Frequently Asked Questions

What is the WFAC?

An organization that teaches two-day and three-day wilderness first aid courses

What are the topics and exercises?

See a syllabus for the Two-Day Extended WFAC.

My friend told me that I have to sign up for the WFAC six months in advance. Is this right?

No, but the WFAC usually fills up three to four weeks before the course. After this, it is possible to enroll and be subsequently accepted off the waitlist. This varies somewhat year-to-year.

Why can’t I sign up first and provide my proof of CPR later?

The WFAC has a very small staff and everyone has many jobs. Providing all your paperwork at once minimizes the clerical work associated with enrollment.

If this is a non-profit course, what does the cost cover?

Your fee covers:

  • Materials such as stage blood, simulated wounds and makeup for the simulations

  • Visual aid investments to provide a quality experience (a projector and screen, a skeleton and a torso with visible organs, etc.)

None of your course fee goes toward paying staff; they are all volunteers.

Why is this course better than Red Cross Standard First Aid (RCSFA)?

RCSFA is three hours of instruction, mostly lecture and videos, with limited skills practice and no simulations. The WFAC is 16-24 hours of instruction with nearly 40% of the time spent on skills practice and simulations. Our instructor-to-student ratio is 3 to 4 times better than a RCSFA course, allowing for frequent one-on-one feedback during skills sessions and simulations.

Is CPR a prerequisite?

A CPR card is required to register.

Why isn't CPR included?

Only with difficulty can we fit the essentials of WFA into a two- or three-day course. If we included CPR instruction we would either have to extend the course to four days or drop several hours of important first aid topics.

How does Wilderness First Aid differ from regular first aid?

Wilderness first aid includes:

  • Environmental injuries and illness such as altitude sickness and snow blindness

  • Emphasis on improvising with materials on hand (e.g., tent poles)

  • Training on care of a patient for several days In a slightly larger perspective

  • This is an excellent first aid course for anyone who might be in a situation where first aid is required and where emergency medical services are several hours to a week away, for example:

    • After a major earthquake or flood

    • On a sailboat during an extended voyage

    • In combat during a military operation

    • At remote homesteads located several hours by road or air from emergency services

Is this course better than an on-line first aid course?

Probably the most valuable part of the WFAC is the simulations, including feedback from knowledgeable and experienced instructors. This is not available from an on-line course.

Why are there only two courses offered per year?

The few WFAC staff members are volunteers with jobs, families and other interests. Each WFAC course takes about two months to prepare and another month afterward to tie up loose ends. This means that course staff spends about half of each year maintaining and improving the WFAC, given the two-course-per-year schedule.

When will the three-day live-in course at Harwood Lodge be offered?

The WFAC will return to Harwood Lodge when we can mitigate the COVID risk associated with 30-40 people eating together in the dining room and sleeping in two common bunk rooms.

Is the WFAC part of a national organization?

The WFAC is an independent educational non-profit corporation. It is a member of the Wilderness Medical Society. The WFAC issues its own completion certificates, which are recognized by the National Sierra Club, the (Los) Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Orange County High Adventure Training (BSA) program.

The Girl Scout Council of Greater Los Angeles accepts the WFAC completion certificate for Level-2 First Aider and Wilderness First Aid designations.