CALL US: 210-449-2168 | EMAIL US:

Wilderness First Aid and Herbal First Aid

Wilderness First Aid
Wilderness First Responder students at Herbal Medics Academy certification courses

Importance of Wilderness First Aid

What is the definition of Wilderness First Aid? Answer: Being an hour or more from higher medical care (i.e. clinic, emergency room, etc.).

Wilderness first aid skills are traditionally thought to be essential for any outdoor adventurer. This is certainly true, but as the COVID pandemic and any natural disaster has taught us, these skills can be necessary in the middle of any city also.

In an emergency, having the right knowledge and skills can be invaluable and potentially life-saving. Knowing how to assess a situation quickly and accurately, provide basic medical care until professional help arrives, or even carry out a rescue operation can all make a huge difference in the outcome of an incident. Being trained in wilderness first aid can give you the confidence to respond appropriately and provide you with peace of mind, no matter how experienced you are in outdoor activities. Having access to these important skills can be the difference between life and death when faced with an unpredictable circumstance in a remote location.

Wilderness first aid is not only beneficial in the context of an emergency; it can also be used to provide standard medical care when no other help is available. Wilderness first responders are trained to identify and treat common outdoor illnesses and injuries, including fractures, hypothermia, heat-related illness, insect bites and stings, dehydration, and more. Wilderness first aid skills can also be used to provide medical assistance in areas with limited or no access to medical care, such as remote campsites or villages.

medical advance party class
Camping and other outdoor activities are traditionally when we think of WFA skills being necessary

Why You Should Take a Wilderness First Aid Course

Learning wilderness first aid is a critical step for any outdoor enthusiast, whether they are just starting out or already have many years of experience. Taking a course in wilderness first aid will give you the skills and knowledge to assess a situation quickly and accurately, provide basic medical care until professional help arrives, and even carry out a rescue operation.

This can be invaluable in an emergency, as having the right skills can make all the difference when unexpected events happen in remote locations. A good quality course will also give you peace of mind that you have the resources to act confidently and appropriately when needed, no matter how experienced you are in the outdoors.

List of Some Common Wilderness First Aid Skills

  • Assessing a situation quickly and accurately
  • Providing basic medical care to stabilize medical situations
  • Understanding how to transport a victim to higher care, often using improvised methods
  • Carrying out a rescue operation
  • Treating shock, heatstroke, and hypothermia
  • Applying splints and bandages
  • Administering CPR and other life support techniques
  • Recognizing signs of broken bones, dislocations, strains, and sprains
  • Knowing which plants are toxic or poisonous
  • Responding to allergic reactions
  • Managing bee stings and snakebites

Wilderness First Aid (WFA), Advanced WFA and WFR Certification

Typically, Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification is between 8 and 24 hours of education. At Herbal Medics Academy, whether online or on-site, we typically teach 24 hours of curriculum for WFA.

Advanced Wilderness First Aid (AWFA) is typically between 24-48 hours of curriculum. At Herbal Medics Academy we teach this course online for an additional 24 hours which adds up to 48 hours total (WFA plus AWFA).

Wilderness First Responder (WFR) is typically between 60 and 80 hours of training. At Herbal Medics Academy we teach a total of 72 hours of curriculum for our WFR certification. This is composed of 24 hours of WFA (online or onsite), 24 hours of AWFA (usually online) and 24 hours of WFR (always on-site).

Regardless of whatever level of training you want to achieve, WFA, AWFA and WFR certification are all a great way to prepare yourself for any potential emergencies that might occur while out in the wilderness. These certifications provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to respond quickly and accurately to situations such as shock, heat stroke, hypothermia, broken bones, poisoning, dealing with allergic reactions and even performing CPR or other life support techniques. A certification in wilderness first aid can help put your mind at ease when exploring remote or unfamiliar areas, providing you with much-needed peace of mind in unpredictable conditions.

Herbal First Aid
Herbal First Aid formulas ready for the field

Herbal First Aid and Austere Medicine

So what is Austere Medicine, and how does Herbal First Aid, or even Clinical Herbalism play a role in that?

Austere medicine is providing health care, from trauma to acute to chronic illness, in a setting where there may not be any higher medical care for days, weeks, months or longer. Examples of this occur in major post-disaster situations, wars, major civil unrest and possibly even in pandemic situations.

When this happens, there is a dire need to be able to work with herbal medicine which is especially effective for acute illness and helping support the health even in the case of chronic illness. Herbal First Aid is a stepping stone to working clinically with herbs in an austere medical environment.

Our Herbal First Aid course is 8 hours of teaching and often is taught back-to-back with our WFA certification courses. Students get a chance to work with tinctures, poultices, glycerites, salves and more as they gain experience around the most common herbal first aid needs.

During our Herbal and Orthodox Medical Experience (HOME) course, we not only complete WFR certification, but also teach more advanced herbal techniques, from formulating and medicine making to key diagnostic indicators, in order to be able to work with herbal medicine in an austere environment where sustainable medicine is critically important.

For More Information

Visit us online at for more information on all of our herbal, wilderness and austere medicine courses.