assignments are given online. There are video lectures and video skills trainings online also.  

    • The face to face training portion is time spent with an instructor and other students to practice skills and do scenario training.  These are recurring trainings that happen in 4 hour blocks.  The nice part about these face to face trainings is that if students cannot make it to a certain training they can just show up at the next one.  A certain amount of face to face training is required.  Ask about distance learning (Where its not possible to come to face to face trainings).  

  • Access to all course materials including video lecture/skills library

    •  The course material is available to the student forever.  Once the student has passed the class they can have complete access to the class materials and video lectures and skills forever as a reference to help keep the skills current.  

    • This includes attending hands on face to face trainings.  If you are an alumnist and need to sharpen your skills or just refresh you are invited to attend any face to face trainings for free.   

  • There is an online instructor available almost always.  If they don't answer your question immediately they will get back to you as soon as possible.  



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