Wilderness First Responder Courses

Basic Wilderness Life Support (BWLS) is a wilderness first responder course designed to provide an individual with an in-depth knowledge of wilderness medicine and the basic skills to treat the most common injuries and illnesses encountered in the wilderness.  This program is appropriate for professional guides and other nonmedical people who want a deeper understanding of wilderness medicine.

Course highlights

  • – 74 hours of lectures and hands-on training
  • – Additional training in decision making and administering medication
  • – Exceeds NOLS WFR equivalent
  • – Accredited by the University of Utah School of Medicine

Time Commitment:

The length of the instruction is 6 long days for most courses from 8:00am-10:00pm.  Evening/weekend courses last two weeks and run from 6:00pm-10:00pm during the weekdays and 8:00am-6:00pm on Saturdays and 8:00am-6:00pm on the first Sunday, the course is approximately 74 hours of didactic lecture and hands on workshops and scenarios.

Cancellation Policy:

Because we need a minimum number of students to sustain costs for a course, we regret we are unable to offer refunds for cancellations within 2 weeks of a course.

All refunds are subject to a 10% processing fee

Topics covered include, but are not limited to:

• Patient Assessment Scene Size-up, Primary Survey, Secondary Survey
• Bleeding and Shock
• Wound and Burn Management (bandaging)
• Fractures & Dislocations, Improvised Splinting
• Chest Injuries
• Abdominal Injuries
• Head and Spine Injuries, Spinal Immobilization
• Near Drowning
• Lightning
• Heat-Related Illness
• Hypothermia & Cold-Related Illness/Injury (Frostbite, etc.)
• Gender Specific Emergencies
• Obstetrical Emergencies
• Psychology in the Wilderness
• Neurologic Emergencies
• Diving Medicine (Intro)
• Altitude Illness
• Avalanche Medicine
• Law and the Wilderness
• Poisoning Emergencies
• Evacuation Guidelines
• Improvised Litters & Carries
• Skin, Wilderness Dentistry, Illness & Injury of the Eyes

Multiple practice workshops and scenarios are also included in the curriculum. These hands-on workshops are often done while on small hikes as a class to get more realistic practice. Most of our practice scenarios are based on real-life incidents that our instructors have managed as professional rescuers or encountered in their own backcountry adventures.


Wilderness Medicine of Utah will be launching an updated BWLS curriculum in January 2019.

Certifications reading Wilderness First Responder will be issued through December 2018 and are valid for 3 years.

Staring in January 2019 certifications will read Basic Wilderness Life Support and will be valid for 2 years. Students must recertify within a year of expiration in order to be eligible for the recertification course and pricing.