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

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