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Wilderness First Responder

The Wilderness First Responder (WFR) is a required medical training certification for most wilderness guides and outfitters. This WFR course, hosted by BOSS in Boulder, Utah, is taught by the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS and covers all aspects of WMI’s 80-hour certification course. Held in even years (2018, 2020, 2022, etc).

Need to recertify? We also offer a 3-day WFR Recertification.

About the Course

Emphasis on this course is placed on the development of good decision making skills and the prevention of emergencies. This course will be held in Boulder, Utah and the surrounding canyons, desert and mountains for necessary field trips / practicals. The course is open to anyone interested in learning wilderness medical techniques.

About BOSS

Since 1968, BOSS Courses have set the standard for low-technology camping and desert hiking techniques, where instruction is conducted with minimal intrusion of modern technology in environments that allow course content to be experienced first-hand. Our commitment to quality and to our core philosophies has earned BOSS its reputation as the survival school to go to when you want to learn from the best in the industry.

The Course Location

The BOSS WFR course will be taught in the town hall of Boulder, Utah, with day trips as needed into the surrounding natural areas. For this reason, students should plan on bringing hiking boots suitable for day trips that may take us in water and over rocks.

Course Content

The following is a sample agenda based on past WFR courses (Subject to change)

Day 0 Before 1PM: Students arrive in Salt Lake / Provo
2PM: Shuttle leaves from Days Inn in Provo
7PM: Shuttle arrives in Boulder, Utah
7:30PM: BOSS Orientation for WFR course
Day 1 Breakfast
Introduction: Wilderness vs. Urban care
Patient Assessment System
Patient Assessment System
Day 2 Breakfast
Spinal Cord Injury
Lifting and Moving
Spinal Immobilization & Litter Packaging
Chest Injuries
Day 3 Breakfast
Focused Spinal Assessment
Head Injuries
Athletic Injury
Fracture Management
DinnerEvening: Traction Splinting, Dislocations
Day 4 Breakfast
Wilderness Wound Management
Hypothermia, Frostbite and Non-Freezing Cold Injury
Heat and Hydration
Day 5 Breakfast
Altitude Illness
Bites and Stings
Leadership, Teamwork, Communication
Day 6 Day off to explore the parks and wilderness areas of Southern Utah.
Day 7 Breakfast
Altered Mental Status
Day 8 Breakfast
Acute Abdomen
Alergies and Anaphylaxis
SAR, Evac and Emergency Plans
DinnerEvening: Mock Rescue
Day 9 Breakfast
Mental Health
Urinary and Reproductive
Communicable Disease
Medical Legal
Day 10 Breakfast
Common Problems wrap-up
Wilderness Drug and First Aid Kits
Written and Practical Exams
Written and Practical ExamsClosing Ceremony
Shuttle departs for Days Inn in Provo

Food and Lodging

All students are invited to eat meals prepared by BOSS. Meals are served family-style (buffet) by our staff and are prepared using the freshest possible ingredients, typically consisting of organic ingredients.

This can include:

  • Breakfasts – Organic eggs, whole grain pancakes, organic yoghurt, fresh fruit for breakfasts (as well as a variety of teas and coffee).
  • Lunch – Whole-grain sandwiches, salads, fruit, and other simple but nutritious options
  • Dinner – Pastas, soups, stews, enchiladas, grilled chicken… basically, something hot and filling, also made from whole-grains, organic vegetables (as much as possible) and whatever seasonal dishes our cooks prepare.

Based on the feedback of past students, we can say that while the food is not the focus of the course, it will certainly be appreciated, as our staff work very hard to prepare your meals so you can focus your energy on the WFR curriculum. Please call our office if you have specific questions regarding diet or food requests.

If you wish to supplement your diet with snacks or meals, you can visit some of the local stores and restaurants (cost not included in the tuition.)

Local restaurants within walking distance and include:

  • Burr Trail Grill – All-American cooking with locally grown ingredients
  • Burr Trail Outpost – Coffee and tea, baked goods, and light breakfast and lunch
  • Hell’s Backbone Grill – Award-winning, locally-grown gourmet cuisine
  • Magnolia’s Street Food – Delicious Mexican and other food served from a food truck including – you guessed it – locally grown ingredients
  • Sweetwater Kitchen – Another fantastic restaurant serving locally-inspired American food, but leave yourself time as it’s 20 minutes from class

Lodging is up to each student. You can choose to sleep outside on the school’s 41-acre property (no charge) or in one of the local motels (reservations may be required.)